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Archive for June 17th, 2015

Comptroller Warns: Most Payments Stop July 1 Without Budget Deal

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
No Budget Deal, No Checks For Those Who Can Least Afford to Miss Them

By Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger

As the state’s Chief Financial Officer, I manage the state’s checkbook. This can be quite a challenge in the State of Illinois where we are nearly $6 billion behind in paying the state’s bills.

It will get much worse if the General Assembly and the Governor don’t reach a budget agreement the next 2 ½ weeks.

Faced with the very real possibility we will enter the new fiscal year July 1 without a budget, I have been meeting with staff and my legal team in recent weeks to create a contingency plan and identify the ramifications for the state.  The Illinois Constitution is very clear that without appropriation authority, I will be unable to carry out the core function of my office and ensure that the state meets its financial obligations.

There are provisions that will allow me to pay some bills. We will make the state’s debt and pension payments. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Assistance for the Aged, Blind and Disabled Programs will continue. And we can keep making payments not tied to a budget appropriation, like federal grants that simply pass through the state for review.

But nearly all other payments will stop on July 1. There will be very real consequences for taxpayers and organizations across Illinois – and sadly, it will most hurt those who can least afford it:

* Nonprofits and small businesses – those that can least afford it – will lose opportunities for expedited payments.

* Medicaid payments will stop.

* State employees will miss their first paycheck on July 15, and then again on July 31. They will be expected to show up for work with no idea of when they’ll be paid.

* School Aid payments will be delayed if the impasse continues to August 10.

* And vendors will eventually see their payments stop. In a sad testament to our fiscal situation, vendors are already waiting weeks for payment – so they will not immediately notice that bills in the new fiscal year are not being processed.

This doesn’t need to happen. I implore the General Assembly to avoid causing this unnecessary hardship and work with the Governor to pass a balanced budget.

It is not acceptable to move forward with the budget approved by the General Assembly that is $3.5 billion short of funds. It is that kind of half-baked spending plan that put us in this position in the first place.

It is essential that we enact structural reforms that will make Illinois more competitive and grow our tax base, because ultimately, that is the way to dig out of this mess. We have to expand our tax base to meet our obligations, and stop shaking down taxpayers every time there is a budget shortfall.

I do understand the importance of identifying revenue to fill the state’s existing budget hole. But as we’ve seen before, more revenue without reforms will do nothing to address our long-term challenges.

I come from the private sector, and I have been stunned and disappointed by the inactivity and needless theater in Springfield. I am her to remind all involved that this isn’t a game to be won or lost – their rhetoric, posturing, and decisions have grave implications on people and communities across the state.

So far, they have failed at their jobs, and their failure prevents me from doing my job.


Image was created by the Illinois Office of the Comptroller

Immigrant Families to Rally on Father’s Day Against Detention, Deportation

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
On this year’s father’s day, family members of individuals currently detained and facing deportation proceedings speak out against ICE’s continued detention and separation of families.

Family members, friends, and allies of parents who are spending father’s day in immigration detention and deportation will gather in front of the Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to bring attention to the continued suffering of Chicago families separated by harsh and unfair immigration enforcement practices.

Individuals currently in deportation proceedings and family members of people locked in Chicago-area detention centers, allies and supporters will gather Thursday, June 18th, 11:00 A.M., in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chicago office, 101 W. Congress Parkway.

This weekend, over 34,000 individuals will spend father’s day locked in a detention center away from their children and families in the United States. In Chicago, men like Manuel Roman, will languish in one of the 250 detention facilities set up across the country to detain undocumented immigrants.  Highlighted will be the stories of three Chicago-area fathers currently detained and in deportation proceedings, including Jose Adan Servin who qualifies for a special U-visa but still remains in deportation proceedings at risk of being separated from his U.S. citizen children. Their family members and children will join community members to denounce the continued use of immigrant detention centers to keep families apart in Chicago and across the country.

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a Chicago-based, undocumented led, community group organizing against immigration detention and deportation.

“Throw the School Gates Open to Girls Everywhere”: Op-Ed by First Lady Michelle Obama

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Op-Ed by First Lady Michelle Obama

Right now, more than 62m girls around the world are out of school — a heartbreaking injustice that deprives these girls of the chance to develop their potential. Too often, young women face insurmountable barriers to attend school: unaffordable school fees; early and forced marriage and pregnancy; and societal beliefs that girls are simply less worthy of an education than boys.

