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Archive for June 2nd, 2015

Madigan Calls on U.S. Department of Education to Stop Scammers Targeting Millions of Student Loan Borrowers

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Urges U.S. Department of Education to Implement Nonprofit Credit Counseling Certification Program to Assist Borrowers

CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called on the U.S. Department of Education to initiate a program to provide certified nonprofit credit counselors for the millions of student loan borrowers seeking help to repay their federal student loans. Madigan said more qualified sources for help are needed as an industry of scam operations are increasingly targeting and exploiting borrowers for profit.

In a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan, Madigan urged the Department to adopt a program to certify nonprofit credit counselors who can serve as legitimate sources of help for borrowers in need of counseling on their repayment options, in particular borrowers who are in default. Madigan pointed to the counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the wake of the housing crisis that provided extensive support and resources for struggling homeowners.

“Student loan borrowers have nowhere to turn right now to access legitimate information and assistance about their repayment options,” Attorney General Madigan said. “It is critical that we provide these borrowers a lifeline before they make costly mistakes by turning to scam artists for help.”

Madigan’s letter comes amid a growing need for help among the millions of student loan holders nationwide who are not receiving adequate counseling from their student loan servicers to manage their debt load effectively. As student loan debt has climbed to $1.2 trillion nationwide, an industry of scam artists has taken notice. Student loan debt relief scams advertise on the radio, the internet and television, offering “free” consulting help to dramatically reduce payments or forgive student loan debt. Borrowers have paid as much as $1,200 to these scam artists in exchange for little to no help with their repayment options.

Last year, Madigan became the first state attorney general to file suit against student loan debt relief scams and has filed a total of seven lawsuits seeking to shut down operations across the country.

Madigan said the tactics of this emerging industry of scams are similar to what took place in the mortgage industry following the housing market’s collapse. The ads often allude to affiliations with the federal government and suggest they can help student loan borrowers navigate government bureaucracy when seeking repayment plans. What these advertisements fail to disclose is their assistance will cost the borrower an upfront fee ranging between $650 to $1,250 and additional ongoing monthly payments. Borrowers receive little to no assistance in return.

With student loan debt now the second largest source of consumer debt in the country, Madigan said it is critical that the federal government respond and initiate a program to certify counselors to properly advise the estimated 40 million Americans who hold outstanding student loan debt.

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. She is leading a multistate investigation into the student loan provider Sallie Mae, now Navient, and she has pursued litigation against national for-profit colleges for fraudulent marketing practices. Madigan has also testified about the role of states in higher education before the U.S. Senate, including a call for stronger protections under federal law for student loan borrowers.

In addition to her lawsuits against student loan debt relief scams, Madigan created a new helpline within her office to assist student loan borrowers. Madigan’s Student Loan Helpline, 1(800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1 (800) 964-3013), is answered by trained staff in her office who can assist borrowers understand their repayment options and how to avoid default. Callers to the helpline can also file complaints with Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau if they have problems with their loans or complaints of similar student loan debt relief scams. Information about the helpline and legitimate student loan debt relief can also be found on Madigan’s website.

Cook County President Preckwinkle Launches New County-Wide Voice Response System

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s Bureau of Technology launched a new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to answer phones County-wide.

The new system replaces several older automated systems and consolidates multiple County agencies onto a single platform. The system also provides new IVR service to several offices, including the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Social Service Department under the Office of the Chief Judge.

“This is a way for Cook County to ensure that even those without access to the internet are able to take advantage of automated 24/7 services,” Preckwinkle said. “This system will also increase productivity as County employees will no longer need to redirect phone calls to other departments. Callers will be connected to the proper person automatically, which will free up employee resources for other tasks.”

The IVR system is expected to handle approximately seven million calls per year. The new system has the capacity to speak several languages. It can also be programmed for new functions and will be able to integrate with future technology.

Another advantage of the new IVR system is that it operates on modern server technology which is faster, more agile and increases overall system reliability. In the event of an outage, a backup system at an off-site Cook County Data Center will instantly take over, and callers will not experience any gap in services.

Dr. Willie Wilson Throws Hat Into Presidential Ring

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Vows to forgive all student loans

By Chinta Strausberg

Former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who heads a multi-million dollar business, Monday officially announced his bid for the presidency vowing to forgive student loans, mandate all seniors ride pubic transportation free, free health care for those over 65 who are indigent and put prayer back into the schools “where it belongs.”

