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Archive for February 13th, 2014

President Obama signs Executive Order: “Let’s give Americans a raise right now”

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama signs Executive Order: “Let’s give Americans a raise right now”

Under Executive Order, Federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour

Remarks by President Barack Obama on Signing of Executive Order

Now, it’s been just over two weeks since I delivered my State of the Union address, and I said this year would be a year of action, and I meant it.  Over the past 14 days I’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of our job training programs to train folks with the skills that employers need, and then match them up with good jobs that are ready to be filled right now.

I’ve directed the Treasury to create something we’re calling “MyRA” — sort of like an IRA, but it’s MyRA.  And that’s a new way for Americans to start saving for retirement.  And you can start with as little as $25, $50 and start building up a little bit of a nest egg and get tax benefits for doing it so.

We’ve rallied the leaders of some of America’s biggest high-tech companies to help us make sure that all of our kids have access to high-speed Internet and up-to-date technology in their classroom so that they’re learning the skills that they need for the new economy.

We’ve brought together business leaders who are committed to hiring more unemployed Americans, particularly long-term unemployed who oftentimes are discriminated against.  They’re in a Catch-22 — they haven’t had a job for a while and then the employer is not willing to look at their resume because they haven’t had a job for a while.

So the point is I’m eager to work with Congress whenever I can find opportunities to expand opportunity for more families.  But wherever I can act on my own, without Congress, by using my pen to take executive actions, or picking up the phone and rallying folks around a common cause, that’s what I’m going to do.

And so that brings me to the issue we’re going to talk about today.  After the worst economic crisis in generations, our economy has been growing for the past four yearsAnd our businesses have created 8.5 million new jobs.  Unemployment rate has come down.  But while those at the top are doing better than ever, — corporate profits have been high, the stock market has been high — average wages have barely budged.  So you’ve got too many Americans who are working harder than ever before just to get by, but they can’t seem to get ahead, can’t seem to make all the ends meet.

And that’s been true since long before the recession hit.  We’ve got to reverse those trends.  We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just the fortunate few.  And we’ve got to restore opportunity for everybody, so that no matter who you are, no matter how you started out, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is, you can get ahead in America if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility for your life.  Right?

So the opportunity agenda I’ve laid out is going to help us do just that.  Part one of this agenda is more new jobs that pay a good wage — jobs in manufacturing, and exports, and energy, and innovation.  Part two:  We’ve got to train the folks with the skills to fill those jobs.  Part three:  We’ve got to make sure every child gets a world-class education.  And part four:  We’ve got to make sure that the economy rewards hard work for every American.

Making hard work pay off with economic security and decent wages and benefits is what we’re about here today.  It means making sure women earn equal pay for equal work.  It means making sure workers have the chance to save for a dignified retirement.  It means access to affordable health insurance that gives you the freedom to change jobs or be your own boss, and the peace of mind that it will be there for you when you get sick and you need it most.  So if you know anybody who doesn’t have health insurance right now — send them to healthcare.gov.  The website is working. Sign them up.  You can get health care for less than your cellphone bill for a lot of folks.

But it also means that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty.  Nobody.  Not here in America.  Now, it was one year ago today — one year ago today — that I first asked Congress to raise the federal minimum wage — a federal minimum wage that in real terms is worth about 20 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan took office — 20 percent less, a fifth less.

So this afternoon, I’ve invited some of the folks who would see a raise if we raised that federal minimum wage.  They happened to join me here at the White House.  And like most workers in their situation, they’re not teenagers — they look like teenagers, some of them are very young looking.  But they’re not teenagers taking on their first job.  They’re adults — average age is 35 years old.  A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women.  Many of them have children that they’re supporting.  These are Americans who work full-time, often to support a family, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economic productivity, they’d already be getting paid well over $10 an hour.

Instead, the minimum wage is still just $7.25.  And when Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value — because there’s a little bit inflation, everything else starts costing a little bit more — even though inflation has been pretty low, it’s still costing a little bit more each year.  That means each dollar isn’t going as far and they’ve got a little bit less.  So over the past year, the failure of Congress to act was the equivalent of a $200 pay cut for these folks — for a typical minimum wage worker.  That’s a month worth of groceries, maybe two months’ worth of electricity.  It makes a big difference for a lot of families.

Now, the good news is that in the year since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, six states went ahead and passed laws to raise theirs.  We appreciate that. You got more states and cities and counties that are taking steps to raise their minimum wage as we speak.  And a lot of companies are doing it, too — not out of charity, but because they’ve discovered it’s good business.

