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Archive for March 17th, 2014

President Obama issues new Executive Order with respect to Ukraine

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Fact Sheet: Ukraine-Related Sanctions

(Whitehouse.gov)

President Barack Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) under the national emergency with respect to Ukraine that finds that the actions and policies of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine -– including through the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine –- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.

This new authority expands upon E.O. 13660, which the President signed less than two weeks ago, by authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on named officials of the Russian government, any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official.  We have fashioned these sanctions to impose costs on named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.  We stand ready to use these authorities in a direct and targeted fashion as events warrant.

In response to the Russian government’s actions contributing to the crisis in Ukraine, this new E.O. lists seven Russian government officials who are being designated for sanctions.  These individuals are Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.

The United States also will seek to hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials.  We recognize that the Russian leadership derives significant support from, and takes action through, individuals who do not themselves serve in any official capacity.  Our current focus is to identify these individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state.

In addition to the new E.O., the Treasury Department today has imposed sanctions on four other individuals under E.O. 13660, issued on March 6, for their actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and in undermining the Government of Ukraine.  They are Crimea-based separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov; former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk; and former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.

Today’s actions send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including their actions supporting the illegal referendum for Crimean separation.  The United States, together with international partners, will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government to ensure that costs are imposed on Crimean separatists and their Russian backers.  Today’s actions also serve as notice to Russia that unless it abides by its international obligations and returns its military forces to their original bases and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs.

  • Vladislav Surkov:  Surkov is being sanctioned for his status as a Presidential Aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Sergey Glazyev:  Glazyev is being sanctioned for his status as a Presidential Adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Leonid Slutsky:  Slutsky is being sanctioned for his status as a State Duma deputy, where he is Chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots.
  • Andrei Klishas:  Klishas is being sanctioned for his status as a Member of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and as Chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society.
  • Valentina Matviyenko:  Matviyenko is being sanctioned for her status as Head of the Federation Council
  • Dmitry Rogozin:  Rogozin is being sanctioned for his status as the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
  • Yelena Mizulina:  Mizulina is being sanctioned for her status as a State Duma Deputy.
  • Sergey Aksyonov:  Aksyonov is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.  Aksyonov claims to be the Prime Minister of Crimea and has rejected the authority of the legitimate government in Kyiv.
  • Vladimir Konstantinov:  Konstantinov is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.  Konstantinov is the speaker of the Crimean parliament, which on March 11, 2014, declared independence from Ukraine.
  • Viktor Medvedchuk:  Medvedchuk, leader of Ukrainian Choice, is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.  He is also being designated because he has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support to Yanukovych and because he is a leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine and actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  • Viktor Yanukovych:  Former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.  After abandoning Kyiv and ultimately fleeing to Russia, Viktor Yanukovych called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops into Ukraine.

President Obama: Crimean “referendum” would never be recognized by the United States and the international community

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

President Obama’s call with President Vladimir Putin

President Barack Obama yesterday in a call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia emphasized that the Crimean “referendum,” which violates the Ukrainian constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention, would never be recognized by the United States and the international community.  He emphasized that Russia’s actions were in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that, in coordination with our European partners, we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions.  President Obama underscored that there remains a clear path for resolving this crisis diplomatically, in a way that addresses the interests of both Russia and the people of Ukraine.  He noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take concrete steps that would allow for the de-escalation of the crisis, particularly as it prepares for elections this Spring and undertakes constitutional reform, and he asked that Russia support the immediate deployment of international monitors to help prevent acts of violence by any groups.  President Obama reiterated that a diplomatic resolution cannot be achieved while Russian military forces continue their incursions into Ukrainian territory and that the large-scale Russian military exercises on Ukraine’s borders only exacerbate the tension.  President Obama said that Secretary Kerry continues to be prepared to work together with Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Ukrainian government to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

It’s Called Class Warfare

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By William Spriggs

Everyone knows America has a hyper inequality problem. The six Walton family heirs who own Walmart have the same wealth as the bottom 42 percent of Americans.  In the latest data through 2011, researchers Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty show the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S. get 20 percent of all the income.  Both the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-the organization of the advanced industrialized democratic countries) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognize that high levels of inequality hurt economic growth.  The question is: What do we do about the inequality?

Understanding the need to explain inequality, we now hear from Republican House Budget chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in an interview on Bill Bennett’s Morning in Americaradio show, that the problem is rooted in the cultural inferiority of inner city men:  “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.” That is, the problem of inequality comes from below.  So, we can solve inequality by blaming the poor. This is class warfare.

Ryan and House Republicans have cut off unemployment insurance help to more than 2 million people still reeling from the worse labor market since the Great Depression with 2.6 unemployed workers chasing each job opening.  His budget plan calls to slash food assistance to American families despite poverty rates for families with children exceeding 18 percent (before accounting for the positive effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] and the Earned Income Tax Credit).