With the campaign slogan of “We Still Believe,” his wife, Janette, by his side and flanked by a number of mostly African American ministers including Rev. Dr. Stephen Thurston and long time friend, F. Scott Winslow, Dr. Wilson said he’s entering the race because “I believe the common man and woman in this country need a candidate they can identify with.

“The greatness of America is not in Democratic or Republican. The greatness of America is in we the people. It can no longer be Republican against Democrat, citizen against police, white against black, rich against poor. We must become what our country was founded for…a place where people can be free to pursue liberty, life and happiness and justice…truly one nation under God,” he said.

“I am a Democrat, but I’m not too keen on party labels,” Wilson said. “Make no mistake. I am running as the anti-tax Democrat. I am against putting more taxes on hard-working people who are doing all they can to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

“I’m running for president because I care about America,” he said. “I’m running to put America first.” Wilson said he is running as the “people’s candidate, and I’m running on the people’s agenda for a strong America.”

“I have heard the cries of despair,” he told a slew of reporters during a press conference held at the Chicago Baptist Institute International, 5120 So. King Dr. “The people are in pain. Voters…feel like they have been tossed aside by leaders of both political parties.

“I have looked over the field of other candidates, and I don’t believe there is a one who really understands what the people want and what the people need,” he said. He thinks they have personal agendas. “I believe all of the other candidates are running to take care of their own needs…not the needs of the people,” he charged.

“I believe America has lost its way. Many of our citizens have lost trust in our government,” Wilson said. “They have also lost confidence in most political leaders” pointing to the opinion polls he says prove it.

Saying there is an aura of distrust among American citizens and the police, Dr. Wilson said, “too many police officers don’t seem to trust the very citizens they are sworn to serve and protect, but citizens and police must abide by the law.”

If elected, Wilson vowed to look at both sides of this issue but first he said, “We’ve got to bring some respect to the table. I will direct our Justice Department to work with the local police and community leaders to develop comprehensive plans to end the violence.”

He vowed to go into under-served communities “that are riddled with violence and show them that their government cares about them and that their government will help them if they want to help themselves.

Wilson said Americans want a stronger economy coupled with more jobs and an equal access to those jobs and the contracts. “Our people also demand equal pay for women who do the same work as men. We must put America first.”

He pledged to invest more funds needed to grow additional small businesses, which would create more jobs.

Saying Americans want better education for their children, Dr. Wilson said people are also demanding, “that we fix our crumbling roads, tracks and bridges. That alone will create thousands of jobs right here at home.”

And, more than anything, Wilson said people want honesty and integrity among those they send to office. ‘That is what they will get with me. No tricks. No double talk…. Just plain talk about our problems and just plain talk about how we will solve our problems together as a nation.”

Saying America’s greatness still lies in the people, Wilson, who is a deacon, said, “I believe the reason the people lost faith is because the U.S. itself has lost its way and its own faith. We need to restore that faith today. We need to re-ignite the American dream. I am proof of the American dream.

“I know all about flipping burgers at McDonalds I’ve done it. “ Now, Wilson said, he owns a multi-million dollar global business “that came about through hard work and never giving up.”          He vowed to use his business experience “to help bring America back to the top.”

On crime, Wilson said he would demand reform of the nation’s criminal justice system” because “every man, woman and child in this country need to know that their lives really matter. We must re-brand and reform our nation so that we can be the greatest country that we can be. We must bring into a new golden age of peace and prosperity.”

On the problems of other nations, Wilson warned, “We cannot continue to be the police of the world and grow our economy at the same time.”

Referring to the many wars America has and is helping to finance, Wilson said they are “an expensive proposition” and that he would put “America first” vowing to “push to reduce our foreign aid.

“I believe we can recover at least $5.5 billion from foreign aid and give a portion of it to rebuilding Ferguson…Baltimore instead of Baghdad.” To pay for his reforms, he would cut the military budget of $786 billion (FY16).

“Military spending is greater than military, $938 billion and Medicare up $351 billion. The interest on that loan alone cost $283 billion along. Health and Human Services is about $79.9 billion, education and housing, urban development is $41 billion.

“We are not going to be fighting religious wars in other countries where we do not belong where people have been fighting since the Abraham days in the bible. We will not be involved in those kinds of wars in America with our armed forces. We will fight the wars that are needed right here at home. America comes first.”