Two weeks ago, I visited a Costco store in Maryland.  Now, Costco is a very profitable company.  Its stock has done great.  It’s expanding all over the place.  But their philosophy is higher wages are a smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover.  If employees are happy and feel like the company is invested in them, then they’re going to do more for the company. They’re going to go above and beyond.

And when I was over at the Costco store I was meeting folks who had started off at the cash register and now were in supervisory positions, and had been there for 20 years, and you could see the kind of pride that they had in the company because the company cared about them.  I even received a letter the next day from a woman who saw my visit on TV — she decided to apply for a job at Costco.  She said, let me apply for a job at Costco.  They look like they can do a good job.

So across the country, owners of small and large businesses are recognizing that fair wages and higher profits go hand in hand; it’s good for the bottom line.

And as America’s chief executive, I agree.  So while Congress decides what it’s going to do — and I hope this year, and I’m going to work this year and urge this year that they actually pass a law — today, I’m going to do what I can to help raise working Americans’ wages.

So today, I’m issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — $10.10 an hour.  This will make a difference for folks.  Right now, there’s a dishwasher at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas making $7.76 an hour — $7.76 an hour.  There’s a fast-food worker at Andrews, right down the street, making $8.91 an hour.  There’s a laundry worker at Camp Dodge in Iowa making $9.03 an hour.  Once I sign this order, starting next year, as their contracts come up, each of them and many of their fellow coworkers are going to get a raise.  And by the way, that includes folks who get paid in tips — they’ll get a raise, too.  A tip wage has gone up even slower than the regular minimum wage.

So just as it’s good for companies across the country, this will be good for America’s bottom line — for contractors and for taxpayers.  The opponents of the minimum wage have been using the same arguments for years, and time and again they’ve been proven wrong.  Raising the minimum wage is good for business, and it’s good for workers, and it’s good for the economy.  Put more money in these folks’ pockets, that means they got some money to go shopping, which in turn means the business has more customers — which means they may hire more workers and make more of a profit.

And let’s not forget — not only is it good for the economy, it’s the right thing to do.  There’s a simple moral principle at stake — if you take responsibility and you work as hard as these folks work, if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be living in poverty.  Not in America.  We believe that.

And this executive order will cover Americans with disabilities — because this principle doesn’t just apply to some of us; it applies to all of us.  So I’m going to keep doing whatever I can to raise working Americans’ wages.  And I would ask any business leader out there, any governor, any mayor, any local leader listening, do what you can to raise your employees’ wages; to work to raise the wages of citizens in your jurisdiction.  They’ll support these efforts.  A majority of Americans — not just Democrats, not just independents, but Republicans, too — support raising the minimum wage.  It’s the right thing to do.  So that’s something Congress should keep in mind this year.

There’s a bill right now in front of both the House and the Senate that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — just like I’m doing with this executive action.  It’s easy to remember:  10-10 — 10-10.  Let’s get that done.  Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 wouldn’t just raise wages for minimum-wage workers, its effect would lift wages for about 28 million Americans.  It would lift millions of Americans out of poverty immediately.  It would help millions more work their way out of poverty — without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending.  It’s the right thing to do.

Just last month, 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, wrote the leaders of houses of Congress to remind them that the bill before Congress would have little or no negative effect on hiring, on jobs.  So it’s not going to depress the economy.  It will boost the economy.  (Baby says, “Yes!”)  Yes!  It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend.  It will grow the economy for everybody.  So — yeah!  He’s excited about it. So members of Congress have a pretty clear choice to make right now:  Raise our workers’ wages, grow our economy — or let wages stagnate further, and give workers what amounts to another pay cut this year.  Restore unemployment insurance for Americans still looking for that job — or expose them further to hardship. Members of Congress, you can help people make progress in their own lives, or you can hinder that progress.

And every American deserves to know where your elected representative stands on this issue.  So ask your senator; ask your representative in the House:  Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?  If they say, yes, tell them “good job.” They don’t hear that that often so — give them a pat on the back, give them a hug, let them know “way to go.”  That’s the right thing to do.  If they say, no — be polite, I mean, don’t just yell at them, but say, “Well, why not?”  Ask them to reconsider siding with an overwhelming majority of Americans.  Encourage them to say yes.  Give America a raise.

So I’m about to sign this executive order.  When you hear me talking about my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle-class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, this is exactly what I mean.  I’m doing to do what I can. Congress should do what it needs to do.  I will not give up on this fight, no matter how long it takes.  America deserves a raise.  Working families deserve to know some more economic security in their own lives.

