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Archive for June 11th, 2014

NAACP to Host 105th Annual National Convention in Las Vegas July 19-23

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on NAACP to Host 105th Annual National Convention in Las Vegas July 19-23

Convention to Reflect on 50 Years of Civil Rights History and Highlight the Current Fight for Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Opportunity, Education Equality & More

LAS VEGAS – The NAACP announced it will host its 105th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV from July 19th – 23rd.  This year’s convention theme is “All In for Justice & Equality” and will focus on securing black turnout for the 2014 mid term election, pushing back on voter suppression efforts and the ongoing struggles for criminal justice reform, voting rights, economic opportunity and education equality, and much more.  Click here to see the schedule of events; click here to register for press credentials.

“We are excited to hold this year’s convention in Las Vegas,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “In this pivotal election year, it is especially important for us to address voter suppression and the challenges facing communities of color and the nation as a whole. As we tackle important issues like health care, economic opportunity, education and civic engagement, we know that we cannot fully recover as a nation unless we are courageous, stand in solidarity and get out the vote. The NAACP will continue to educate, mobilize and agitate to create an informed and engaged populace and continue the work in ensuring every American has unfettered access to the ballot box.”

This convention occurs in a year of important civil rights anniversaries and milestones, including the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer.  It also occurs on the heels of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in the Schutte Case, as well as the devastating decision in Shelby v. Holder, which invalidated Section IV of the Voting Rights Act.

“The civil rights anniversaries this past year reminds us how far we have come, and how far we still have to go,” said NAACP Interim President & CEO, Lorraine C. Miller.  “As we honor the contributions of heroes like Thurgood Marshall, Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou, we also continue to address the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and the old Jim Crow of voter suppression. NAACP members and partners have never been content to simply memorialize historic icons; in fact, we are inspired and energized by their example for the work that lies ahead.”

Citing increased voter diversity, the NAACP also battled new attacks on equal access to education, health care and economic opportunity that effect the lives of African Americans.
This year’s convention speakers include well-known as well as the next generation of civil rights leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, actors and community activists.

“The NAACP is still the most influential and relevant voice in the fight for social justice,” stated NAACP Vice Chairman Leon Russell.  “ We still face several challenges and we must continue to set the tone for those who believe that the struggle for a greater nation must continue. Our Convention must also re-emphasize the importance of civic engagement as we move into off year elections. The ability to cast an unfettered ballot that is actually counted is perhaps our greatest challenge. We thank the Tri State/State Area Conference President Jeanetta Williams for marshaling the support of all of our units in Idaho, Nevada and Utah to insure the success of this convention. We are particularly grateful to the Las Vegas Branch of the NAACP for working with us to host this 105th Annual Convention. Our mission is to define the civil rights agenda for this century, just as we have done since our founding.”

“The future of voting rights and equal access to education is being threatened; but our national and state conferences must hold strong,” said NAACP Tri State Conference President of Idaho, Nevada and Utah, Jeanetta Williams. “This year’s convention is essential as we map out strategies to continue to fight attacks on our civil rights. We will join with others across the country to protect rights most sacred in our democracy. As one nation, we must be all in for justice and equality.”

“We in the Las Vegas Branch of the NAACP are pleased to welcome and privileged to host the 2014 NAACP National Convention,” said Frank Hawkins, NAACP Las Vegas Branch President. “As we continue the fight for equality and social justice for all Americans, our Branch and the Las Vegas community extend every hospitality and want to ensure a positive and meaningful experience for all members and participants.”

In addition to the primary convention schedule, the NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week. Emerging youth from across the nation will be featured in the annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition beginning July 17. Students will compete in 26 categories including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the event. Famous ACT-SO alumni include musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.

Class Action Lawsuit Asking for Damages for Cruel & Unusual Conditions at Cook County Jail

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on Class Action Lawsuit Asking for Damages for Cruel & Unusual Conditions at Cook County Jail

MALEWSKI vs. PRECKWINKLE et al., 14 CV 4187

Marcus Malewski was forced to stay in the holding areas of Cook County Jail from May 12-16, 2014. For most of that time he was not fed, and had no access to a toilet or a shower. He was not assigned a cell. He did not have a bed to sleep in. Marcus was not alone. He was part of a group of over 50 pre-trial detainees who were herded from holding pen to holding pen, day after day, and only allowed to sleep on the floor for a couple of hours each night in an area of the jail under construction.