Wilson said cuts from the military budget would bring “some of that money back home for jobs, free education public safety” and improve infrastructure while creating  more small businesses.

Saying he will be the candidate to unite all people, Wilson promised to “serve all the people, not just the chosen few. I will help knock down the walls that divide us and with your help; I know that we can become a united people of this great country. We must re-ignite the American dream in every citizen. We the people will prevail because we the people still believe….”

Wilson said under his administration he would reform education “so that every child who cannot afford it would get a quality education free of charge so that this would lead to a brighter future. We would reduce classroom size, pay teachers more and we would forgive all student loans, and we will put prayer back into schools where it belongs in God we truly trust.”

Wilson said he would direct the Justice Department to work with local police and community leaders to develop a comprehensive plan to end the violence. He vowed to go into those neighborhoods. “We cannot go on like this. Someone has to do something, and I am answering that call today.”

Asked by this reporter what would he do about the Boko Haram group of terrorists who are kidnapping, raping and killing young African girls, Wilson said, “   We have a global economy and America is all the way around the world. First you got to take home first.

“That’s been one of the problems with America. We ran over the world trying to take care of the world when we got the same problems at home. I am committed to home first before we can go beyond home…. We cannot spread ourselves in countries we don’t have an interest in when America is at war within itself….”

Dr. Wilson vowed to privatize government-run businesses “ and recreate more small businesses by lowering taxes for the poor…. We would be using metro programs that partner with corporate America. We would use fair bidding procedures to help small businesses get their rightful share.

“We would help our veterans by allowing our men and women to get quality health care in hospitals and clinics in their own neighborhoods where they live and work, and we would give tax incentives for businesses to stay in our own country. We would not raise taxes on our senior citizens who are over 65-years old…. We would give them free health care who cannot afford it. We still believe in America.”

“I am the peoples choice for president,” he said emphasizing he will be the neighborhood candidate because he lives in the neighborhood.

When asked why not run for alderman or governor, Wilson quipped, “Why not? America has been good to me…. We didn’t lose the mayor because we brought a log of issues to the forefront, and we will not lose this….

“I am not in this to be a lobbyist afterwards…or to make money for myself or to show favor to any particular group or organization…but to help the people….”  I’m living proof of the American dream…,” he said explaining he is running on faith and with the people.

Wilson, who during the special mayoral election received 50,000 votes, is the third Democratic presidential candidate to throw his hat into the ring following popular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders.

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.

First West Nile Virus Positive Mosquito in Illinois for 2015 Reported

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first West Nile virus positive mosquito batch reported in Illinois for 2015.  St. Clair County Health Department employees collected a positive mosquito batch on May 26, 2015, in O’Fallon.

“West Nile virus activity is largely dependent on the weather and with the increased temperatures we’ve been seeing in Southern Illinois, mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus are becoming active,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “We want to remind people not to be complacent.  Take precautions to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around your home.”

Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.  People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

The first West Nile virus positive results in 2014 were a positive bird in Henry County collected on May 29, 2014, and a positive mosquito batch in Madison County collected on May 30, 2014.  Last year, 50 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case.  For the 2014 season, IDPH reported 44 human cases (although human cases are underreported), including four deaths.  No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year.

As temperatures continue to warm up, remember to take some simple precautions to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself from being bitten.  Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.

  • REDUCE exposure – minimize being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.  If you go outside during these times, take precautions.   Even if mosquito numbers seem low, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to transmit the virus.

®    Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

®    Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, such as old tires, buckets and other receptacles, or refresh the water in bird baths, flowerpots and wading pools every couple days.

  • REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • REPORT – report dead birds to your local health department.  In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government about areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found by logging onto www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/west-nile-virus.

Senate, House Pass Raoul’s Pioneering Plan to Reform Policing

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Measure first in the nation to set body cam protocols, implement presidential policing task force recommendations

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) has negotiated and secured passage of a groundbreaking law enforcement reform package that includes standards for the use of officer-worn body cameras. Its approval makes Illinois the first state in the nation to pass legislation codifying many of the recommendations of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which released a report this spring in the wake of widespread concern over police-community relations and racial disparities in officers’ interactions with the public.