We’ve got to create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, build new ladders of opportunity for folks working their way into the middle class — just like these folks are doing right here.  There are millions of Americans who could just use a little bit of boost — millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of the old, stale political arguments, or tired of folks just looking out for people who can afford big lobbyists and big campaign contributions.  There are folks out there who want to see us restore an economy that works for everybody, and get back to our founding vision of opportunity for all.

So I know you guys will work with me.  But go out there and organize some more.  Thank you, everybody.  Let’s give Americans a raise right now.  I’m going to sign this.

NAACP applauds Attorney General Holder for speaking out against felony disenfranchisement

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on NAACP applauds Attorney General Holder for speaking out against felony disenfranchisement

Holder’s remarks follow NAACP’s Nationwide “Restore the Votes” Campaign

WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP commends U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for speaking out against laws prohibiting people with felony convictions from voting even after they have served the terms of their sentences. The NAACP has been actively engaged in campaigns in Florida, Iowa, Virginia, Delaware and other states to bring the practice to an end.

“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said at a Washington, DC, symposium on sentencing laws.

Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky are the only states that continue to disenfranchise persons convicted of felonies even after they have completed all of the terms of their sentences. There are an estimated 1.5 million disenfranchised citizens in Florida alone.

“This statement does much to make combatting felony disenfranchisement a national fight and not just a state one,” said Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Senior Director for Voting Rights. “The NAACP and several other groups have been fighting on the ground to rid our country of a practice that has its roots in black codes designed to eliminate black participation at the ballot box.”

Through executive order, Virginia became the most recent state to grant automatic restoration of rights to people with non-violent felony convictions who had completed the terms of their sentence.  Months before, Delaware amended its state Constitution to allow people with non-violent felony convictions who have completed the terms of their sentence to vote after years of coalition work.

“While all of our local efforts have covered a lot of ground during the last decade in states like Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia we have much more work to do as a nation,” said Eaddy.

In October 2012, the NAACP launched a national felony disenfranchisement campaign to advocate for the restoration of voting rights for millions of citizens formerly convicted of felonies.  The campaign featured billboards of formerly incarcerated citizens from across the country, including celebrity activists Judge Greg Mathis and Charles S. Dutton.

Holder’s announcement follows three NAACP delegation visits to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.  As part of the visits, the delegation has held panel discussions on felony disenfranchisement and the attack on voting rights in states across the nation.

An NAACP delegation will be deployed this March to address the same topic at the U.S Government’s UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights review.

DOJ: Investigate Duke Energy Coal Ash Cover-Up

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on DOJ: Investigate Duke Energy Coal Ash Cover-Up
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Last week, a coal ash dump spewed 82,000 tons of sludge into a North Carolina river. But all the government did was cover up the facts and let the company responsible off the hook.

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For years, environmentalists have been trying to persuade Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps, containing lead, mercury, selenium and arsenic, from ponds around the state of North Carolina. And for years, Duke Energy has refused to do so. Now, it’s been revealed that the megacorporation has had help — from the North Carolina Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

Ever since Governor Pat McCrory, a former Duke employee, took office in January 2013, Duke has been allowed to run haywire through the state. Even the head of the state environmental department, John Skvarla, has described the agency as a “partner” to those it’s supposed to be overseeing — whom he called “customers.”

In North Carolina, apparently you can buy the right to dump poison into our wa ter supply with barely a slap on the wrist.

When a spill dumped 82,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River last week, no one was even told about it until the following day. But given that the government had told Duke to pay modest fines rather than actually clean up the waste ponds, it was only a matter of time.

Today, there are still dozens of coal-ash waste ponds in North Carolina. We have to stop this cycle of corruption before another disaster happens. Sign the petition to demand a full DOJ investigation into McCrory’s cover-up and keep North Carolina safe!

Thank you for taking action,

Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to host 23rd Anniversary Desert Storm Remembrance Ceremony

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to host 23rd Anniversary Desert Storm Remembrance Ceremony

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will host the 23rd Desert Storm Remembrance Ceremony to honor and remember those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Desert Storm 23 years ago.

The ceremony will take place on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at 11 a.m., at the Illinois State Military Museum, 1301 North MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, IL. The event is open to the public.