In the last three years we’ve seen the highest incidence of child poverty since 1962, before the Civil Rights Act and the War on Poverty.  Staff economists at the IMF have released a study showing programs like these that reduce inequality both increase the rate of economic growth and insure the growth is sustained.  Even families with workers cannot escape poverty, given the refusal of House Republicans to raise the minimum wage.  About one-in-four poor workers (2.9 million people) in the U.S. worked full-time year round in 2012.

What Ryan is trying to do is avoid repeating Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s famous characterization of the “47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax.”  Owsley County, Ky., is the poorest county in America.  But, it is rural and 98.8 percent white, yet 51 percent of its population receives SNAP help to buy food.  Ryan’s reference to the culture of inner city men, is clearly code to let that Republican voting county know he does not mean Romney’s 47 percent when he takes the side of the rich against the poor.

When interviewed by Lauren Victoria, Ryan feigned ignorance that the reference to inner city men had anything to do with race.  He told her that rural poverty also caused the breakup of families.  No one is buying that.  Ryan is playing the oldest race card in American politics; the effort to convince working white America that the rich are on their side.  But, this economy has destroyed the incomes and jobs of white workers, too.  It is raising the fear of white parents that their children won’t get good paying jobs, or be able to crawl out of student debt to buy a home and start a family.

Ryan doesn’t want to blame inequality on the shipping of American jobs overseas by the “job creators.”

The House Republicans continue shielding Wall Street from regulations to discourage the irresponsible actions that caused the Great Recession.  In the 1990’s, when America was creating jobs at a pace of 226,000 a month, the labor force participation of black men soared in response-as did American productivity.  So, before characterizing black men as lazy, Ryan and the house Republicans need to look at their own culture: Spending just 113 days at work last year; failing to pass a budget; and, causing the shutdown of the federal government.  What is the culture of taking over 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act but zero votes to fund returning 300,000 teachers lost to our children’s classrooms because of the recession, or funding the investment the government needs to make in building American roads and bridges?

Ryan and the Republicans hope the 2.5 million white workers unemployed more than 27 weeks understand that cutting unemployment benefits was only aimed at lazy Black men.  It is a dangerous strategy to sow hate and division, instead of providing leadership and solutions.

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

Kirk, 9 U.S. Senators Reach Bipartisan Agreement to Restore Emergency Unemployment Insurance for Five Months

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

New Reed-Heller emergency UI agreement supported by Kirk, 4 leading Republicans and 5 leading Democrats


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) joined a group of 9 U.S. Senators  led by Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to announce an agreement to reauthorize emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for 5 months. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The plan will allow for retroactive payments to eligible beneficiaries going back to December 28th.

“After months of negotiations, this bipartisan compromise includes solutions from both sides of the aisle in extending emergency unemployment benefits,” said Senator Kirk. “This extension does not add to the deficit and helps Americans get back into the workforce.”

This new legislation seeks to strengthen the U.S. economy while providing vulnerable job seekers and their families with a vital lifeline as they continue to look for work. The proposal is fully paid-for using a combination of offsets that includes extending “pension smoothing” provisions from the 2012 highway bill (MAP-21), which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024. The bill also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Further, the legislation includes a provision modeled on Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) and Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) language that ends unemployment insurance payments to any individual whose adjusted gross income in the preceding year was $1 million or more.  According to 2010 income tax data, there were 0.03% of filers that earned over $1 million and received some form of UI at either the state or federal level. This provision received unanimous support in the Senate when it was voted on in 2011.

The legislative proposal also includes language championed by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and ReEmployment Services (RES) programs. In an effort to help get job seekers back into the workforce, individuals receiving emergency unemployment compensation will be eligible for enhanced, personalized  assessments  and referrals to reemployment services when they begin their 27th week of UI (Tier I) and 55th week of UI (Tier III).

“There are a lot of good people looking for work and I am pleased we’re finally able to reach a strong, bipartisan consensus to get them some help. Restoring this much needed economic lifeline will help job seekers, boost our economy, and provide a little certainty to families, businesses, and the markets that Congress is capable of coming together to do the right thing. It has now been 75 days since UI expired and it needs to be renewed. We’re not at the finish line yet, but this is a bipartisan breakthrough. I am grateful to Senator Heller for his leadership and for my many colleagues on both sides of the aisle who worked constructively to find a way forward. I join Rhode Islanders and millions of people across the country in calling on Congress to pass this essential, common sense legislation without further delay and take additional action to help save and create jobs,” said Senator Jack Reed, noting that about 8,000 Rhode Islanders have lost their UI coverage since the benefits were cutoff on December 28th and more than $20 million worth of unemployment checks have gone undistributed in Rhode Island as a result of UI’s expiration.