To cover up this barbaric treatment guards entered their id cards into the jail computer, assigning them to mythical, non-existent cells.

Today Gregory E. Kulis & Associates, Ltd. & the Uptown Peoples Law Center filed a class action law suit in the United States District Court in Chicago asking for damages for the men subjected to this barbaric treatment.



The complaint alleges that Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County has a practice of underfunding Cook County Jail to such an extent that there are not enough beds for all the pre-trial detainees entering the jail. The complaint alleges that this practice of underfunding and overcrowding has gone on for decades, without the County either reducing the jail population, or increasing its capacity. The complaint also alleges that Sherriff Thomas Dart and the Jails Chief Executive, Cara Smith, have established practices and policies which allowed these men to be deprived of the basic necessities of life. The case asks for class certification so that all of the men subjected to these conditions can obtain compensation for their injuries.

Greg Kulis, one of the attorneys representing Marcus, stated:

“Marcus was even denied access to a toilet. As a result, he was forced to urinate on himself, and then left to sit in his urine soaked clothing for more than a day before he was finally allowed to take a shower. This sort of treatment should never be allowed in a civilized society.”

Alan Mills, another of Marcus’s attorneys, stated:

“The County and the Sheriff have been aware of these conditions for decades. While the jail has long been overcrowded, what was done to these men—none of whom had been convicted of any crime—is unprecedented, but not surprising. The real problem is that we lock up far too many people. There are thousands of people suffering from mental illness, thousands of low level non-violent drug offenders are sent to Cook County Jail every year. We need to break our addiction to incarceration, or these horrors will continue to happen.”

For further information, please contact:

Gregory E. Kulis                                           Alan Mills

Gregory E. Kulis & Associates, Ltd.              Uptown People’s Law Center

30 North LaSalle, Suite 2140                        4413 North Sheridan

Chicago, IL 60602                                         Chicago, IL 60640

(312) 580-1830                                               (773) 769-1411

gkulis@kulislawltd.com alanmills@comcast.net

TIF Illumination Program to Reveal Details on the Six TIFs in the 48th Ward

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on TIF Illumination Program to Reveal Details on the Six TIFs in the 48th Ward

CHICAGO, IL – The Tax Increment Financing District or TIF Illumination Project will reveal the details of the impacts of the six TIFs that are active inside the 48th ward at a public meeting or “Illumination” on Wednesday, June 18 at 7pm at Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan Road.

Attendees will learn:

What is a TIF and the extent of the program across the years

Which TIFs are inside the ward and how much property taxes they extracted in 2012

How much money from the ward was left in the TIF accounts at the end of the year

What projects in the ward were funded by TIF dollars

The TIF Illumination Project has been using data mining, investigatory journalism, graphic design and community organizing to reveal the details of Chicago’s massive TIF program since February 2013. Since then the project has Illuminated 147 TIFs across 25 wards in front of over 2,000 people. The project was profiled in the July 22, 2013 cover story of The Nation, “Chicago Rising!” (see http://tinyurl.com/Nation-article).

The host for the meeting is the Emanuel Congregation Social Action Committee. Said event organizer Carol Edelson, a member of the Committee, “We wanted to educate ourselves on TIFs because they affect development in our neighborhood and the amount of property tax money that is available for city services. It’s an important issue affecting our community so we decided to hold an open public meeting to inform ourselves and our neighbors.” Co-sponsors for this event are the Chicago Teachers Union, Northside Action for Justice,  The People Project, Edgewater Presbyterian Church,  and ONE Northside.

Presenting the TIF data will be Tom Tresser (www.tresser.com), Lead Organizer for the TIF Illumination Project and co-founder of the CivicLab. Founded in July of 2013, The CivicLab is Chicago’s only co-working space dedicated to collaboration, education and innovation for social justice and civic engagement efforts. Online at www.tifreports.com and www.civiclab.us.

“People who pay property taxes – property owners or renters – need to hear this information about how almost 500 million dollars in property taxes are extracted an put in a clout-driven slush fund,” said Tresser, “This extraction dramatically affects vital city services – most notably public education,  so it really is everybody’s business.”

Also presenting will be Eithne McMenamin, Associate Director of Policy at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “I think it’s important for people to hear about the good that TIF money can do to create affordable housing and help our city recover from the housing crisis,” says McMenamin, “While there are a lot of issues about how TIF money is spent and who makes those decisions, we should remember that it’s simply a tool. How that tool is used and to whose benefit are the questions we should always be asking.”