“Quickly yet carefully, we crafted a package of reforms that demonstrate a serious commitment to restoring trust between law enforcement and communities,” said Raoul, who has worked since last year on body camera standards and other reforms. “The steps we have taken today are a response to recent, tragic officer-involved deaths but also a public acknowledgement that communities are only truly safe for all their residents when police and the people they serve can trust one another. We know there is much progress to be made on that front, and that was the impetus for this proposal.”

Working with State Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago 34th), who sponsored the legislation in the House, Sen. Tom Bivens (R-Dixon), Rep. John Anthony (R-Morris) and Rep. John Cabello (R-Loves Park), Raoul brought community and civil liberties groups, law enforcement, states’ attorneys and the Attorney General together to negotiate a package that puts Illinois at the forefront of restoring public trust in law enforcement.

“These were difficult but respectful bipartisan negotiations that I think can serve as a model for how we handle many complex issues in state government,” Raoul said.

Senate Bill 1304 implements numerous recommendations of the federal task force by

·        – Requiring independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths

·        – Improving mandatory officer training in areas such as the proper use of force, cultural competency, recognizing implicit bias, interacting with persons with disabilities and assisting victims of sexual assault

·        – Creating a statewide database of officers who have been dismissed due to misconduct or resigned during misconduct investigations

·        – Improving data collection and reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths and other serious incidents

·        – Establishing a Commission on Police Professionalism to make further recommendations on the training and licensing of law enforcement officers

The legislation also prohibits the use of choke holds by police and expands the Traffic Stop Statistical Study, which provides insights into racial disparities in vehicular stops and searches, to include pedestrians whom officers “stop and frisk” or temporarily detain for questioning. Finally, it codifies rules concerning the appointment of special prosecutors.

Illinois is also poised to become the first state with standards and protocols that apply to any of the state’s law enforcement agencies that choose to use body cameras. These policies include:

·     – The cameras must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.

·     – The cameras can be turned off at the request of a crime victim or witness, or when an officer is talking with a confidential informant.

·     – Recordings are exempt from FOIA with some exceptions:

·        Recordings can be “flagged” if they have evidentiary value in relation to a use of force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.

·        “Flagged” recordings may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; however, in certain sensitive situations, such as a recording of a sexual assault, victim consent is required prior to disclosure.

·     – Recordings must be retained for 90 days or, if “flagged,” for two years or until final disposition of the case in which the recording is being used as evidence.

While SB 1304 does not require law enforcement agencies to deploy the small, uniform-mounted recording devices, it does create a competitive grant program for departments to obtain money toward purchasing the cameras. The grants, as well as the legislation’s additional training requirements, will be funded by a $5 increase in fines for traffic violations.

“Improving police-community relations is about making cultural changes over time, and no single technology or policy will bring about the sea change we need,” Raoul said. “That’s why Illinois is taking the lead in implementing a large toolbox of reforms I believe will work together to combat misconduct, misunderstanding and mistrust.”

The reform package passed the House Thursday and the Senate today; it must now go to the governor’s desk for his signature before becoming law.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Marie Therese Dominguez – Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Department of Transportation
  • Sarah Feinberg – Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum – Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science
  • Andrew Viterbi – Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science

President Obama said, “It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals will serve the American people as part of this Administration.  I look forward to working with them.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Marie Therese Dominguez, Nominee for Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Department of Transportation Marie Therese Dominguez serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works at the Department of Defense, a position she has held since 2013.  Prior to this position, she served as Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy for the United States Postal Service from 2007 to 2013.  From 2004 to 2007, Ms. Dominguez was a Partner at Fieldworks, LLC and from 2006 to 2007, she was Senior Advisor to Governor Mark Warner at Forward Together PAC.  Prior to that role, she was the Director of Human Capital and Performance at Resource Consultants, Inc. from 2001 to 2004.  From 2000 to 2001, Ms. Dominguez served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works at DOD.  Previously, she served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Department of Transportation from 1998 to 2000.  From 1997 to 1998, Ms. Dominguez served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel at the White House.  Previously, she was Special Assistant to a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1996 to 1997.  Ms. Dominguez received a B.A. from Smith College and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.