“These past few months have been extremely difficult for thousands of Nevadans who have been unsure of how to pay the bills or feed their families. I am so glad that both Democrats and Republicans have come together on a proposal that will finally give Americans certainty about their unemployment benefits. This deal extends these important benefits for five months, pays for them, and brings buy-in from both sides of the aisle.  I am grateful to Senator Reed and to Senators Collins, Portman, Murkowski and Kirk for the determination and hard work involved in order to reach this point,” said Senator Dean Heller. As many as 21,000 Nevadans have lost their unemployment insurance benefits since they were cut off in December.

Now that the bill has been introduced, it must pass a 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster. Reed and Heller expressed confidence that they would have more than enough votes to advance the measure in the U.S. Senate.

Shaw demands retraction/apology from media

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Denies Washington called him a ‘two-bit hustler’

By Chinta Strausberg

Angered at “false and deliberately misleading” media reports, mayoral candidate Robert Shaw Saturday demanded a retraction and an apology from reporters who claimed that Mayor Harold Washington called him a “two-bit hustler.”

The setting of the alleged remarks took place during the infamous political rollercoaster days of the City Council Wars waged between the Vrdolyak 29 vs. Washington’s loyal 21.

“Mayor Washington called the reporters and Ald. Vrdolyak “two-bit hustlers, not me,” said an offended Shaw. He was referring to reports on his press conference in the Chicago Sun-Times and City Hall Dean Bill Cameron both of whom claimed Washington called Shaw a “two-bit hustler.”

As proof, Shaw pointed to a November 26, 1983 article in the New York Times and a November 22, 1985 Chicago Tribune which accurately quoted Washington calling Vrdolyak and the media “two-bit hustlers.”

The Chicago Tribune (INC column) article stated: “We assume we were relegated to hizzoner’s category of low-life newsmen who are ‘schlocks, low-beats, insincere, two-bit hustlers.”

Shaw labeled the false reports as “attempts to mislead the African American community. These people obviously do not speak for the African American community,” Shaw told this reporter.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-11-22/news/8503200918_1_mayor-harold-washington-hears-luncheon Sent using ShareThis

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/11/27/us/political-dispute-in-chicago-widens.html

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Children’s Premiere Health Insurance Program at Risk

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(New America Media)

Among the foremost children’s advocates in Washington DC, some are concerned that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), one of the most popular health coverage programs, may not be reauthorized.

The majority of CHIP’s funding is set to expire in 2015. The program provides health coverage for children from lower-income families that do not meet the income requirements for Medicaid and don’t have access to coverage through an employer. The program currently covers more than 8 million children, and since its inception in 1997 has cut the rate of uninsured children by almost half.

“We would contend that all 8 million kids would be worse off [if the program were to be eliminated],” said Bruce Lesley, the president of First Focus, one of the nation’s leading youth research and advocacy organizations. Some children might move into the state health insurance exchanges, but Lesley says that the coverage on the exchange would be “inferior” to the coverage children have through CHIP, due to CHIP’s cost-sharing as well as pediatric networks and quality standards that are specific to children.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program plans are immensely stronger than those that are offered in the exchange,” he said.

Additionally, he says, some kids will lose access to coverage altogether if CHIP is allowed to expire. Because of the so-called “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act, some families who need subsidies to purchase insurance for their children on the exchange won’t be able to get help.

Families don’t qualify for subsidies if “affordable” coverage is offered through an employer (that is, 9.5 percent or less of the employee’s total household income). The “glitch” is that the law only stipulates that the individual employee must be offered affordable insurance, not the rest of his or her family. So some families that need subsidies in order to afford insurance for their children won’t get them.

Lesley is optimistic about a bill that was introduced today by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM). The bill would allow lawfully present immigrant children who are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid to obtain coverage without the 5-year waiting period enforced by many states. It would also allow youth participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to have access to CHIP or Medicaid, or to obtain coverage in the state marketplaces. Further, it would eliminate the 5-year waiting period imposed by some states on lawfully present immigrant women who are pregnant.

For questions, please contact Ed Walz with First Focus.
edw@firstfocus.net
202-657-0685

ILGOP Issue Series: Education

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Republican Issue Series: Vol. 5 – Office of Governor

Issue: Education

(From Jack Dorgan, Chairman, Illinois Republican Party)

At this moment, Illinois has more than 2.3 million K-12 students, taught by more than 130,000 teachers, at more than 4,400 schools throughout the state.

Every year, the state spends more than $28 billion dollars to provide a foundation of knowledge to those kids, and the opportunity for a bright future.