Sweet Home Chicago is a city-wide coalition of grassroots community organizations and unions working together to create housing for low-income and working people. The coalition led the effort that resulted in the City passing, in May 2011, the TIF Purchase Rehab Ordinance (aka the Sweet Home Chicago Ordinance (http://tinyurl.com/o2czy6j) that creates a fund to be used for the rehab of vacant/ foreclosed buildings for affordable housing. Recently, as part of the City’s 5-Year Affordable Housing Plan they have committed $35 million for the program.

The 48th Ward TIF Illumination will take place on Wednesday, June 18, from 7pm to 9pm at Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan Road. The meeting is free and open to the public. Easy access via CTA bus routes 151 and 147 and via the Red Line via the Thorndale stop. Free parking in the temple parking lot. Refreshments will be provided. People may RSVP via ths Facebook link: http://tinyurl.com/48thWard-TIF.

Why the Las Vegas Shooters Ran Loose

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on Why the Las Vegas Shooters Ran Loose

Why the Las Vegas Shooters Ran Loose

New America Media
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
In less than 24 hours after two Las Vegas police officers and a bystander were gunned down by two Neo-Nazi, anti-government spewing white supremacists, Stormfront’s website blew up. There were nearly 200,000 threads and more than 2 million posts. This dwarfed the number of posts from all other topics on the site combined during that period.

Stormfront is the nation’s premier, self-promoted, online meeting place where hundreds of neo-Nazi, anti-government, white supremacist groups and tens of thousands of individuals spew hate with aplomb. The site’s writers lambaste blacks, Jews, gays, and are unabashed in praise of Hitler. They perennially exhort their readers and followers to arm themselves to the teeth against the imagined assault by the federal government on white people’s rights. It was virtually a given that the murders would fire the horde of racists up, and ignite a frenzy of debate, speculation, denial and even veiled acquiescence to the murders.

Jerad and Amanda Miller, the alleged cop killers, were the sort of nut jobs who would be perfectly comfortable with the crowd on Stormfront. That’s the same crowd that lustily cheered on anti-federal government rancher Cliven Bundy. We now know Bundy was the Miller’s hero-patriot whom they were prepared to defend with guns blazing. Bundy was also the hero-patriot of the GOP and the Tea Party until he got into hot water for spewing anti-black slurs. The blunt truth is that the blatant cheerlead of Bundy, and the popularity of Stormfront as a nesting place for white supremacists amounts to a tacit license to kill to legions of hate fringed loose cannons such as the Millers.

In April, the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups warned that Stormfront and other online racist hate forums as a virtual Murder INC. More than 100 persons in the last five years have been slain by those who post on its site. It’s not known whether the Millers were one of those posters or readers, since most post anonymously. But that’s less important than how the Millers and their like can make threats, bluster, and commit crimes to indulge their crazed fantasies and wage their looney war against their phantom minority group and federal government enemies. The Millers and Stormfront and the thousands of others that rant, rail, and spew hate in speeches, on websites, in videos and in their fringe, kooky publications are simply exercising their first amendment right; a right that can’t be abridged no matter how scary they sound.

However, even when the Millers are known tracked, monitored and surveilled and worse commit hate acts, they often evade full punishment. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment, but rather muddled, confused, and outright lax enforcement and prosecution of hate acts. Even when the FBI and local law enforcement agencies ID them for their propensity for violence their hands are still tied.
Federal prosecutors are loath to step on the toes of police and prosecutors in criminal cases no matter how badly the crime is tainted by race, gender or religious hatred. Federal prosecutors flatly say that the hate perpetrators are more likely to be convicted and get stiff sentences in state court. That makes good legal and political sense.

Yet, that’s not the only reason for their hands off of the Millers. Except in the highest profile cases, they see these prosecutions as no-win cases with little political gain, and the risk of making enemies of local police, DAs, and state officials. Hate crimes may be horrific but they are largely seen as common crimes and are treated as such. Few state prosecutors will chance inflaming racial passions and hatreds by slapping a hate crime tag on a case.

There’s also the belief that hate crimes are mostly a thing of the past. When they do occur, they are isolated acts committed by a handful of quacks, and unreconstructed bigots, and that state authorities vigorously report and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.