Fourteen military personnel from Illinois died during the conflict: They are:

Name Service Date of Death Home of Record

Stanley W. Bartusiak U.S. Army Feb. 25, 1991 Calumet City

Charles W. Cooper U.S. Army Feb. 21, 1991 St. Charles

Dale Thomas Cormier U.S. Air Force Feb. 15, 1991 Crystal Lake

Gary W. Crask U.S. Army Jan. 19, 1991 Springfield

William D. Cronin, Jr. U.S. Marine Corps Oct. 8, 1990 Elmhurst

James P. Heyden U.S. Army March 12, 1991 Chicago

Raymond L. Horwath, Jr. U.S. Marine Corps Nov. 30, 1990 Waukegan

Patrick R. Hurley U.S. Army Feb. 21, 1991 New Douglas

William J. Hurley U.S. Marine Corps Oct. 8, 1990 Chicago

Kenneth T. Keller U.S. Marine Corps Oct. 8, 1990 Glenview

Earnest F. Mitchem U.S. Army April 13, 1991 Granite City

Stephen R. Phillis U.S. Air Force Feb. 15, 1991 Rock Island

Christian J. Porter U.S. Marine Corps Feb. 27, 1991 Wood Dale/Springfield

Bradley R. Schuldt U.S. Air Force Aug. 29, 1990 Arlington Heights

Desert Storm cost 382 American lives, 147 of those combat deaths. There were 467 wounded in combat, and the overall cost of the war was $61 billion dollars, with some $53 billion paid for by contributing or Coalition nations.

The military services of the United States – to include Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves — joined with Coalition Forces to stop aggression and eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait in early 1991after a brutal invasion and occupation by forces under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The Coalition air campaign began early on Jan. 17, 1991 and stripped away Iraqi air defense, command and control and logistical capabilities.

The ground offensive operations – commonly termed the “100-Hour War” – began at 4 a.m., Feb 24, overwhelming Iraqi ground forces, capturing thousands, and ejecting the remainder out of Kuwait. The Coalition Forces, under the command of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, unilaterally ceased offensive operations against the Iraqis at 8:01 a.m., Feb. 28, 1991.

Specific Illinois Benefits for Desert Storm Veterans:

Persian Gulf War Bonus – A $100 Persian Gulf War bonus is for those who served between August 2, 1990 and November 30, 1995, and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal, honorably discharged and were a resident of Illinois 12 months immediately prior to entering the service and discharged honorably. Individuals currently on active duty who served in the Persian Gulf War may apply.

Event Information:

· Media opportunities with Director Borggren and others after the ceremony

· Overflow parking is available to the rear of the museum.

· Guests are welcome to tour the museum before or after the ceremony. The museum depicts the rich history of the Illinois National Guard.

New film, The War on Humans, explores the growing call for granting human rights and legal “personhood” to plants and animals

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on New film, The War on Humans, explores the growing call for granting human rights and legal “personhood” to plants and animals

Seattle, WA (BlackNews.com) – Are humans the enemy? Should pigs and peas have constitutional rights? The War on Humans, a provocative 31-minute documentary from Discovery Institute exploring growing efforts to disparage the value of humans in the name of saving the planet, will be released online February 18th at www.waronhumans.com.

The documentary features bioethicist and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith, who has authored a companion e-book with the same title that will be released on February 18th by Discovery Institute Press. In the book he investigates the views of anti-human activists who want to grant civil rights to animals, plants, and “Mother Earth,” and who want to reduce the human population by up to 90%.

“Western Civilization, which has brought us so much freedom and prosperity, depends on a worldview that embraces the unique intrinsic value of human life,” explains Smith. “That crucial understanding is now under energetic and widespread assault – perhaps most dangerously from the radical environmental movement that not only rejects human exceptionalism, but declares us to be the enemies of the planet. In this view, if we would only see ourselves as one unexceptional part of nature, we will tread more gently upon the earth. But I say that if we redefine ourselves as just another animal in the forest, that’s precisely how we will act.”

The book has been praised by author and journalist Nat Hentoff, a noted civil libertarian and free speech advocate: “If there were an international award for continuing to focus on and document cultural and political threats to basic human life and potential – I emphasize human – the winner would be Wesley J. Smith.  Smith has now written a riveting expose of this multi-dimensional assault on human beings that for life saving reasons – I kid you not – must be read by human beings beyond their political, religious, and all other affiliations.”

Other scholars interviewed for the film include Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler; Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Dr. John West, author of Darwin Day in America; and Biologic Institute biologist Dr. Ann Gauger, co-author of Science and Human Origins.

To schedule an interview with Smith please contact Linda Roney at 214-939-1700, or publicity@spencemedia.com.