But a new report released this week found that more Illinois schools are in worse financial shape than in previous years, and ACT scores statewide just experienced their largest drop in a decade. Add to that a divisive 2012 teacher’s strike in Chicago and a disastrous state budget under Gov. Quinn, and Illinois voters have right to be concerned both in Springfield and in the classroom.

Each of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates answered the question: What will you do as governor to improve Illinois’s education system?

Bruce Rauner: Education is the most important thing we do as a community.

Whether traditional, charter, or private, Illinois’ children need access to more quality choices in education. Our broken school districts need to be changed so that public dollars are able to be used to provide an excellent education for all citizens. In order to do so, we need to let educators have the autonomy to run their own schools and let families choose schools that best fit their children’s needs.

Teaching is a truly noble profession.  But like with any profession, there is a wide range of talent and dedication levels. The best teachers create magic in the classroom and are an inspiration to students for a lifetime. Those outstanding teachers deserve higher pay based on their merit. Tragically, a minority of teachers are simply not up to the job, and that deprives the children in their classrooms of a quality education. Those failing teachers must be held accountable and not given a lifetime guarantee in the classroom.

Education spending must be re-prioritized so our tax dollars go to the front lines of the education battlefield, and that’s the classroom. Today we spend far too much money on administration and bureaucracy, and not enough on teachers and classroom technology that directly benefits students. That needs to change.

Dan Rutherford: I believe local communities and school districts should have a very strong say in how we teach our children. Local control is essential to a quality eduction.

In keeping with more local control, we should eliminate unfunded state mandates to local school boards. Mandating curriculum on the state level without providing state resources is patently unfair.

School funding foundation levels need to be evened out. Chicago does deserve its fair share, but so does Chenoa and every other district across the state. The funding formula needs to be fair to all school districts.

The education funding “pie” is smaller. The solution is to put people back to work, grow the economy and expand the tax base in order to make the pie bigger.

We also need to improve vocational training at the community college level and work hard to make our state universities more affordable in order to keep more college students here in Illinois.

Senator Bill Brady: I strongly believe in local control of education.  I am opposed to further intervention in our schools through programs such as Common Core, and I have sponsored legislation to abolish the State Board of Education, saving some resources but, just as importantly, giving decision-making to parents, teachers and local school boards rather than bureaucrats in Washington or Springfield.

March 27 event in Chicago will help women entrepreneurs create jobs

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced that women entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses and create jobs should attend an upcoming conference that will feature informative programs and opportunities for networking.

The second annual Women Business Owners Symposium (WBOS) will be held March 27 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road. The event is free and organized by DCEO with support from Nicor Gas, Macy’s, Verizon, and Score Chicago.

The symposium has the theme “It’s your time!” The event will support women considering whether to become their own boss, or those who already have a business but are looking for help to grow.

“Illinois is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “It’s no surprise that women-owned businesses are leading the way and having a major impact on job creation. This event will help women-owned businesses accelerate their growth.”

Highlights will include keynote speeches by Marianne O’Brien Markowitz, acting administrator at the Small Business Administration (SBA), and Beth Reese, president of Nicor Gas. Free day care will be provided on site and an exhibit hall will include opportunities for one-on-one counseling with representatives of more than 60 business resource agencies.

The symposium will include panels on topics such as contracting opportunities in the Affordable Care Act; making a product or service part of the state’s “Buy Illinois” initiative; procurement opportunities in the public and private sectors; access to capital; and opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering and math. Melissa Harris, business columnist at the Chicago Tribune, will moderate the panels.

A 2013 study commissioned by American Express estimated that Illinois has 382,700 women-owned enterprises, about 30 percent of all firms and an increase of 11.5 percent from 2007. The female-led businesses had estimated sales totaling $57.35 billion in 2013, up nearly 7 percent since 2007.

“Women are having a greater impact in all business segments. The state of Illinois is committed to seeing this momentum continue and to giving female entrepreneurs the tools they need to thrive,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said.

Pollet will take part in the symposium as a panelist. He will discuss governmental programs with Robert Steiner, director of the Illinois District at the SBA, and Ellisa Johnson, data specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other panelists include Deborah DeHaas, vice chairman and chief inclusion officer at Deloitte LLP; Maria Colangelo, vice president at Wintrust Bank; Linda McGill Boasmond, owner and president of Cedar Concepts Corp.; Kapila Viges, director of EnterpriseWorks Chicago at the University of Illinois; Pat Harris, global chief diversity officer at McDonald’s Corp.; Georgia Marsh, chief development officer at the Women’s Business Development Center; Myra C. Mormile-Wolper, senior associate at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; and Shawne Duperon of Shawne TV.