Sarah Feinberg, Nominee for Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation Sarah Feinberg serves as the Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration at the Department of Transportation (DOT), positions she has held since January 2015.  Prior to this role, she was Chief of Staff at DOT from 2013 to 2014.  From 2011 to 2013, Ms. Feinberg was the Policy and Crisis Communications Director at Facebook.  She was the Director of Global Communications and Business Strategy at Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Government from 2010 to 2011.  From 2008 to 2010, Ms. Feinberg served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the White House.  Before that, she was the Communications Director for the House Democratic Caucus and Chairman Rahm Emanuel from 2007 to 2008.  From 2005 to 2006, Ms. Feinberg served as the National Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and as the National/Leadership Press Secretary in the Office of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle from 2003 to 2004.  She also previously served as the Deputy Director of the Senate Democratic Communications Committee.  Ms. Feinberg received a B.A. from Washington and Lee University.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, positions she has held since 2005.  Dr. Richards-Kortum has been Director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies since 2007, Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering since 2014, and Founder of Beyond Traditional Borders since 2006.  She was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in 2002 and 2006.  Dr. Richards-Kortum is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She is a past member of the National Academies Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards and was an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Richards-Kortum is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Optical Society of America, and the National Academy of Inventors.  She is the recipient of the Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education, the Presidential Young Investigator and Presidential Faculty Fellow awards from the National Science Foundation, and the Chester F. Carlson Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.  Dr. Richards-Kortum received a B.S. from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Andrew Viterbi, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science Dr. Andrew Viterbi is Presidential Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, a position he has held since 2004.  He is also President of the advisory and investment firm The Viterbi Group, LLC, a position he has held since 2000.  Dr. Viterbi held various positions at Qualcomm Incorporated, which he co-founded in 1985, including Vice Chairman from 1985 to 2000 and Chief Technical Officer from 1985 to 1996.  He co-founded LINKABIT Corporation in 1968 and served as President from 1980 to 1983 and Executive Vice President from 1969 to 1980.  Dr. Viterbi was a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1963 to 1973.  He published the Viterbi algorithm in 1967.  Dr. Viterbi is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served on the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California.  He has received numerous awards which include: the John Fritz Medal in 2011, the IEEE Medal of Honor in 2010, the National Medal of Science in 2007, and the Franklin Medal for Electrical Engineering in 2005.  Dr. Viterbi received an S.B. and S.M. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

An Apology For Shakespeare: Ground-Breaking Book Wakes Readers Up to Knowledge & Wisdom Found in Poetry

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
S.A. Joseph’s ‘An Apology For Shakespeare’ has a two-fold goal; to encourage readers to embrace the study and wisdom of poetry, while showcasing Shakespeare as the craft’s greatest ever advocate. Joseph describes his work best, as “a humble attempt to show that there is a need of awareness about Poetry in our life”.

Bangalore – In the synopsis of his new book, S.A. Joseph poses a pertinent and hugely thought-provoking question; if you suddenly bumped into William Shakespeare, what would you talk about? It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to conclude that most don’t enough about the great master’s work to even be able to hold a basic conversation with him.

To that end, Joseph has written and released ‘An Apology For Shakespeare’ to encourage all to read, embrace and build a passion for poetry; a literary medium containing thousands of years of inspiration. It’s been hundreds of years since someone has defended poetry, and Joseph is living up to the challenge.


An Apology For Shakespeare is a humble attempt to show that there is a need of awareness about Poetry in our life.

Study of poetry and its manifold forms need to be encouraged. It voices against the negative and indifferent attitude to virtues and good qualities. This book aims to create a conscience among the people about the vanishing values and ideals from many of us. The study of classics is significant in this end as they provide much knowledge and wisdom and have grave and serious themes.

If you meet William Shakespeare all of a sudden, unexpectedly, in front of you and he is ready to talk to you, what all topics would be coming up on?

The author addresses William Shakespeare whom he considers to be one of the greatest poet of all time, He seeks help to counter the vices and he expresses his weaknesses to do the same. He tells many topics to the great Master of Arts.

“Poetry is of course still very popular and widely-read, but it’s a format that is certainly dying,” explains Joseph, currently serving as Head Master of a Bangalore school. “I want to empower people to read poetry both old and new, to carefully study its themes and extract wisdom from them that will guide them in life.”

Continuing, “It’s also vital to show Shakespeare off for who he really was – a storyteller of his time who in himself has become timeless. With many of his works being turned into movies, many people have lost touch with who the man really was, as well as his transformational impact on the literary world as a whole.”

‘An Apology For Shakespeare’, from Notion Press, is available now: http://amzn.to/1FDfvT9.