When Congress passed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, it compelled the FBI to collect figures on hate violence. However, it did not compel police agencies to report them. Record keeping on hate crimes is still left up to the discretion of local police chiefs and city officials. Many police departments still refuse to report hate crimes, or to label crimes in which gays, Jews, and minorities are targeted because of race, religion, or sexual preference as hate crimes. Still other police departments don’t bother compiling them because they regard hate crimes as a politically loaded minefield that can tarnish their image and create even more political friction. The official indifference by many police agencies to hate crimes prevents federal officials, even if they wanted to more aggressively enforce civil rights laws, from accurately gauging the magnitude of civil rights violence. The Millers slaying of two Las Vegas officers and a bystander will be treated as murder, without the hate attachment. This laxity is just enough space for the Millers of America to run loose.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter.

Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne call for comprehensive strategy to save Mississippi River

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne call for comprehensive strategy to save Mississippi River

WASHINGTON D.C. – . Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon joined government, industry and environmental leaders in Washington to call for a comprehensive and cooperative approach to Mississippi River governance and sustainability.

“Everyone has a stake in seeing the Mississippi River remains viable,” said Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, chair of the state’s Mississippi River Coordinating Council. “We believe the best way to accomplish that is to build on existing public-private partnerships and develop a multi-state governance structure that allows for the integration of the river’s diverse users.”

Simon spoke at the final The Big River Works forum dedicated to the future of the Mississippi River and convened by the America’s WETLAND Foundation. Chaired by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, The Big River Works Initiative brought together leaders from government, the environment, industry and communities at five regional forums since 2012 to create a cooperative path forward for Mississippi watershed sustainability.

More than 400 participants attended the leadership forums held along the river in cities from Minneapolis to New Orleans. The findings revealed a number of common concerns and beliefs among the river’s many users. Representatives from every level of government, business and industry agreed the Mississippi River system must be managed as a single ecosystem, or it will continue to deteriorate, jeopardizing the benefits it provides nationwide.

The Big River Works forums generated four overarching recommendations released today in the nation’s Capitol:

  • Develop a comprehensive approach to Mississippi River health and sustainability
  • Encourage cooperative action for Mississippi River system health and sustainability
  • Coordinate a national approach to Mississippi Watershed governance
  • Engage the public to build political will
“These aims represent consensus thinking developed through research, focus groups, interviews and months of conversations,” said R. King Milling, chairman of the AWF. “They are ambitious, but so is the scope of action necessary to maintain the long-term health and productivity of the Mississippi River and its delta. We are running out of time.”

For more information visit www.americaswetland.com or www.bigriverworks.org.

“…When I think about Maya Angelou, I think about the affirming power of her words…”: First Lady Michelle Obama

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on “…When I think about Maya Angelou, I think about the affirming power of her words…”: First Lady Michelle Obama

Remarks by the First Lady at Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou

Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Thank you so much. (Applause.) My heart is so full. My heart is so full. Bebe — Oprah, why did you do that? Just why did you put me after this? (Laughter.)

To the family, Guy, to all of you; to the friends; President Clinton; Oprah; my mother, Cicely Tyson; Ambassador Young — let me just share something with you. My mother, Marian Robinson, never cares about anything I do. (Laughter.) But when Dr. Maya Angelou passed, she said, you’re going, aren’t you? I said, well, Mom, I’m not really sure, I have to check with my schedule. She said, you are going, right? (Laughter.) I said, well, I’m going to get back to you but I have to check with the people, figure it out. I came back up to her room when I found out that I was scheduled to go, and she said, that’s good, now I’m happy. (Laughter.)

It is such a profound honor, truly, a profound honor, to be here today on behalf of myself and my husband as we celebrate one of the greatest spirits our world has ever known, our dear friend, Dr. Maya Angelou.

In the Book of Psalms it reads: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the Earth.” What a perfect description of Maya Angelou, and the gift she gave to her family and to all who loved her.

She taught us that we are each wonderfully made, intricately woven, and put on this Earth for a purpose far greater than we could ever imagine. And when I think about Maya Angelou, I think about the affirming power of her words.

The first time I read “Phenomenal Woman”, I was struck by how she celebrated black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before. (Applause.) Our curves, our stride, our strength, our grace. Her words were clever and sassy; they were powerful and sexual and boastful. And in that one singular poem, Maya Angelou spoke to the essence of black women, but she also graced us with an anthem for all women –- a call for all of us to embrace our God-given beauty.