Additional state agency participants include Julie Hamos, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Jennifer Tirey, bureau chief for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“Women enterprises in the state of Illinois should be recognized as a driving economic force,” said Carol Bell, director of women’s business development at DCEO. “It’s our hope that the 2014 WBOS will draw particular attention to the public and private resources that exist to help women-owned firms reach the next competitive level.”

WBOS will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 27. To register or find out more information, call 312-814-0007 or visit http://www.ildceo.net/WBOS. Registration is allowed on site the day of the event.

For more information on doing business in Illinois, go to http://www.illinois.gov/dceo.

Saint Sabina closes out a whirlwind week with Pastor Donnie McClurkin

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

Donnie McClurkin was the keynote speaker at Saint Sabina’s two-day revival held earlier this week where he challenge the standing-room only crowd to know who they are and to understand the power and authority God has given us. Pastor McClurkin also sang a medley of songs including in Russian and Italian and also with the Howard University Choir (Photo by Chinta Strausberg)

In a nearly five-hour gospel, spiritual explosion, Grammy award winner Pastor Donnie McClurkin late Monday and Tuesday night received several standing ovations as he preached on and sang a medley of his songs in a number of languages including Russian challenging the Saint Sabina audience to know who they are.

But, his message and challenges during the revival were the same—take the authority that god gave us over the land and stop waiting for God to do what he has assigned you to do.

Unfortunately, Pastor McClurkin , who in 2001 founded the Perfecting Faith Church, said too many people have not been told who they are and what they can become and there in lies the problem. “God is looking at us. God gave authority to you….”

McClurkin got a round of laughter when he said, “I am trying my best not to be too Pentecostal. They say this is a Catholic church but it ain’t nothing here Catholic….” Listing many of the religions, McClurkin said, “Episcopal, Catholic, COIG, CME’s, AME’s…” divided they cannot stand and reminded the audience that they are all “the body of Christ.”

“This is not a church,” he said. “Jesus did not die for these pews, this pulpit” and neither did he die for the building.

All too often, McClurkin said, “In our religious piety, we have become pretentious and look to God as a crutch…and tell God what to do what he gave us the responsibility to do…. We have made him into a genie in a lamp…someone who twitches his nose and makes things happen for us…” like something magic.

“The reason why Chicago…New York are in the state they are in is because of us. It has nothing to do with God. We have been looking for God to do something for us…and God is saying why are you relinquishing your authority? What have you become so weakened…that you think I’m supposed to come and do this”?

McClurkin talked about people who were “false prophets…manipulating us from our living and because religious people are so emotional, we respond to a frenzy preaching…but because of emotions…we are starving…because we don’t know who we are….”

As ministers, McClurkin said, our job is to show you who you are, to preach you into your purpose to show you the image of God in you. We don’t know who we are…. We believe our humanity is an excuse for our failure…. We use that as an excuse but that is an indictment against you, not an excuse for you…that takes away your reason for failure because humanity is something great. Humanity is only second to deity for man was made in the image and likeness of an unfailing…wonderful God.”

“Man is made in the image and the likeness of the Holy God so failure is not acceptable,” he said. “Failure is not acceptable in humanity.” “Don’t you understand how wonderfully you are made”?

McClurkin told of how he was once broke. He only had $1.00 and how he gave ten-cents of that to God. He was told he could not sing, but when he was in his 20’s, he got a job cleaning toilets at a clinic for $120.00 a week. It was there he would sing and one day a Miss Washington heard him. She had him to go to the chapel from 12 noon to 1 and he would go back to cleaning bathrooms.

He listed all of the places he has performed since including the White House, for Nelson Mandela and many other places abroad including Australia, Japan and Nigeria. “I am blessed and highly favored,” he said. “Know who you are,” he said.

He went from being broke in 2001 to “sitting in my own house,” but his blessing came after he said God told him to give him 40-years of his life. McClurkin said he did just that. “You are the head, not the tail.”

Pastor McClurkin spent nearly two-hours singing in various languages including Russian. He also sang Monday night with the Howard University choir.

“In the religious world, we do not know who we are so we allow things to happen,” he said.

On Monday and Tuesday nights, Pastor McClurkin sang a medley of songs including, “We Fall Down, But We Get Up.” Here is the link to that song.

Father Pfleger called the two-hour music explosion “unbelievable” and said Pastor McClurkin “an anointed man of God.”

A line formed where members bought McClurkin’s latest CD, “Donnie McClurkin Duets.”

