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Archive for January 5th, 2015

President Obama Imposes Additional Sanctions Against North Korea

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Imposes Additional Sanctions Against North Korea

Letter — Imposing Additional Sanctions With Respect to North Korea

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the “order”) with respect to North Korea that expands the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13466 of June 26, 2008, expanded in scope in Executive Order 13551 of August 30, 2010, and relied upon for additional steps in Executive Order 13570 of April 18, 2011. The order takes additional steps to address North Korea’s continued actions that threaten the United States and others.

In 2008, upon terminating the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) with respect to North Korea, the President issued Executive Order 13466 and declared a national emergency pursuant to IEEPA to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the existence and risk of the proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula. Executive Order 13466 continued certain restrictions on North Korea and North Korean nationals that had been in place under TWEA.

In 2010, I issued Executive Order 13551. In that order, I determined that the Government of North Korea’s continued provocative actions destabilized the Korean peninsula and imperiled U.S. Armed Forces, allies, and trading partners in the region and warranted the imposition of additional sanctions, and I expanded the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13466. In Executive Order 13551, I ordered blocked the property and interests in property of three North Korean entities and one individual listed in the Annex to that order and provided criteria under which the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate additional persons whose property and interests in property shall be blocked.

In 2011, I issued Executive Order 13570 to further address the national emergency with respect to North Korea and to strengthen the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. That Executive Order prohibited the direct or indirect importation of goods, services, and technology from North Korea.

I have now determined that that the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea, including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014, actions in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, and 2094, and commission of serious human rights abuses, constitute a continuing threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others. The order leaves in place all existing sanctions imposed under Executive Orders 13466, 13551, and 13570. It provides criteria for blocking the property and interests in property of any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

  • to be an agency, instrumentality, or controlled entity of the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea;
  • to be an official of the Government of North Korea;
  • to be an official of the Workers’ Party of Korea;
  • to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the Government of North Korea or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of North Korea or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.

In addition, the order suspends entry into the United States of any alien determined to meet one or more of the above criteria.

I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order. All executive agencies are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.

I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.



Source: whitehouse.gov

Attorney General Holder’s Statement on Yearly Law Enforcement Officer Fatality Statistics

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Attorney General Holder’s Statement on Yearly Law Enforcement Officer Fatality Statistics
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund released preliminary fatality statistics for 2014.  The data in the report shows that 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year.  The report further showed that in 2014, 50 officers were killed by firearms, 49 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents, and 27 officers died due to other causes including 24 who suffered from job-related illnesses—such as heart attacks—while performing their duties.

Attorney General Eric Holder made the following statement:

“These troubling statistics underscore the very real dangers that America’s brave law enforcement officers face every time they put on their uniforms.  Each loss is both tragic and unacceptable — a beloved father, mother, son, or daughter who never came home to their loved ones.

“That’s why, over the last six years, my colleagues and I have taken action to support these courageous men and women.  As we speak, the Justice Department continues its efforts to empower local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement personnel to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.  In 2011, I created an Officer Safety Working Group in response to concerns about violence directed at law enforcement.   The department is currently funding thorough analysis of 2014 officer fatalities, including ambushes of law enforcement and other incidents, so we can mitigate risks in the future.  And through groundbreaking initiatives like VALOR, we are providing cutting-edge training to help prevent violence against law enforcement, to improve officer resilience, and to increase survivability during violent encounters.

“Through our Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program, we’re helping to provide lifesaving equipment to those who serve on the front lines.  And through the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, we’re offering our strongest support to our brave officers and their loved ones in the toughest of times.

“Going forward, this unshakeable commitment to those who serve will continue to guide our efforts to improve 21st-century policing and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they protect.

“I have always been proud to support these selfless public servants.  All Americans owe our courageous law enforcement personnel a tremendous debt of gratitude for their patriotic service, for their often-unheralded sacrifices, and for the dangers they routinely face in the name of public safety.”

Source: Office of Attorney General, Department of Justice

Simon: Clemency Granted to Those on the Right Side of History

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Simon: Clemency Granted to Those on the Right Side of History

Governor approves petitions for Illinois abolitionists

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon applauded Governor Quinn’s action to grant clemency to abolitionists who were convicted for their anti-slavery efforts. Simon filed petitions last year seeking clemency for three abolitionists convicted during the 1800s.