And, oh, how desperately black girls needed that message. As a young woman, I needed that message. As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. (Laughter.) That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head.

Her message was very simple. She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, “Each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.” She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.

Dr. Angelou’s words sustained me on every step of my journey –- through lonely moments in ivy-covered classrooms and colorless skyscrapers; through blissful moments mothering two splendid baby girls; through long years on the campaign trail where, at times, my very womanhood was dissected and questioned. For me, that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words –- words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House. (Applause.)

And today, as First Lady, whenever the term “authentic” is used to describe me, I take it as a tremendous compliment, because I know that I am following in the footsteps of great women like Maya Angelou. But really, I’m just a beginner — I am baby-authentic. (Laughter.) Maya Angelou, now she was the original, she was the master. For at a time when there were such stifling constraints on how black women could exist in the world, she serenely disregarded all the rules with fiercely passionate, unapologetic self. She was comfortable in every last inch of her glorious brown skin.

But for Dr. Angelou, her own transition was never enough. You see, she didn’t just want to be phenomenal herself, she wanted all of us to be phenomenal right alongside her. (Applause.) So that’s what she did throughout her lifetime -– she gathered so many of us under her wing. I wish I was a daughter, but I was right under that wing sharing her wisdom, her genius, and her boundless love.

I first came into her presence in 2008, when she spoke at a campaign rally here in North Carolina. At that point, she was in a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen tank to help her breathe. But let me tell you, she rolled up like she owned the place. (Laughter.) She took the stage, as she always did, like she’d been born there. And I was so completely awed and overwhelmed by her presence I could barely concentrate on what she was saying to me.

But while I don’t remember her exact words, I do remember exactly how she made me feel. (Applause.) She made me feel like I owned the place, too. She made me feel like I had been born on that stage right next to her. And I remember thinking to myself, “Maya Angelou knows who I am, and she’s rooting for me. So, now I’m good. I can do this. I can do this.” (Applause.)

And that’s really true for us all, because in so many ways, Maya Angelou knew us. She knew our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear, our anger, our shame. And she assured us that despite it all –- in fact, because of it all -– we were good. And in doing so, she paved the way for me and Oprah and so many others just to be our good, old, black-woman selves. (Applause.)

She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us. (Applause.) And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is okay to be your regular old self, whatever that is –- your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self.

That was Maya Angelou’s reach. She touched me. She touched all of you. She touched people all across the globe, including a young white woman from Kansas who named her daughter after Maya, and raised her son to be the first black President of the United States. (Applause.)

So when I heard that Dr. Angelou had passed, while I felt a deep sense of loss, I also felt a profound sense of peace. Because there is no question that Maya Angelou will always be with us, because there was something truly divine about Maya. I know that now, as always, she is right where she belongs.

May her memory be a blessing to us all. Thank you. God bless. (Applause.)

Small Business Owners Grade Their States for Business Friendliness: Utah and Idaho Rate the Highest; California and Illinois Among Least Friendly to Small Businesses

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on Small Business Owners Grade Their States for Business Friendliness: Utah and Idaho Rate the Highest; California and Illinois Among Least Friendly to Small Businesses

Colorado Springs and Boise businesses gave their cities highest grades in Kauffman Foundation/Thumbtack.com survey of 12,000+ small business owners