About Wesley J. Smith
Lawyer and award winning author, Wesley J. Smith, is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a consultant to the Patients Rights Council and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In May 2004, because of his work in bioethics, Smith was named one of the nation’s premier expert thinkers in bioengineering by the National Journal. Visit Smith’s blog Human Exceptionalism (www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism) hosted by National Review Online.

Photo Caption: E-Book cover

“Raised In Hell” – Expert on modern youth culture authors humorous/inspirational non-fiction family dramedy on overcoming child-rearing obstacles

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on “Raised In Hell” – Expert on modern youth culture authors humorous/inspirational non-fiction family dramedy on overcoming child-rearing obstacles

NATIONWIDESan Francisco Bay Area author Deon D. Price is an authority on youth and child development—by profession, by personal experience and by academic study.  He is a professional youth life skills coach; father of three sons (ages 24, 20 & 8) and a 16-year-old daughter; and a brother to eight siblings who were born before his arrival into the world.  Additionally, Price has published numerous articles, columns and blogs on modern youth culture and the dynamics of maturing. If you throw his experience as a stand-up comedian into the mix, you have the makings of a child-rearing expert who can tell a funny story.  In his new book “Raised In Hell,” the talented writer shares his true testimony of life, love, laughter, humor and hardship growing up in his family, while deciphering how young people think; why they do what they do; and how adults respond.

Price’s genius usage of amusing metaphors and hyperbole make his otherwise disparaging story an entertaining read. “Raised in Hell” is a true story of a family’s struggle to endure in a challenging time and an even tougher environment. The author addresses overcoming odds, survival, family bond and self-determination. True in its origin, the book touches on a relatively dismal growing up with his mother’s alcoholism, an absent father, poverty, domestic violence, separation and foster home living. It also deals with life in Los Angeles during the 1970s and 80s, and the crack epidemic that touched a great number of homes during the city’s most violent times. “Raised in Hell” is delivered from the perspective of the youngest child of nine—with humor, hardship and professional precision. This book is a must-read for anyone who is even remotely associated with children and youth, or anyone in need of a good laugh.

“Raised In Hell” by Deon D. Price

(ISBN-13: 9781491716380, iUniverse, Jan. 2014, softcover, 290 pp, $19.99 | ebook $3.99)

Available online at Barnes & NobleAmazon.com -  iUniverse.comPriceEdutainment.com


Price will host a reception celebrate the release of his new book “Raised In Hell,” from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, 2014 with a reading and book signing at Solano County’s premier night spot: Dimitri’s Lounge, 700 Main Street, Ste. 106, Suisun City, California.

What Readers are Saying…

“Deon D. Price has provided a trusted and respected perspective for youth. A great story teller, he has mastered the ability to deliver a critical and current message to today’s youth culture. I endorse and support Deon’s efforts.” – Larry J. Moody, E. Palo Alto, CA City Council Member “I was laughing out loud! There was laughter and tears at the same time. This will be as good as, if not better than a ‘Madea’ movie!” – Evelyn L. Polk, LMFT and author of “It’s the Heart Work”

“Deon D. Price is the REAL DEAL. PERIOD. His experience as described in “Raised in Hell” is a perfect example of inspiration and hope for a plethora of young people to emulate!”

– Kevin Bracy, Exec Producer, The MonSTARS of Motivation; founder, Life Changers Intl

“A great read! This book should be a blueprint for anyone committed to serving youth and families. I’m impressed with Deon’s innovative approach and creative thinking for impacting young people.” – Wil Cason, Motivational Speaker

“To say that Deon D. Price and his journey in “Raised in Hell” is inspiring does not do it justice. He provides a well-lit path from illness to wellness inside urban America. He lifts me up and makes me and others go on doing what we do.”

– Mike Pritchard, Keynote Speaker, Author and Life Coach

“Before you start to read, I implore you to get ready for your roller coaster ride of literary adventures because you won’t want to stop until you’ve gotten all the way through.” – from foreword by Evelyn L. Polk

About the Author

Deon D. Price is a Youth Life Skills Coach and former standup comedian with twenty years experience as a Youth Service Worker, as well as ten years in juvenile probation. He has dedicated most of his adult life to the field of youth and child development. Currently, Price is a Youth Career Transition instructor at the Job Corps for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Price is founder and director of the community organization “This Youth Generation,” for which he regularly uses his personal brand of motivational comedy to deliver inspirational talks and valuable seminars to parents, educators and students throughout California.