This is not just a moral issue — it is a serious public health issue: girls who attend secondary school marry and have children later, have lower rates of maternal and infant mortality and HIV/Aids, and are more likely to immunise their children. It is a national security issue, as education is one of the best weapons we have in the fight against violent extremism. And girls’ education is an urgent economic issue. Studies show that each additional year a girl attends school can increase her earning power by 10 to 20 per cent, and that sending more girls to secondary school can boost a country’s entire economy.

But for me, this is not just about policy or economics. This is deeply personal, because I come to this issue not just as a first lady but as a mother.

Every time I meet these girls on my travels abroad, I am blown away by their passion, intelligence and hunger to learn — and I cannot help but see my daughters in them. Like my own girls, each of these young women has the spark of something extraordinary inside. The only difference is that my girls have had the opportunity to develop their promise. So all of us who are parents and grandparents need to ask ourselves whether we would ever accept our own precious girls being pulled out of school and married off to grown men at the age of 12, becoming pregnant at 13, confined to a life of dependence and, often times, fear and abuse.

That kind of life is unthinkable for the girls in our lives, so why would we accept this fate for any girl on this planet?

This week I will join Prime Minister David Cameron in London to begin to answer that question, and announce a series of new partnerships between the US and the UK to educate adolescent girls in developing countries around the world.

The UK has long been a global leader for adolescent girls’ education worldwide. America has invested as well, launching an initiative earlier this year called Let Girls Learn, which includes efforts by US Peace Corps volunteers to help communities in developing countries find their own solutions, such as girls’ leadership camps and mentorship programmes.

Our new partnerships build on these efforts, bringing new focus to reach even more adolescent girls across the globe. Among them is an effort of up to $180m over five years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will benefit more than 750,000 girls.

In addition, our development agencies and two of our countries’ leading universities will collaborate on evidence-based research to determine the best ways to educate adolescent girls. And British and American partners will work together to support teacher training, girls’ leadership camps, and other community-based programmes in developing countries.

Combined, these efforts total nearly $200m — but, given the scope of this challenge, even that is nowhere near sufficient. Girls’ education is a global issue that requires a global solution. That’s why, in March, I travelled to Japan and stood with Akie Abe, the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as we announced a similar partnership between the US and Japan to help girls worldwide attend school.

I intend to use my remaining time as first lady — and beyond — to rally leaders across the globe to join us in this work. Because every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.

The writer is the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

First Meeting Between U.S. Attorney General Lynch and Mexican Attorney General Gómez González

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Attorneys General of the United States and Mexico Agree to Boost Bilateral Collaboration

In their first meeting since assuming their current positions, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch of the United States and Attorney General Arely Gómez González of Mexico reviewed the current law enforcement agenda between the two countries and pledged to work together to fight transnational crime, including drug trafficking organizations, fraud and financial crime, and human trafficking and smuggling.

During the meeting, which was held in the offices of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., both officials agreed to begin a new push for collaboration between the two nations in the context of reciprocity and respect.

“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to host this historic meeting, and to reaffirm our partnership with the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “Attorney General Gómez González and I are committed to working closely to fight transnational crime, whatever form it takes – whether trafficking in drugs, or trafficking in persons; whether violent gangs, or financial fraudsters.  Together, we will build on the strong record of cooperation between our two countries to advance the common mission that our nations share.”

The Attorneys General discussed the process of institutional transformation that Mexico’s justice system is undergoing, with the entry into force of the New System for Criminal Justice, as well as other reforms designed to move towards a modern Attorney General’s Office.

“We are changing the institution,” said Attorney General Gómez González.  “We want modern, transparent law enforcement that guarantees full respect for human rights and is based on technical, scientific investigations which produce results.  That is how we will strengthen public confidence.”

Attorney General Lynch was joined by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Criminal Division and Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division and Counselor for International Affairs.

Those from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office who participated in the meeting included Deputy Attorney General José Alberto Rodríguez Calderón of Legal and International Affairs, Deputy Attorney General Felipe de Jesús Muñoz Vázquez, Specializing in Organized Crime, Deputy Attorney General Eber Omar Betanzos Torres of Human Rights, Crime Prevention and Community Services, and Chief Director Tomás Zerón de Lucio of the Criminal Investigation Agency.

Source: Department of Justice

Jobs Rebuild America Announcement at the Urban League of Essex County

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Urban League leaders mark the 2nd anniversary of the landmark Jobs Rebuild America initiative with announcement of a $2 million, multi-year expansion at the Urban League of Essex County

Local elected officials and past participants in ULEM employment programs are expected to participate.