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today released the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that small business owners in Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana gave their states the highest rating for friendliness to small business. Small businesses in Colorado Springs, Boise and Houston gave their cities the highest ratings.
In contrast, small business owners gave California, Rhode Island and Illinois an “F,” while Connecticut and New Jersey both earned a “D” grade.
Sacramento, Providence and Buffalo were the survey’s worst-performing cities as rated by their small business owners.
More than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide participated in this year’s survey. The Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey is the largest survey of its kind and is the only survey to obtain data from an extensive, nationwide sample of small business owners to determine the most business-friendly locations. The survey ranked 82 cities and most states on what makes a positive environment for small businesses.
“Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, but rarely does anyone ask small business owners themselves about what makes for a pro-entrepreneur environment,” says Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.com. “Thousands of small business owners across the country told us that the keys to a pro-growth environment are ease of compliance with tax and regulatory systems and helpful training programs.”
Some of the survey’s key findings include:
  • Small businesses in Texas, Utah and Idaho have rated their states in the top five every year this survey has run, while California and Rhode Island have been rated in the bottom five every year.
  • The friendliness of professional licensing requirements was the most important regulatory issue in determining a state’s overall friendliness to small businesses. Closely following licensing requirements was the ease of filing taxes.
  • Once again, tax rates were a less important factor than the ease of regulatory compliance in determining the overall friendliness score of a jurisdiction. Two-thirds of respondents said they paid their “fair share” of taxes – that is, they felt like they were neither under-paying nor over-paying.
  • Small business owners who were aware of training programs offered by their government were significantly more likely to say their government was friendly to small business than those who weren’t. Awareness of training programs raised overall scores by 10 percent, while 76 percent of those who said they were aware of government-sponsored training programs for business owners ranked their local government as “somewhat” or “very supportive,” and only 8 percent of these said local government was unsupportive.
  • Only 19 percent of respondents said they were prepared for implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Female entrepreneurs were more likely than male entrepreneurs to say that their state government was friendly to small business, while male entrepreneurs were more likely than female entrepreneurs to have a positive view on the outlook of their state economy.
  • Kentucky’s grade was this year’s most improved, jumping from a B- to an A.
“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” said Dane Stangler, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small business owners themselves.”
Complete results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings and dozens of easily searchable quotes from small businesses nationwide. Each state and city also has its own data visualization showing its detailed survey results.
Survey methodology
Thumbtack.com surveyed 12,632 small businesses across the United States. The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states and cities toward small business, such as:
  • “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
  • “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?” and
  • “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?”
Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics. The full methodology paper can be found here.
About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.
About Thumbtack
Headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack is a consumer service that helps millions of people accomplish the personal projects that are central to their lives. Thumbtack introduces customers to experienced professionals who are available, interested and qualified to meet their specific needs. Whether looking for a painter for their home, a math tutor for their child, or a DJ for their wedding, Thumbtack provides anyone in the U.S. with an easy and dependable way to get started, compare options, and hire with confidence. The company has raised a total of $49 million from Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Venture Partners, and other prominent investors.

ICYMI: Champaign News-Gazette Calls State Budget “Sorry Spectacle”

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on ICYMI: Champaign News-Gazette Calls State Budget “Sorry Spectacle”

ICYMI:  Champaign News-Gazette Calls State Budget “Sorry Spectacle”

Frerichs’ Hometown Paper Criticizes Budget Frerichs Supported

This week the Champaign News-Gazette penned an editorial outlining the problems with both the process and policy of this year’s state budget.  The budget, supported and defended by Mike Frerichs, has many flaws as outlined in some of the excerpts below:

“Illinois legislators are running for re-election and running from tough decisions.”

“Risk-averse legislators staggered out of Springfield over the weekend, having passed a budget plan that calls for spending $35.7 billion but leaving open the question of how it will be funded.”

“Times may be hard, but legislators decided the state has ample resources to look out for themselves and their special constituents.
Legislators voted to start paying themselves again for 12 furlough days — that’s worth another $3,100 each.”

“House and Senate Democrats simply refused to support the tax hike at a time when voters could hold them accountable for their actions.
So the budget remains mired in confusion and doubt that only the forthcoming election can clarify.”

Read the whole article by clicking here.


New AARP Survey Assesses the Issues that Matter Most to African-Americans 50+

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on New AARP Survey Assesses the Issues that Matter Most to African-Americans 50+

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An AARP survey released today shows that health care, education, financial security and the digital divide are among the most important social issues for African-Americans aged 50 and older.

The national survey, which included phone interviews with 650 respondents, demonstrates that while many older African-Americans are optimistic that the country is moving in the right direction when it comes to issues such as health care, education and the digital divide, they are significantly less optimistic about finances, employment and workforce discrimination. Lower levels of optimism related to finances and employment could directly impact their future retirement security.

“In light of rapid population growth among multicultural communities, studies such as our African-American Social Issues Survey allow AARP to address the unique resource and service needs that have resulted from the demographic shift,” Edna Kane-Williams, AARP Vice President, Multicultural Markets and Engagement. “We realize that decisions like knowing when to claim retirement benefits, making health care choices, seeking employment and financial planning can be complex and different for everyone. AARP is working to provide all people with enough information to make the right choices for themselves and their families.”