Here is the link to one of Pastor McClurkin’s most popular song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3ewPHaPBfA

TimeLine Theatre Company announces all Chicago Premieres for 2014-15 Season; Plus Season Opener for 2015, The Price

Posted by Admin On March - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO , IL — TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues, announces its 2014-15 season, featuring all Chicago premieres, one slot dedicated to two plays presented on alternating nights, and the TimeLine debut of legendary Chicago actor Mike Nussbaum.
TimeLine Theatre’s upcoming 2014-15 season includes:

  • Aaron Posner’s acclaimed adaptation of the Chaim Potok novel MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, directed by Kimberly Senior;
  • Dominic Orlando’s based-on-true-life conspiracy thriller DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling;
  • Two of Richard Nelson’s landmark THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS: THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING and SORRY, directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Louis Contey, featuring Mike Nussbaum with the most TimeLine Company Members ever assembled on stage in one cast;
  • And Michele Lowe’s award-winning story of Middle Eastern intrigue and romance INANA (director to be announced).
TimeLine is also pleased to confirm the season opener for its subsequent 2015-16 season:

  • THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Louis Contey with Mike Nussbaum returning to play the central role of a wily, 90-year-old antique dealer. THE PRICE will be presented in the fall of 2015 as part of a nationwide commemoration of the 100th birthday of playwright Arthur Miller. Further details and tickets for THE PRICE will become available when TimeLine’s 2015-16 season goes on sale in early 2015.
Once again, one production of TimeLine’s upcoming 2014-15 season will be presented at an alternate location to accommodate the company’s more than 3,000 subscribers and growing audience. MY NAME IS ASHER LEV—the season opener—will be presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago. All other productions will be staged at TimeLine Theatre’s home just blocks away at 615 W. Wellington Avenue.
4-Admission FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine’s 2014-15 season are now on sale, priced from $86 to $198. Subscribers who are interested in seeing all five plays offered during the 2014-15 season, including both APPLE FAMILY PLAYS, may purchase additional admissions at a discounted price. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 or visit timelinetheatre.com.
THE 2014-15 TIMELINE THEATRE SEASON IS:
Chicago Premiere MY NAME IS ASHER LEV by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok directed by Kimberly Senior August 23 – October 18, 2014 (Press Opening 8/28 at 7:30 pm) Presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave
Based on the best-selling novel and set in post-war Brooklyn, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV follows the journey of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents, young Asher realizes he must make difficult choices between his passion and his faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist at any cost—against the will of family, community and tradition.
MY NAME IS ASHER LEV received its world premiere in January 2009 at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia and recently closed a heralded 10-month run Off-Broadway in New York City, receiving the Outer Circle Critics Award for Best New Off-Broadway play. TimeLine’s production is the play’s Chicago premiere.
Chicago Premiere DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU by Dominic Orlando directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling September 23 – December 21, 2014 (Press Opening 10/2 at 7:30 pm) Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
This thriller is based on the true story of Danny Casolaro, a freelance reporter investigating high-level corruption in the Reagan/Bush Justice Department. A year into uncovering information, Casolaro was found dead in a Virginia motel room, his arms slashed more than a dozen times. The authorities called it suicide, but a host of conspiracy theorists—and the House Judiciary Committee—disagreed. Casolaro’s recovered notes detailed his plan to expose several major players behind numerous clandestine activities, including the Iran hostage situation, Nicaragua arms-for-drugs deals, and much more. Playwright Dominic Orlando—a cousin of Casolaro—pulls the curtain back on Danny’s journey and the ultimate price he paid trying to find the truth.
DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU received its world premiere at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre in Massachusetts in 2010 and is being adapted into a feature film scheduled to begin production in 2014. TimeLine presents the play’s second production and its Chicago premiere.
Chicago Premiere / presented on alternating nights THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS: THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING and SORRY by Richard Nelson directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Louis Contey January 20 – April 19, 2015 (Press Openings 1/31 at 4 pm and 8 pm) Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Tony Award winner Richard Nelson’s widely celebrated series of four THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS explores politics, change, and family dynamics. Set on dates of historic significance between 2010 and 2013, the plays have been heralded by The New York Times as “a rare and radiant mirror on the way we live … no previous works of theater have been topical in the resonant and specific ways of THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS.” Now TimeLine brings two of these remarkable plays (the first and third from the series) to Chicago to be presented on alternating nights.
THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING is set as the polls close on the 2010 mid-term elections, and SORRY is set on the morning of the presidential election in 2012. Both explore how a family sorts through personal and political feelings of loss and confusion in the shadow of history as it is being made. “One of Mr. Nelson’s points with this series is how world events are refracted and reflected in our own living and dining rooms in ways we’re not always aware of” wrote The New York Times, and the New York Daily News raved that “the big picture illuminates and informs what’s happening close to home and vice versa.”
THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS’ cast of six will feature the TimeLine debut of legendary Chicago actor Mike Nussbaum and more TimeLine Company Members on stage together than at any time in the company’s history: Janet Ulrich Brooks, Juliet Hart, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes and Artistic Director PJ Powers.
Chicago Premiere INANA by Michele Lowe director to be announced May 13 – July 26, 2015 (Press Opening 5/21 at 7:30 pm) Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
On the eve of the United States’ invasion of Baghdad in 2003, an Iraqi museum curator plots to save treasured antiquities, including the statue of ancient mother goddess Inana—metaphorically, the soul of the country—from destruction. Fleeing to London with his young bride, he makes a life-altering deal to ensure the statue’s preservation. Against a background of international and personal intrigue, playwright Michele Lowe opens a window of hope and healing with her poignant and beautiful love story.
INANA was commissioned and received its world premiere at Denver Center Theatre Company in 2009, and TimeLine’s production is the play’s Chicago premiere. “By introducing us to human and complex Iraqi characters … Michele Lowe’s play wants to smooth the border that separates our nations like a line of sand in the desert,” praised The Denver Post. “[It] allows us to consider our ‘enemy’ in new and more humane ways. To consider the infuriating plight of Middle Eastern women. To reflect on the unconscionable desecration of a country’s sacred heritage … All while escaping into an unlikely but eventually sweet romance.”
ABOUT TIMELINE THEATRE COMPANY
TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®), Best Theatre in Chicago (Chicago magazine, 2011) and the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010), was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. Over its first 16 seasons, TimeLine presented 56 productions, including nine world premieres and 19 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, which brings the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 50 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 10 times over 14 seasons of eligibility.