Event Date:

Thursday, June 18, 2015 – 14:00 to 16:00


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Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate; President Nominates Two to Serve on the U.S. District Courts

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Nominations Sent to the Senate:

John Morton, of Massachusetts, to be Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, vice Mimi E. Alemayehou.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an Assistant Secretary of State (African Affairs), to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation for the remainder of the term expiring September 27, 2015, vice Johnnie Carson.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an Assistant Secretary of State (African Affairs), to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation for a term expiring September 27, 2021.  (Reappointment)

President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States District Courts

President Obama nominated Judge Brian R. Martinotti and Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to serve on the United States District Courts.

“These individuals have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to serve as judges on the federal bench,” said President Obama. “I am confident they will serve the American people with distinction from the District Court bench.”

Judge Brian R. Martinotti: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Judge Brian R. Martinotti has served as a Judge on the Superior Court of New Jersey since 2002, where he currently serves in the civil division and is one of the state’s three multicounty litigation judges handling mass torts. During his tenure on the bench, he also has been assigned to preside over the special environmental, affordable housing, and family law dockets. Previously, from 1987 to 2002, Judge Martinotti worked at the law firm of Beattie Padovano, LLC, where he was elevated to partner in 1994. While at Beattie Padovano, Judge Martinotti also served as a Councilmember for the Borough of Cliffside Park from 1991 to 2002 and took on various roles for other towns as municipal public defender, prosecutor, and tax attorney. He began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger M. Kahn of the New Jersey Tax Court from 1986 to 1987. Judge Martinotti received his J.D. cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1986 and his B.S. from Fordham University in 1983.

Robert F. Rossiter, Jr.: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
Robert F. Rossiter, Jr., is a partner at Fraser Stryker PC LLO in Omaha, Nebraska, where he specializes in labor and employment litigation, primarily in federal court. He joined the law firm as an associate in 1983, was made a shareholder in 1987, and has served on the firm’s Management Committee since 2011. Prior to joining Fraser Stryker, Rossiter served as a law clerk to the Honorable C. Arlen Beam of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska from 1982 to 1983. Rossiter is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and is the immediate past State Chair of that organization. He also is the President-Elect of the Nebraska State Bar Association. Rossiter received his J.D. cum laude from Creighton University School of Law in 1981 and his B.S. from Purdue University in 1978.

ISBE and Teacher Unions to Recognize Award-Winning Educators at Luncheon

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education will join the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers in honoring top educators from across the state during a luncheon Thursday, June 18, at the Marriott Bloomington-Normal Conference Center.

The educators were chosen as best in their field of expertise by professional education organizations and other groups and agencies. For a complete list of honorees and for more information, go to http://www.isbe.net/toy/pdfs/Educator-lunch-recipients15.pdf

Exemplary Teacher Recognition Award Luncheon

What: ISBE, IEA and IFT to honor outstanding Illinois educators

When: Noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 18, 2015

Where: Marriott Bloomington-Normal Conference Center, 201 Broadway

Avenue, Normal, Illinois

Mobile Device Apps May Open Doors to Hackers, Warns Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL -  Mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, are great tools for handling certain tasks with more convenience. However, risks come with the ease these devices and their apps provide. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that some hackers have created apps or put malware in current apps that can infect phones and mobile devices. If your phone sends email or text messages that you didn’t write, or installs apps that you didn’t download, you could be looking at signs of malware.

“Before you download an app, consider what it does and what you know about who created it,” says Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The app may not be trustworthy if the developer doesn’t provide a website or an email address.”

Watch for the following apps as they collect a lot of personal data:

Activity tracker – These apps allow you track how many steps you’ve taken, what your heart rate is and in some instances allow you to track your runs through GPS. Your username, address, password and potential GPS data is at risk if this data is sent from the tracker to the app unencrypted.

Baby monitor –The fully networked, motion-sensing, HD video-streaming systems use your home Wi-Fi network and certain models can communicate directly with your phone using Bluetooth. Create a strong password on both your network and camera to ensure hackers are kept out.

Blood glucose meter – Certain meters are able to pass along blood glucose test results to a smartphone app to help diabetics manage their condition. If you are using these meters, make sure the app is encrypting the health data that’s being stored, which helps prevent breaches.

Door lock & HVAC adjustments – Being able unlock a door remotely or adjust heat and air conditioning through a home Wi-Fi network is a new luxury some users have when using a connected lock program. Security researchers have successfully hacked into these programs. Some of these programs also consolidate a home’s data on to a single server.

“If you think you have malware on your device, contact customer support for the company that made your device or reach out to your mobile phone carrier for help,” adds Bernas. “You can also install a security app to scan and remove apps if it detects malware.”