Among the survey’s findings:

* While the majority of African-Americans 50+ considered all of the social issues AARP asked about as being important, access to quality health care (91%), financial security (91%) and health care information (89%) were seen as most important.
* When respondents noted more than one issue as extremely or very important, they were asked which of the issues was the single most important one. Access to high quality healthcare was overwhelmingly viewed to be the single most important social issue-by one third (32%) of those who gave multiple responses.
* Having a financially secure retirement was considered the second most important issue (cited by 16% of those with multiple answers), while access to high quality education was the third most important issue (cited by 14% of those with multiple answers).
* Optimism is lowest for employment-related issues, with employment discrimination based on age (44%) and race (45%), access to better employment opportunities (48%) and having a financially secure retirement (a by-product of employment) garnering lower optimism levels relative to health, technology and education-related issues.

Complete survey results can be viewed here.

AARP currently offers extensive resources, including free webinars on Social Security and retirement planning, employment search and networking through Life Reimagined for Work, health care information through the AARP Health online portal and technology training at AARP TEK. To learn more about these and other AARP tools and resources, visit www.aarp.org.

About AARP AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

National Veterans Art Museum to Host Unraveling Veterans by Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble

Posted by Admin On June - 11 - 2014 Comments Off on National Veterans Art Museum to Host Unraveling Veterans by Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble

World Premiere of Performances on Struggle and Strengths of Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans

CHICAGO, IL – The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) is pleased to host performances of Unraveling Veterans by Chicago Danztheatre Chicago. Unraveling Veterans tells the stories of five veterans from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Free performances take place at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm on June 14th.

The combination of first person monologue, movement, and multi-media images mirror the physical, mental, and spiritual struggles military service can put on soldiers while highlighting the strength, courage and camaraderie they discover. The stories are woven together through their shared experience of longing, post-traumatic stress, and uncertainty. Unraveling Veterans aims to spread awareness about post-traumatic stress and kick start a dialogue about the subtle and often tragic implications of war and violence.

Director: Jack Ryan.
Writer: Jack Ryan and Ellyzabeth Adler.
Choreographer: Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble
Stage Manager and Technical Director: Ashely Bowman

Cast: Ellyzabeth Adler, Venice Averyheart, Brian Boller, Freeman Coffey, Noor Hamid, Gennifer Jackson, Alex St. John, Tiffany Small, Melissa Talleda, Matthew Webb, Christopher Young, with McKenna Liesman on June 14 performing a monologue remembering the first U.S. female casualty in Operation Desert Storm.

About Unraveling Veterans
In 2006, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble created “Unraveling Bill,” a 15-minute performance about veteran Bill Blake, who committed suicide shortly after returning from military service in Iraq. Bill’s suicide sent ripples of pain through his family and community. Since its premiere, “Unraveling Bill,” was performed many times at different locations and festivals such as the Jane Addams Hull House Museum “How do we Create Peace and Justice” 2013 series, Youspoke.org’s “Not Alone” event for those affected by suicide, and The Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Theatre Festival.

“Unraveling Bill” tells only one families story, but this issue of post-traumatic stress, the isolation most soldiers face after service, and the true cost of war is a national story. To better address these issues Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble developed Unraveling Veterans, which includes Bill Blake’s story along with four other veterans experiences serving and returning home. Since 2012 Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble has been compiling veterans stories through interviews and soldiers letters home saved by families and museums. We have talked with veterans who have served in direct combat, civil affairs and nation building, as well as chaplains and therapist that serve veterans. In 2013 a work-in-progress showing of Unraveling Veterans toured four Chicago Park District locations as an initiative with The Culture, Arts and Nature Department.

About the National Veterans Art Museum
The National Veterans Art Museum, located at 4041 N Milwaukee Avenue, inspires greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans. The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. It is home to more than 2,500 works of art by more than 270 artists. Personal narratives and artistic representations of war (including paintings, photographs, sculptures, poetry and music) provide transformative learning opportunities in art, history and civics.

The National Veterans Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit www.nvam.org.

Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at www.nvam.org/collection-online.

About Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble challenges, engages and inspires audiences both onstage and in the classroom, through innovative, multidisciplinary storytelling in the genre of Tanztheatre, which unites all art media and to achieve an all-embracing, radical change in humankind. As an Ensemble, we collaboratively create thought-provoking arts performances and educational outreach programs incorporating elements of theatre, music, movement, visual arts and literary text. We are dedicated to “performance with a purpose. www.danztheatre.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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