“The men and women who defied the law to support the Underground Railroad risked their safety and well-being because they believed that all individuals deserve freedom,” said Simon. “I would like to thank Governor Quinn for honoring their memories and sacrifices with pardons for their selflessness and courage. Abolitionists were on the right side of history, and today we honor their foresight and heroism.”

“These early warriors for freedom put everything on the line to help their fellow man, and their civil disobedience paved the way for civil rights,” Governor Quinn said. “Clearing their criminal records 171 years later shows how far we have come, but reminds us all that we should fight injustice wherever we find it.”

Simon’s work to clear the names of abolitionists began after being contacted by Quincy historians. Simon’s first petition of clemency was filed for Dr. Richard Eells, who in 1843 was convicted of harboring a runaway slave. Eells, an Underground Railroad conductor, was found guilty of harboring and secreting a runaway slave, and unlawfully preventing the lawful owner from recovering the slave. His case was later heard by the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the original conviction.

Through his involvement in the Underground Railroad, Dr. Eells helped numerous slaves traveling through Quincy toward Chicago, and ultimately, to freedom in Canada. The National Parks Service has declared Dr. Eells’ home as one of the country’s 42 most important Underground Railroad sites, and the home is currently operated by the Friends of Dr. Richard Eells House.

“The Friends of the Dr. Richard Eels House Organization is very excited to hear this wonderful news,” said John Cornell, the group’s president. “It has been a long time coming, but we’re glad the recognition of Dr. Eels work is finally here.”

The Chicago-based Abolition Institute, which is committed to fighting modern day slavery worldwide, honored Lt. Governor Simon on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday for her work fighting for clemency for Illinois abolitionists.

“The Abolition Institute strongly commends the innovative leadership of Lt. Governor Sheila Simon in fighting to honor the legacy of Illinois heroes who risked their own lives to fight against slavery,” said Sean Tenner, co-founder of the Abolition Institute.  “Honoring these abolitionists is the right thing to do for their families and is helping to energize a new generation of Illinoisans to honor their legacy by fighting against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.”

Simon also filed petitions of clemency for Julius and Samuel Willard who in 1843 were convicted of secreting and harboring a fugitive slave. Julius, who was close friends with anti-slavery activist Elijah Lovejoy, moved his family from Alton to Jacksonville while their son Samuel attended Illinois College.

Dr. Samuel Willard later served in the 97th Illinois Regiment, participating in the Battle of Vicksburg. An illness contracted during his military service caused partial paralysis, and Dr. Willard was never again able to practice medicine. Instead, he became a lifelong education advocate, working to establish the Springfield Public Library and libraries across Illinois, as well as becoming the superintendant of the Springfield Public School District.

Despite Illinois residents voting to abolish slavery in 1824, both Illinois and federal law prohibited the harboring or assisting of runaway slaves in free states. Simon’s office worked with historians and experts around the state to identify Illinoisans who were convicted of violating slavery laws.

Father Pfleger, Youth Remember Gunshot Victims of 2014, Cry out for Peace in 2015

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Father Pfleger, Youth Remember Gunshot Victims of 2014, Cry out for Peace in 2015

Calls for end of gun violence

By Chinta Strausberg

Releasing 22 white doves as a symbol of peace on the coldest day of the year, Father Michael L. Pfleger Wednesday led more than 300 people on a “Call to Action” march along the Magnificent Mile to remember those killed by gun violence in 2014, to break the cycle of violence in Chicago and to say “All Life Matters” and that gun violence is everybody’s problem.

Carrying multi-colored signs that read Chicago violence ’14, 387 shot & killed” and 2229 shot & wounded,” “Stop The Flow of Guns, “#2015nomorekiling,” “Peace,” and “Break the Cycle of Violence,” the marches boarded three school buses at Saint Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Place, and left for the Loop shortly after 10 a.m. Others met them at the Tribune Tower.

“Last year in Chicago, 387 people have been murdered, 2,229 have been shot and wounded in Chicago,” Father Pfleger told reporters. “’That is unacceptable. That is sick. That’s a scandal for our city.

“We’re here today to remember all of those who lost their loves because it’s just not numbers. Those are individuals Those are peoples’ sons..daughters…mothers…fathers…cousins. These are our brothers and sisters in the city of Chicago. We all are 387 people last year…not just those biological families. Chicago lost them…, and Chicago is less of a city today because of the lives we lost last year.