About the Author:

S.A.JOSEPH was born on 25.05.1971.He was the fifth child of Mr.A.M.JOSEPH and Mrs.V.C.ALEYKUTTY. They are from a lower middle class farmer’s family of PAYYAVOOR village, Cannanore Distt, Kerala state, India. He did his schooling at SACRED HEART HIGH SCHOOL, Payyavoor, Cannanore. He studied his pre degree course at SACRED HEART MOUNT MONASTERY, Kottayam, Kerala. He won his graduation studies from PAYYANNUR COLLEGE, Payyannur, Cannanore. He is a post graduate in English Literature with a Teaching Degree in Education. He is presently working as the Head Master of a school in Bangalore. He is married to Mrs.MINIMOL.K.I and blessed with two children, Master MILAN SHAJI and Miss.SONAL SHAJI.

New Demos/NAACP Report Reveals How Retail Industry Perpetuates Racial Inequality

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Black and Latino Retail Workers Are More Likely to be Underemployed and Underpaid

New York, NY – A new Demos/NAACP report finds that retail employers pay Black and Latino full-time workers just 75 percent of the wages of their white peers, amounting to losses up to $7,500 per year. In The Retail Race Divide: How the Retail Industry is Perpetuating Racial Inequality in the 21st Century, Catherine Ruetschlin, Demos Senior Policy Analyst, and Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Senior Director of the NAACP Economic Department and Executive Director of the NAACP Financial Freedom Center, analyze retail workers’ occupations, earnings and schedules. They show that Black and Latino workers are overrepresented in the positions with the lowest pay and the least stability, and more likely to be among the working poor than their White colleagues.

“Living wage employment opportunities, benefits like health care and investments into retirement, and workplace practices are the essential bedrock for all Americans to be able to work towards an adequate, dignified standard of living,” said Dedrick Asante-Muhammad. “Yet our labor market norms have consistently excluded people of color from accessing those foundations of opportunity.”

“The striking persistence of racial inequities in employment is present in the retail industry and beyond, but these norms do not have to continue,” said Catherine Ruetschlin. “Moving forward requires real commitment on the part of employers to ending discriminatory practices, expanding opportunities, paying living wages and offering stable, adequate hours for all retail workers.

Other key findings include:

• Black retail workers share the attributes of the overall retail workforce, but face worse outcomes: 17 percent of Black and 13 percent of Latino workers live below the poverty line, compared to 9 percent of the retail workforce overall.

• Black and Latino retail workers are underrepresented in supervisory positions like managers or first-line supervisors. Black workers make up 11 percent of the labor force, but just 6 percent of managers. Conversely, Black and Latino retail sales workers are overrepresented in cashier positions, the lowest-paid position in retail.

• Involuntary part-time workers are a large share of the Black and Latino retail workforce. More than 40 percent of Black and Latino part-time retail workers would like full-time work, compared to 29 percent of White part-time employees.

The report also dispels the myth that retail workers are primarily young people without families. More than 90 percent of Black and Latino retail workers are over 20 years old. Half provide at least 50 percent of their household’s income, and about a quarter are the sole earners in their households. Over half of Black employees and 43 percent of Latino employees have some educational experience beyond high school, including those with a college degree.

Ruetschlin and Asante-Muhammad conclude with solutions for retailers to reduce racial inequities by improving employment conditions for all workers in the industry. Policies that protect the rights of workers and amplify their voices on the job can address some of the worst employment practices. Additionally, raising the federal minimum wage will provide decent living standards for hard-working retail employees and their families while reducing the racial wage divide. As this research demonstrates, retail employers have a critical opportunity to commit to ending racially biased outcomes in the industry and to make retail jobs an opportunity for all workers to thrive.

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement Conference

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Will hold a press conference for #ChicagoYouthPeace Conference Wednesday, June 3rd, 9 A.M., at Chicago City Hall, 5th Floor

#ChicagoYouthPeace: Mobilizing, activating and empowering young people, in grades 5-12, to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.

CHICAGO, IL – From June 4th to 6th, Chicago will host the first Chicago International Youth Peace Conference at Chicago Theological Seminary, 1407 E. 60th St, and at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell. Conference leaders and organizers will hold a press conference on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 9AM, outside the mayor’s office on the 5th floor of Chicago’s City Hall, 121 N LaSalle St.