As a columnist, Price has written weekly and monthly articles on the subject of modern youth culture, in print and on-line. His bi-weekly column “This Generation” reaches several hundred thousand readers and has run in several local and national publications. He has also appeared as a guest on local radio and television programs to offer his unique perspective on issues regarding this generation of youth, and he hosts an Internet show of the same name (youtube.com/priceedutainment). The multi-talented writer is a recipient of the 2010 “I Am Greatness” Spotlight Award for motivational speakers. Price resides in Solano County with his wife Neema and three youngest children.

To engage Mr. Price to share his expertise on children and youth, contact him directly at DeonDPrice@yahoo.com or (707) 386-9178.

Left For Dead proves faith conquers adversity

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Left For Dead proves faith conquers adversity

It takes a strong person to allow their scars to tell their life story

As a survivor of impulsive adult bullying, Ebony Canion speaks out about how one unnecessary fight Left her for Dead. She sheds light and hope on surviving molestation, rape, domestic violence and recovering from a series negative life choices.

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – Ebony Canion, a Cleveland, Ohio native, is no stranger to adversity. In fact, countless traumatic experiences in her childhood and adulthood have molded her to be strong, resilient, and faithful, in short a survivor. On June 30, 2012, her strength was tested more than ever before. She was intentionally ran over by speeding car and then dragged for over two hundred feet, with her body folded underneath the vehicle. She sustained over thirty life-threatening injuries and was in a coma for over two months. The doctors told her family she would be a vegetable and would never walk again. Her injuries at the time included a collapsed lung, fractured shoulder and jaw, seven broken ribs, broken legs, broken pelvis, and the skin on her back was ripped off from road burn. That fateful night would change her life forever. Ebony Canion, 34, was “Left for Dead.”

Ebony’s new book, LEFT FOR DEAD, will show that despite her many obstacles, she will never be defeated, she will survive. Infused with the intensity of a woman fighting for her life, here is a story of hope, heartbreak and the love and courage that transforms a widow and rape victim – from a victim to a survivor, from a wounded woman to an indomitable one. In this gripping, no-holds barred memoir, readers are granted an intimate look at the recovery of Ebony Canion as she deals with a history of rape at 14 years old and domestic violence, past family discord, the psychological and emotional adjustments that need to occur during her attempt to reclaim a sense of normalcy and the will to conquer all challenges. As an inspiration to all who know her, Ebony’s will to overcome, more importantly to survive, is unparalleled.

In LEFT FOR DEAD, Ebony’s destiny changed as she adapted to a new mindset. She credits her shift and levels in progress to writing LEFT FOR DEAD (Life Changing Books, February 4, 2014; ISBN-13: 978-1934230596; Non-fiction $15.00). The book is full of raw emotion and shares a vulnerability that draws the reader into a complicated life story. Tressa Smallwood is quoted as saying, “After hearing the violent and inspirational story of Ebony Canion’s fight to live, I knew my company Life Changing Books was the perfect outlet to publish LEFT FOR DEAD, it’s a true survivor story. Her strength to learn to walk, talk, and eat again will leave you spellbound and inspired. Her scars tell a story that must be heard!”

All are encouraged to actively participate in Ebony’s quest for success. For interviews, speaking engagements, book signings, or review copies, contact the publisher: Tressa Smallwood, Life Changing Books, via email at: lcbinfo2013@gmail.com or by phone at: (240)-375-6908. Visit the LCB website for excerpts and wholesale discounts: www.lifechangingbooks.net

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Top streets for creating car-free spaces in Chicago

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Top streets for creating car-free spaces in Chicago

Navy Pier, Times Square in New York and Chicago neighborhood plazas demonstrate potential for success

CHICAGO, IL — The Active Transportation Alliance called for the creation of more car-free public streets and plazas in Chicago, and released a list of twenty streets and locations with strong potential. Citing the success of Navy Pier, Times Square in New York City and local car-free plazas, Active Trans said car-free streets and zones can make communities more attractive places to live and shop, generate more biking and walking and thus improve mobility and health, and reduce traffic crashes.

“We believe a Complete Streets strategy that accommodates all modes of travel, including cars, should be the standard approach to street design,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “But we should also look for those unique opportunities where converting street space into car-free zones really works to improve communities.”