Now playing at TimeLine is the new play THE HOW AND THE WHY by Sarah Treem, directed by Keira Fromm, through April 6, 2014. Then TimeLine’s 2013-14 season finale is the Chicago premiere of the musical JUNO, book by Joseph Stein, music and lyrics by Marc Blitzstein, based on the play JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK by Sean O’Casey, directed by Nick Bowling with musical direction by Doug Peck and Elizabeth Doran and running April 23 – July 27, 2014 (note re-scheduled press opening is 5/2 at 7:30 p.m.), at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Cindy Giacchetti. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and The Shubert Foundation.
TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.
BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order)
Nick Bowling (Director, DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of an Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction (THE HISTORY BOYS at TimeLine) and four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (FIORELLO!, THIS HAPPY BREED and THE CRUCIBLE at TimeLine, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for BLOOD AND GIFTS, THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION, HAUPTMANN and THE LION IN WINTER at TimeLine and for CLOSER THAN EVER at Porchlight Music Theatre. Recent credits at TimeLine include THE NORMAL HEART, 33 VARIATIONS and MY KIND OF TOWN. Other Chicago credits include Northwestern University’s CABARET, Porchlight Music Theatre’s A CATERED AFFAIR, Writers Theatre’s BACH AT LEIPZIG, Shattered Globe Theatre’s TIME OF THE CUCKOO and FROZEN ASSETS and Rivendell Theatre’s FACTORY GIRLS, among others.
Louis Contey (Director, THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS) is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre, where he received a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction for AWAKE AND SING! and a Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination for IT’S ALL TRUE. Other TimeLine productions include FROST/NIXON, A HOUSE WITH NO WALLS, TRUMBO, PARADISE LOST, LILLIAN, THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA, COPENHAGEN and PRAVDA. He has directed more than 60 plays, among them REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, ALL MY SONS, ROCKET TO THE MOON, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG, MEET JOE DOE, BOYS NEXT DOOR and MARRIAGE PLAY. He is a 12-time Jeff nominee and has received seven Jeff Citations. Contey has worked at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Theatre at the Center, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Shattered Globe, Provision, Eclipse and American Theater Company, among others. He received his MFA in directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University, where he is currently an adjunct instructor.
Michele Lowe (Playwright, INANA) is the recipient of the 2010 Francesca Primus Prize for INANA. She also was a finalist for both the 2010 Steinberg/ATCA New Play award for INANA and VICTORIA MUSICA—which marked the first time in that award’s 33-year history that a playwright had been independently nominated for two plays in one season—and the 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for INANA. Lowe is also the author of the MAP OF HEAVEN, SMELL OF THE KILL (Broadway debut), STRING OF PEARLS (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination—Outstanding Off-Broadway Play), BACKSLIDING IN THE PROMISED LAND and MEZZULAH, 1946. She is the librettist and lyricist for the musical A THOUSAND WORDS COME TO MIND, which she wrote with composer Scott Richards. Lowe has been commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre, Arden Theatre and Geva Theatre. Her plays have been produced by the Vineyard Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Florida Stage, Reykjavik City Theatre (Iceland), Berkshire Theatre Festival and Asolo Repertory Theatre, among dozens of others. Her work has been developed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, New Harmony Project, PlayLabs, New York Stage & Film, Hartford Stage’s Brand: New Festival, the ACT & Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival and the Lark Play Development Center. Her work appears in New Playwrights/the Best Plays of 2005, The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2005 and Monologues for Women by Women.
Richard Nelson (Playwright, THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS) is an acclaimed and award-winning playwright whose plays include NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS; THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS: THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY and REGULAR SINGING; FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE; CONVERSATIONS IN TUSCULUM; FRANK’S HOME; HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST; RODNEY’S WIFE; FRANNY’S WAY; MADAME MELVILLE; GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (Olivier Award—Best Play), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (produced at TimeLine Theatre in 2006); NEW ENGLAND; TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony Award nomination—Best Play); and SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier Award nomination—Best Comedy). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE’S THE DEAD (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award—Best Book of a Musical) and MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon). He has adapted and/or translated numerous classical and contemporary plays; his films include HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, ETHAN FROME and SENSIBILITY AND SENSE. He is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the PEN/Laura Pels ‘Master Playwright” Award.
Dominic Orlando (Playwright, DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU) is a playwright whose other works include an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s HAMMER AND SICKLE for ArtsEmerson; book and lyrics for THE WORKING BOYS BAND, premiering in spring 2014 at The History Theatre in St Paul, Minn.; and book and lyrics for THE BARBARY COAST for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Orlando is a two-time Jerome Fellow and McKnight Fellow to the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, where he is a founding producer at The Workhaus Collective, the Center’s company-in-residence. With them he has co-produced 18 world premieres since 2007, including his SHORT PLAY ABOUT GLOBALIZATION, THE SENSE OF WHAT SHOULD BE and A SHORT PLAY ABOUT 9/11. Other fellowships include The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Edward Albee Foundation and The Atlantic Center for the Arts (with Paula Vogel). He is a co-creator of FISSURES (lost and found), which was commissioned by the Center and Actors Theatre of Louisville and had its world premiere at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays. Other plays include JUAN GELION DANCES FOR THE SUN and REPARATIONS. DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU has been optioned by Caliber Media/Aviation Films, and Orlando is currently working on the screenplay.
Aaron Posner (Playwright, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV) is an Associate Artist at Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., and at Milwaukee Rep. He has directed more than 100 productions at major regional theatres around the country and received awards including a Barrymore Award for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Arden Theatre) and Helen Hayes Awards for THE TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA, MEASURE FOR MEASURE and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Folger Theatre). As a playwright, his adaptations include two novels by Chaim Potok: THE CHOSEN, which has had more than 50 professional productions around the world, and MY NAME IS ASHER LEV. Other plays and adaptations include STUPID FUCKING BIRD; CYRANO (with Michael Hollinger); WHO AM I THIS TIME? (AND OTHER CONUNDRUMS OF LOVE) (adapted from Kurt Vonnegut); THIRD & INDIANA (adapted from Steve Lopez); BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN (adapted from David Foster Wallace) and SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (adapted from Ken Kesey). His musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s A MURDER, A MYSTERY & A MARRIAGE (with James Sugg) premiered at the Delaware Theatre Company and was nominated for 10 Barrymore Awards and the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play for its production at Round House Theatre. Posner is a co-founder of the Arden Theater and former Artistic Director of Two River Theatre Company.