Press Conference Speakers

Jessica Disu, @FMSupreme: Chicago’s Jessica Disu (FM Supreme) uses language as a tool for positive change. She’s an international performing poet, mc, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” She has shared the stage with Common, MC Lyte, Lupe Fiasco, KRS One, and Boys II Men. Jessica has produced and hosted dozens of youth led events and forums for the past five years.

Richard Taylor, @TrulyTaylorMade: Author and motivational speaker Richard Taylor hails from Chicago, IL. Richard dealt with insecurity, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness that resulted from being bullied and ridiculed in his childhood. Now, at the age of 27, Richard is a nationally recognized best selling author and speaker. He is on a mission to be one of the influential voices for his generation and the generations to come. Richard stars in a motivational YouTube series, “Getting Over The Hump,” and wrote the books “Unashamed” & “Between The Dream.” His goal is to inspire the masses to tap into their inner potential to create the change they want to see.

Page May, @may20p: Page May is a Chicago-based youth organizer with We Charge Genocide (@ChiCopWatch). She is one of the 8 youth delegates who traveled to the United Nations and the lead author of the shadow report submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture. She is currently organizing the youth-centered campaign, #ChiStops, to challenge stop-and-frisk in Chicago (@ChiStopsWCG). She has the privilege of working with the elementary school students of Village Leadership Academy. They have co-organized several actions against police violence, i.e. the Reclaim MLK march, Stephon Watts Memorial and Freedom Ride, and Rally for Reparations. Currently, she is working to launch Assata’s Daughters, a new grassroots organizing collective for Black women in Chicago.

Ethan “Ethos” Viets-Van Lear, @EthosIII: Poet, Organizer, and Prison Abolitionist born and raised on the Northside of Chicago. Ethan’s work focuses on abolition through transformative/re-distributive justice work in the form of Peace Circle Keeping as an alternative to punitive punishment practices. Ethan also does environmental work in his community with an organization called LETS GO Chicago. He is currently enrolled at UIC in the College of Education. Ethan recently traveled with a delegation of young people (We Charge Genocide) to the United Nations Committee Against Torture to charge the Chicago Police Department with torture.

The lead organizing group for the conference is Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, along with a coalition of faith-based groups and individuals led by Jessica Disu (@FMSupreme), who was recently chosen by Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the city’s “Summer of Faith and Action” program.

“If you’re looking for solutions to violence in Chicago and around the world, you should look to the young people who are the most disproportionately affected by it,” says Jessica Disu of Chicago International Youth Peace Movement. “The message of the Chicago International Youth Peace Conference is, if you want young people to put the guns down, you need to give them something else to pick up. Our goal is to mobilize, activate and empowering youth to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.”

In March, Jessica Disu and the group she founded, Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, partnered with ABC 7 Chicago to write and perform in “Still Believe, Yeah” a Public Service Announcement to promote peace and encourage conversations about nonviolence and hope: http://abc7chicago.com/entertainment/fm-supreme-launches-still-believe-psa-promoting-peace/539810/

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, a peer-to-peer mentoring and youth leadership advocacy group, empowers, inspires and activates youth and young adult voices for nonviolence and social change. Our mission is to creatively promote peace and nonviolence through the arts, mentoring, civic engagement, and youth led and young adult facilitated programming.

Full conference press release, schedule, presenter bios and logo: http://tinyurl.com/ChiYouthPeacePress

NAACP Statement on the Passing of Beau Biden

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, MD — On Saturday, May 30, Vice President Joe Biden announced the passing of his son, Beau Biden, who succumbed to brain cancer last night.  The former Delaware Attorney General’s legacy was that of service. He was a major in the Delaware National Guard and an Iraq War veteran.  And as a young lawyer, he produced instrumental work in war-torn Kosovo. The 46-year-old leaves behind a wife and two children.

Vice President Joe Biden is a lifetime member of the NAACP and spoke fondly of his family most recently at the Detroit Freedom Fund dinner and past NAACP National Conventions. The NAACP joins the Vice President and the nation in extending our deepest condolences for his loss.

President and CEO Cornell William Brooks:

“There is no greater loss than losing a child, husband and father, and this weekend the Biden family have lost all three. Beau Biden’s service to the first state of Delaware and the Armed Services exemplify his patriotic sacrifice.   The NAACP extends our deepest and most prayerful sympathies to Vice President Joe Biden, his family and our during this difficult time.”

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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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