There are many types of “car-free” streets. This can include closing an entire street or portions of streets year-round, like the popular transformation of Times Square in New York City or the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall in Boulder, Colorado. But there are other options as well, including seasonal (e.g., spring through fall) or periodic (e.g., evening and weekends) closings and using a portion of the street, rather than the entire street, such as converting one lane of traffic into a bike lane and plaza. Some car-free streets are integrated with transit, like Denver’s successful 16th Street Mall. Car-free spaces can also allow vehicle deliveries and certain local car traffic.

“Nearly a quarter of Chicago’s land mass falls within a public right-of-way, but most of that space is dominated by cars — not to mention the enormous amount of city space dedicated to private parking lots and parking garages,” said Burke. “Let’s give Chicagoans more car-free zones to walk, bike, shop, socialize or just relax.”

“Creating more unique, livable public spaces means looking beyond the so-called ‘pedestrian mall’ concept to newer, more innovative ways to reprogram the public right-of-way,” said Amanda Woodall, Policy and Planning Director for the Active Transportation Alliance. “It’s time to drop our grudge based on the poorly-designed State Street mall, develop better strategies and lay the groundwork for healthier, more livable neighborhoods.”

Active Trans supports the City of Chicago’s efforts to add more car-free spaces, such as the Make Way for People initiative that converts parking spaces, alleys and dead zones into temporary or permanent public plazas, including the plaza in the State Street median downtown. The city’s People Plazas initiative aims to activate underutilized city-owned parcels/plazas. And new protected bike lanes create a ribbon of car-free space for cycling.

Chicago has relatively few car-free public plazas and streets across its 234 square miles, and many are small enough to have limited benefits. According to Active Trans, this lack of car-free public places indicates a need to explore larger car-free spaces in addition to the smaller plazas the city is currently developing.

Some of Chicago’s best car-free spaces include Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square, Sunnyside Mall, Ogden Mall and Englewood Mall. Car-free spaces are more common in downtown Chicago, where there is a pressing need for car-free space with so many people getting around on foot and bike. Cars, nonetheless, occupy most of the public right of way. Downtown examples include Daley Plaza, Federal Plaza and some other modestly-sized private plazas; the expanding River Walk system; and the wildly popular Navy Pier, Illinois’ top tourist attraction.

Car-free streets and plazas won’t work just anywhere, and they have to be carefully studied and designed. Good candidates will abut existing or potential retail and dining locations, entertainment venues and community centers. In residential areas, they should be accessible from local neighborhood streets so residents can leave their cars at home for an afternoon out with family in a safe, car-free location.

Well thought out pedestrian plazas also make good complements to transit hubs, serving the needs of commuters. With the right designs, plazas on existing transit routes can still accommodate bus service — the best example of this is the narrow bus way and slow bus speeds in Denver’s successful 16th Street Mall. This is a more sophisticated design than Chicago’s infamously failed State Street bus mall where people had to dodge fast-moving buses across a wide street.

Active Trans selected 20 streets and locations that deserve serious consideration for conversion into car-free space. Some streets like 47th Street in Bronzeville and Milwaukee Avenue through Logan Square have already been the subject of formal study. Active Trans selected other streets with input from community leaders.

“These aren’t the only streets that deserve consideration, but they are among the best,” said Burke. “Our hope is to jump-start conversations that lead to further study and the creation of car-free spaces for biking, walking and community place-making.”


  • Dearborn and/or Clark, River North to South Loop.  Example concept: convert a travel lane on Clark St. to a protected bike lane with a landscaped seating area next to it.
  • Monroe Ave. between Michigan Ave and Lake Shore Drive. Example concept: make the entire street segment car-free and extend the existing park space. Wide, well-lit underpasses would replace difficult crossings at Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.
  • Segments of Oak Street in the Gold Coast.
  • Segments of Rush Street in the Gold Coast.
  • Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile.  More information at Transitized.Com


  • One or more streets near Wrigley Field
  • Segments of Broadway Ave. in Lakeview. Example concept. From Diversey to Belmont, make the entire street a car-free greenway with landscaping, seating, restaurant patio space and more.  Use diverters to prevent local cut-through traffic, Clark and Halsted absorb traffic.
  • Segments of Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
  • Simmonds Dr. between Lawrence and Foster through the lake front park.
  • Segments of Clark St. in Andersonville
  • Milwaukee Ave. through the square of Logan’s Square
  • Bryn Mawr between Broadway and Sheridan
  • Segments of Webster Ave. in Lincoln Park