“We’re here to remember them, but we’re also here to say we want to break this cycle of violence in Chicago. Chicago we’re better than this. We’re better than shooting and killing. We’re better than living in fear every single day in our neighborhoods. We are a better city, and it’s time to act like we say we are instead of the shooting and the killing that is going on,” Pfleger said.

Pfleger said he held the march downtown “because this is all of Chicago’s problem…, and we’ve got to stop it. We’ve got to break the cycle. We’re calling on everybody in Chicago to do what ever we have to do to end the violence” he said includes more education, greater opportunity, “stop the access of guns…stop this love affair with guns in Chicago.

“ Let’s break this cycle. Let’s create a city where our children can come to peace day in and day out, go to school, come home, sit on the porch, go to the park and not be afraid to die or to be wounded,” Pfleger said.

Pam Bosley, the mother of slain Terrell Bosley, 18, who was shot and killed April 4, 2006 outside of a church at 116th and Halsted, called for an end to the cycle of violence. “No more shooting. No more burying our children. No more for 2015…..”

Lamar Johnson said, “As the youth of this city, we are here to break the cycle of violence in Chicago. Not all youth are in Chicago are killing each other. Not all youth are out shooting, gangbanging and selling drugs. We will be the standard for the rest of our youth in the city to let our youth know you can live positive. You can increase the peace. You can live for God, and you can share love amongst our peers…

“We are here to let this generation know that we’re going to break the cycle in 2015 and we are going to live together in unity and love,” said Johnson.

Senator Kotowski told reporters that 251 young men did not reach their 30th birthday, 106th didn’t reach their 20th birthday and 9 didn’t make it to their 10th birthday. “This is all of our problem. Twenty percent of the guns come from the suburbs. The vast majority come from other states.

“They all start form a legal source and they all end up in the hands of somebody who shouldn’t have the gun. We need to do a better job of protecting our children, our families and our communities from the guns that come into the communities. It’s all of our problem because we all pay for it…lost lives…lost productivity…kids can’t go to college. They can’t exceed their dreams…. When somebody else’s son dies, my son dies…. Any child that dies is a child of mine,” the senator said.

“We need to stand up not just for this moment but in the state of Illinois to make sure our children and families are protected, secure and safe and they are able to live the life that they deserve to live,” Kotowski said.

Tio Hardiman, executive director of the Violence Interrupters, Inc., said, “The young people are the face of violence in Chicago. We need to save more lives. Hopefully, we can strategize and bring all hands on deck (to reduce the violence) as we go into 2015.”

Youth leader Jessica Jones prayed for peace.

Standing on the steps of the old Water Tower, Pfleger was accompanied by Lamar Johnson, who prayed, and Joy McCormick, the mother of Francisco “Frankie” Valenica, 22, who was killed, called for an end to gun violence.

Marching Rob Nichols, who owns the doves, released the doves near the Chicago Tribune towers. Pfleger said this was symbolic of those who lost their lives and to call for peace in 2015.

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.

Youth Guidance and Wells Academy Chart New Course for 2015

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Youth Guidance and Wells Academy Chart New Course for 2015
Creative After-School Programming To Bring Positive Impact to Students & Community

CHICAGO, IL – Wells Community Academy is moving in new directions.  Located in the East Village neighborhood in West Town, the predominately Hispanic high school is changing its image by bringing new learning and enrichment opportunities to students and families in the community.

Youth Guidance, a 90-year-old school-based nonprofit agency, has been a strategic partner of Wells Community Academy for the past three years.  The agency’s Community and After-School Program (CAP) has introduced new art, sport and academic options that keep students learning and safe at the end of the traditional school day.

Daniel Brumbach has been the Youth Guidance Resource Coordinator at Wells since 2012 and says that CAP is positively impacting attendance, behavior, and grades.  Last year, he and other Youth Guidance staff converted an underutilized, basement room into a totally unique recreational space for student skateboarding and mural design classes.  “When you enter the room, there is music playing and students having a great time,” says Brumbach.  “The whole environment says creative freedom.”