Kimberly Senior (Director, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV) is a Chicago-based director and the director of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar at American Theater Company in Chicago and Lincoln Center Theatre 3 in New York City. She is also a 2013 Finalist for the SDCF Joe A. Callaway Award. She previously directed ALL MY SONS and DOLLY WEST’S KITCHEN at TimeLine. Other Chicago credits include 4000 MILES (Northlight), HEDDA GABLER (Writers Theatre), THE NORTH PLAN (Steppenwolf), AFTER THE REVOLUTION, MADAGASCAR and THE OVERWHELMING (Next), WAITING FOR LEFTY (American Blues), OLD TIMES, THE CONQUEST OF THE SOUTH POLE and UNCLE VANYA (Strawdog), CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, BUG and THE PILLOWMAN (Redtwist) and THIEVES LIKE US (The House Theatre), among many others. Regional directing credits include THE WHO AND THE WHAT (La Jolla Playhouse), LITTLE GEM (City Theatre), MURDER ON THE NILE and A FEW GOOD MEN (Peninsula Players) and MAURITIUS (Theatre Squared, Fayetteville, AR). As an educator, Senior spent 10 years as an administrator and Resident Artist with Steppenwolf for Young Adults, and also ran programs or taught at Court, Northlight, Redmoon, Roadworks Productions, Victory Gardens and others. She is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College, where she received the college’s 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. She also has served as Program Director and as a dramaturg for Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Work. Senior is an Artistic Associate at Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists. Her work has received multiple Joseph Jefferson nominations.

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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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