  • Segments of 47th Street in Bronzeville.
  • Segments of E. 53rd Street in Hyde Park
  • Segments of 18th St. in Pilsen. Example concept: dead end Carpenter, Miller and/or Morgan streets on the north side of 18th St. to create a pedestrian plaza.  These streets already have limited through traffic because they extend just two blocks to the north before dead-ending at train tracks, and each street is offset on either side of 18th .
  • Ellsworth and/or Payne Drives in Washington Park


  • Taylor Street in University Village between Racine and Ashland.
  • Segments of 26th street in Little Village
  • Humboldt Dr. and/or Luis Munoz Marin Dr. in Humboldt Park. Example concept. Close these streets to car traffic during the summer to effectively expand park space and give people a safe place to walk and bike. This is common in other cities but not in Chicago.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

Salt: “Black America’s Silent Killer”

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Salt: “Black America’s Silent Killer”

The easy & inexpensive way to dramatically improve Black America’s heart health

Springfield, OH (BlackNews.com) – A silent killer is attacking Black America, targeting far more victims than any other disease including cancer. And, the culprit is SALT.

Salt kills more Black Americans than all other diseases combined. Black Americans suffer salt-related health consequences two to six times more often than White Americans, at far younger ages. And their salt-related health challenges – which include cardiovascular disease, strokes, asthma, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney disease, stomach cancer and dementia – are usually two to six times more acute.

February is both Black History Month and American Heart Month – the perfect time to report these alarming statistics which, ironically, are not widely recognized. Although the substandard health of Black America is common knowledge, even nationally acclaimed physicians like Dr. Surender R. Neravetla, a heart surgeon and Director of Cardiac Surgery at Springfield Regional Medical Center, didn’t realize how salt was decimating this ethnic group.

But he didn’t put two and two together until he began to research the impact of salt on Black America’s health. What he uncovered shocked him profoundly. At the time he had planned to publish a short addendum to his book, Salt Kills (Health Now Books, 2012) which would focus on salt and Black Americans. His disturbing findings made him realize that he needed to write a complete book instead.

Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer (Health Now Books, 2014) examines how and why salt is cutting Black American lives short – and compromising so many others – at such an alarming rate. Once people understand that dynamic, the doctor believes that reducing salt intake will sound like a logical, inexpensive and easy way to dramatically improve Black Americans’ health. And he knows how profoundly that simple step will improve their lives. “I hear from people every day who have reduced or eliminated salt after hearing me talk or reading my writing,” says the doctor. “This single change has transformed their health. That’s what keeps me going.”

Improving heart health – which includes convincing people to reduce salt consumption – has become a life mission for Doctor Neravetla. “I just couldn’t bear to see my patients back on my operating table again and again, or to go into the waiting room and witness their families eating exactly those foods that created their loved one’s heart problems,” he says. Despite the plentiful research, too many people didn’t really comprehend the consequences of the choices they made. He realized that if he could translate those scientific findings into language and visuals that people could understand and relate to, he could make a profound difference not just in this country but around the world.

In an effort to reach as many people as he can, when he’s not in surgery Doctor Neravetla does public speaking, writes his blog, creates videos, and writes his books. He’s also put together a team to spread the word, including hip-hop/rap performer, painter and poet Jason Graham aka Mosley Wotta.

Neravetla is hopeful that this outreach will pay off in terms of reducing the salt-related casualties in the Black American community. “Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer doesn’t tell you not to eat salt. Hundreds of books already say that and no one is listening,” says Dr. Neravetla, who is in the process of transforming his Health Now Books LLC into a non-profit organization. “Our mission is to present you with the information you need to make the right choice for you and your health. We’re convinced that once you know the facts, you’ll make the changes that will give you a better life.”

For more information about Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer by Surender R. Neravetla, MD, FACS with Shantanu R. Neravetla, MD or to view the book trailer, visit www.healthnowbooks.com/books/salt-black-americas-silent-killer/

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Unique opportunity for Chicago-Area businesses

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2014 Comments Off on Unique opportunity for Chicago-Area businesses

Employers: Pave positive pathways for youth in your community!

(From Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention)

Employers, make a difference this summer! The Community Violence Prevention Program’s Youth Employment Program provides employers with a unique opportunity to gain a valuable employee without cost. Hire youth ages 16-24 through CVPP and all wages will be grant-subsidized. In addition, the program manages all payroll and bookkeeping functions related to employment, oversees recruitment and screening, and provides workforce development training to make its recruits valued employees.

Youth and local businesses in CVPP’s 24 communities are invited to join the Youth Employment Program.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to create positive pathways for young people in your community!

To learn more or to participate in the Youth Employment Program, go to www.ilcvpp.org.

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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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