Youth Guidance also introduced Freshman Connection at Wells – a six week, summer program designed to help 8th graders become acclimated to high school life prior to the start of their freshman year.  Students receive academic support from the same teachers they will have when they officially enter Wells in the fall.  They also attend field trips and make connections with other incoming freshmen.

CAP is sponsored in part by the 21st Century grant program which offers support to educational services that emphasize easily accessible after-school options and increased parental involvement in schools. The grant helps support and scale programs like Freshman Connection, and will allow Youth Guidance to also offer meals, tutoring, ACT test preparation, assistance with the college application, and financial aid process.

Brumbach says that the activities also help drive school attendance.  “These programs are an incentive so we don’t lose students who might become disengaged,” he says.  “We had one student with fourteen unexcused absences. He would miss regular classes, but show up for CAP because he loves art.  We emphasized that going to class was required to participate and his overall school attendance dramatically improved.”

Despite extremely low incidents of crime or gang activity and solid academic achievement, Brumbach says that Wells still struggles to be considered a school of choice.  The school has capacity for more than 1200 students, but an enrollment of less than 600.   Notably, the surrounding area has undergone a great deal of gentrification in recent years.  Demographics have shifted from a predominately Hispanic working-class to a more affluent middle-class that leans towards private or charter schools.

Brumbach and school administrators believe that improving school/community relations will help increase enrollment and change perceptions.  When Reach Gym opened in the neighborhood, Youth Guidance approached them about teaming up for opportunities for Wells students.  Reach responded by offering space free of charge so that students can learn the art of boxing.  Youth Guidance also began offering English as a Second Language (ESL) programs to parents in the community, even if their children did not attend Wells Academy.

Plans for 2015 include more CAP programming, specially-coordinated parent events, computer literacy offerings, increased collaboration with other groups such as After School Matters and GearUP, and of course, new artistic activities for students.

Brumbach believes that local businesses can also prove to be allies by offering support, internships and job opportunities.  “There’s so much possibility,” he said.  “I see good things ahead.  Youth Guidance is committed to the students here and we’re aiming to put the ‘community’ back in ‘Wells Community Academy.”

More about Youth Guidance: Founded in 1924, Youth Guidance is a leader in outcomes-driven, school-based programs and capacity-building initiatives.  The Chicago-based, nonprofit currently services 14,000 underserved youth in more than 75 public and charter schools in Chicago through a portfolio of comprehensive programs.  The agency’s specific and strategically developed delivery areas are Community & After-School, Counseling & Prevention (including the Becoming A Man and Working on Womanhood programs), and Youth Workforce Development. Ninety percent of students served are low income. More than 95% are African-American and Hispanic/Latino. For more information, call 312-253-4900 or visit http://www.youth-guidance.org.

Could Takin’ It To Another Level Be The Next “Wire”?

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Could Takin’ It To Another Level Be The Next “Wire”?

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Corona Crown Publishing, a Queens based company specializing in urban fiction and non-fiction books releases street legend, Darryl “God” Whiting’s fictional novel series, Takin’ It To Another Level.

Whitings story has been featured in F.E.D.S. magazine and American Justice on A&E. He has also been portrayed in the 1999 film In Too Deep.

Sentenced to life, Whiting sought the help of his son, owner of Corona Crown Publishing, Darryl Whiting Jr., to publish the series.

Hailed by reviewers as a “raw”, “riveting” and the ultimate “revenge fantasy” the series has been compared to “The Wire” by entertainment industry insiders, and while no deal has been made, the novel is picking up buzz among television producers.

Written with conviction and real world scenarios straight from his personal experiences, the novel portrays an unapologetically violent and insightful look into street life and how one savvy and bold young man not only climbs but conquers the gang underworld. There is also vulnerability, the development of Black masculinity and the ultimate disillusion and deception of the pursuit of the American Dream.

The book tour will commence starting in late January, with Darryl Whiting, the son, holding speaking engagements at participating independent bookstores throughout the country.

For more details and/or to order the book, visit www.coronacrownpublishing.com

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Fail Financially in ’14? A Fix For 2015

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Fail Financially in ’14? A Fix For 2015

Ten Resolutions for Better Financial Health

CHICAGO, IL -  Among the top New Year’s Resolutions, for many consumers, are to lose weight and to get their finances in shape. However, when it comes to fixing their finances, most will admit it’s easier said than done. To help consumers get on the road to a better financial future, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests that first you start making a plan to suit your needs.

“Many financial experts list paying off debt, saving money and spending less as priorities for improving personal finances,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “To reach your financial goals in 2015, frugality seems to be the watchword.”

A Google internet search will produce dozens of resolutions and suggestions aimed at improving finances. The trick for individuals is finding those that will work for them in their situations,” adds Bernas.

Here are ten tips from the BBB that may help get your finances in shape:

  • Put together a budget and stick to it – Create a budget that is easy to figure out and follow. Consumers often fail when they become overwhelmed and frustrated by the constraints their budget puts on them.
  • Live within your means – That’s the point of establishing a budget resist the urge to budget for something if you can’t immediately pay for it.
  • Stop impulse buying – Think before you buy, step back take a breath and remember what your ultimate goal is.
  • Take stock of where your money is going – Get reacquainted with your finances. Collect your credit card and bank statements from the past year and take note of where you went overboard. Also, check the status of all your financial accounts, and clearly understand your assets, debts, and monthly cash flow.
  • Use credit cards wisely – Bring your balances down to zero every month. Have one card you use for everyday purchases paying that balance monthly and another for revolving debt. Another alternative is to use cash only.
  • Get out of debt – Pay off the highest interest balances first, while making minimum payments on other debts.
  • Build an emergency fund – Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Some experts suggest a fund of at least $1,000; others recommend three to six months’ worth of expenses.
  • Automate as much as possible – Recurring monthly payments can help avoid missing payments that may have a negative impact on your credit score.
  • Save– If you are not currently saving, start with $10 per week into an employer-sponsored or individual retirement account. If you are saving plan to increase all savings by 15 percent.
  • Give to charity – Donating an hour’s worth of pay can have a bigger impact on a community or for an organization than volunteering an hour or time. Donating may also have a positive impact on how much you pay in taxes.

Bernas noted “Whatever method you chose for getting and keeping your finances in check, make sure it’s a concrete plan; and should you have a minor bump in the road see it as just that ‘a minor bump’. Don’t let that derail your overall plan.”

For more information on scams, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Fioretti to Release Public Safety Platform

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Fioretti to Release Public Safety Platform

Alderman Bob Fioretti, candidate for Chicago Mayor, will release his public safety platform today at 11:00 a.m., which includes a comprehensive strategy on addressing the immediate crime issues on our streets such as guns, police response times, and staffing; as well as the need to take a holistic approach to making our streets safer.

Said Fioretti: “We need a mayor who sees value in our neighborhoods and respects the people who live there. We need a mayor who can envision a better future and can provide the required leadership to get us there. As mayor, my priorities will be safe streets and strong neighborhoods. I will take both immediate actions and major long-range efforts necessary to achieve these goals.”

Fioretti will release his public safety platform today, January 5, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., at Fioretti for Mayor Campaign Headquarters, 1043 W. Madison, Suite 300.

A copy of the policy will be posted on Fioretti’s website, www.BobFioretti.com, at 8:30 a.m.

IEMA Encourages People to Resolve to be Prepared in 2015

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on IEMA Encourages People to Resolve to be Prepared in 2015

Will highlight preparedness, safety topics each month

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Each year, millions of people around the world welcome the start of a new year by making personal resolutions.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are encouraging people to ‘Resolve to be Ready’ for emergencies in 2015, and will offer year-long support to help people attain the goal of better preparedness for themselves, their families and their workplaces.

“While many of us make earnest resolutions aimed at improving some aspect of our lives, our resolve can wane just weeks into the new year,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “We’re going to provide continuing support throughout the year by offering information and tips to help people stick to their resolution. I encourage everyone to join us and ‘Resolve to be Ready’ in 2015.”

Monken said IEMA will focus on a different preparedness or safety topic each month in 2015, including earthquakes, severe weather, pets, school and campus, cyber security and more.

One of the first steps toward emergency preparedness is having an emergency supply kit stocked with basic survival items that are critical during an emergency, such as:

  • One gallon of water per person per day (a minimum of a three-day supply)
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • First-aid kit
  • Battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Items for children, seniors, pets and household members with health or medical needs

IEMA maintains the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop location for preparedness information on a variety of hazards.  In addition to information about steps people can take before emergencies happen, the Ready Illinois website also provides guidance on what to do during and after a disaster.

Preparedness information is also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.

Make 2015 the Year for Quality, Affordable Health Insurance: Vice President Biden

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on Make 2015 the Year for Quality, Affordable Health Insurance: Vice President Biden

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, Vice President Joe Biden wished Americans a Happy New Year, and asked that as we make resolutions to get healthier in 2015, we take the time to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people have already signed up for quality, affordable health care under the law, and there is still time to secure the peace of mind that comes with getting covered. From now until February 15th, you can sign up by logging on to HealthCare.gov, speaking to someone on the phone through the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596 where you can get assistance in 150 languages, or going in person to an enrollment event in your community.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, January 3, 2015.

Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
Weekly Address
The White House
January 3, 2015

Hello everyone, this is Joe Biden. I want to wish you all a Happy New Year.

I know this is the time of year when we make resolutions to take care of our health, whether it’s joining a gym or eating healthier. But there’s one thing you can do right now that will also make a big difference in your health: that is getting quality, affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Because of that law, access to quality health care is improving. Last year, almost 7 million people signed up for health care coverage under the new law and paid their premiums. And in many cases the cost of health care is less than the cost of your cell phone or your cable bill. In addition, millions more are getting the care that they need through Medicaid that they weren’t getting before.

And because of the new law, people who already had health insurance are also benefitting from additional protections. For example, their insurance companies can’t deny them coverage because of pre-existing conditions, like asthma or diabetes. And they’re able to get — for free — preventive services like mammograms or blood pressure screenings that their doctors ordered for them, saving them a lot of money.

Everyone is beginning to realize what millions of you already know — the Affordable Care Act is working. And we’re just getting started. Because there are millions more of you who can get quality, affordable health care if you sign up before February 15th of this year. That’s now through February 15th.

Now if you don’t have insurance, you can go to HealthCare.gov, where you’ll find a menu of a bunch of different plans and what each plan covers and how much each plan costs. All you have to do is just pick one. The best one that fits your family’s health care needs and your family’s budget.

If you don’t want to go to HealthCare.gov and you want to talk to somebody on the phone instead, you can call, I’m going to give you the number now, you can call 1-800-318-2596. From this moment on, you can call any time of the day, any day of the week. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And for folks listening today whose family and friends may not speak English: let them know that there are translators available in over 150 language to guide them through the process.

And if you’re not comfortable going online or speaking on the phone, and you want to sit down with an individual to help you through this, you can find out where to go as well. Because in every community, at local libraries or community health centers, people are there to help. All you have to do is go on HealthCare.gov, type in where you live, and you can find out exactly where to go to sit down with a person who will help you walk through the process.

But here’s the really important point I want to make. If you don’t sign up by February 15th of this year — with only a very few exceptions — if you don’t sign up by the 15th of this year, you’re going to have to wait until 2016 to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

And even those of you who already have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, you can also go on HealthCare.gov to find a plan that might offer more benefits or be more affordable in price for you. You might even qualify for additional help paying for the insurance you choose because your income isn’t what it was last year.

Now I’m sure some of you already heard from your friends and neighbors who’ve signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act what I hear all around the country. I hear it provides peace of mind that someone you love will be covered if God-forbid something happens. It provides security, so if you have a bad strain in your ankle or your back and you don’t have the money to get treatment, you can now get the treatment rather than wait, put it off, and end up with a chronic condition. And it provides a lot of freedom, and choice, and opportunity — so you can switch jobs or move to another city without the fear that you’ll lose out on the health insurance with the company you now have it with. And what I’m hearing most is how pleased and excited people are about how affordable it is.

An awful lot of people who didn’t think they could or would find quality, affordable health insurance are actually able to get assistance from the government to help them pay for their health care plans at a cheaper rate. Let me give you an example. A family of four with an income of around $95,000, they can still get a subsidy to lower their health care premiums.

But maybe most importantly, what I hear is that we have finally ended the debate in this country of whether or not health insurance is a right or a privilege. We think everyone in America has a right to have adequate health care insurance. And the Affordable Care Act gives them that right.

So sign up. And spread the word. Protect your health — not only for your sake, but for the sake of your families.

Thanks for listening, and Jill and I wish you again a happy and healthy New Year. God bless you, and may God protect our troops.

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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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