How to stay safe on your mobile device:

  • Most public Wi-Fi networks aren’t secure. If a hotspot doesn’t require a WPA or WPA2 password, it’s probably not secure.
  • Use a secure network if you plan on using a mobile app to conduct sensitive transactions like shopping with a credit card or accessing your bank account. Even if the app doesn’t encrypt the information, the network does.
  • Change the settings on your mobile device so that it doesn’t connect automatically to nearby Wi-Fi.
  • Update the apps you’ve installed on your device and the device’s operating system when new versions are available. They often have security patches that protect your information and your device from the latest malware.

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org/chicago, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.

Tell Congress: Debate and Vote on War

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Letters to Editors
From: Council for a Livable World

Later this week, Congress has the opportunity to take action it has conspicuously avoided: debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria.
While America has dropped thousands of bombs, deployed 3,500 troops—with plans to send at least 450 more—and spent billions of dollars in our latest war, Congress has failed to perform its most basic constitutional responsibility: To debate and vote on the war.

But this week, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), are demanding that Congress do its job.  McGovern
They have introduced a bipartisan resolution, H.Con.Res.55, which could force the House of Representatives to debate and vote on the war. Help us work toward getting this resolution passed by e-mailing your Representative today.
Take ACtion Button
If adopted, the legislation would direct the President to withdraw all American military personnel from Iraq by December 31, 2015 unless Congress votes to authorize that use of force.
This piece of legislation could bring our troops home. Take action now!

The right of Congress to declare war is fundamental to our Constitution, yet Congress has avoided taking a stand on our latest war in the Middle East. In addition, Congress holds the power of the purse, and yet the war is costing at least $9 million per day without congressional approval. Congress owes it to the thousands of Americans we have put into harm’s way to ensure it is for the right reasons.

The President should not be permitted to wage war without congressional approval; he should not be able to claim outdated authorizations for the use of military force dating to 2001 and 2002 as his cover for war.
Thank you for taking action!
Angela John Signature
Angela Canterbury and John Isaacs
Council for a Livable World

African American Artist Releases New Graphic Novella

Posted by Admin On June - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Graphic Novella by African American Comic Artist Justin Raimey Makes Commercial Debut

Black Streak Entertainment’s latest graphic novel is entitled “Fiji Random: The Garage Maid Special 01 ­- Preparation”

Justin Raimey and bookcover

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Fiji Random Garage Maid Special 01 Preparation is a full­color, special graphic novella installment of the Fiji Random graphic novel series. When 16­-year ­old Fiji Maides crazy cos­playing mom, Fujio, forces her daughter to help with a not so meticulously planned garage sale, Fiji discovers a box with a shocking surprise inside.

This peculiar garage sale features a scatter­brained mom in a helpful French maid costume, a 16­ year-­old girl dressed in her mother’s rather risqué bunny suit, and another teenage girl sporting cat ears. And as if this maid­themed garage sale isnt odd enough, Fiji has to fend off a creep who wants to purchase her bunny costume for his own questionable enjoyment.

Fiji Random‘s comedic storyline is further driven by artist Justin Raimey’s distinctive art style, which fuses Japanese manga­style art with the American art style that most comic readers are familiar with. The all­female cast of characters within this title are multi­-dimensional and their actions and dialogue are very unpredictable. Despite the adorable appearance of Fiji Randoms cast of characters, this titles humor is PG­13 in nature, which adds unexpected shock value to the story itself. Fiji Random Garage Maid Special 01 Preparation is available from the publisher at blackstreakstore.com and is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

The publisher of the Fij Random series, Black Streak Entertainment, publishes teen fiction books, comics, and graphic novels featuring diverse characters of various ethnicities, skin tones, and social backgrounds, including mixed­race characters. Black Streak also produces products like button­pins, stickers and art prints featuring these characters. Every character and published work under the Black Streak Entertainment label are the brainchildren of brothers Justin and Terry L. Raimey.

About Black Streak Entertainment
Black Streak Entertainment seeks to do what modern-­day mainstream youth entertainment refuses to; that is, to represent kids and teens of color through creating appealing characters and storylines that shatter stereotypes and encourage people to think outside of the box. In a world bombarded with monopolized pop­ culture and over­exposed brand names, founders Justin and Terry L. Raimey also seek to bring more variety to the world of comics, teen fiction, animation, and licensed youth products; variety in the cultural appearances of characters and storylines that are relatable to American minorities from all socio-economic classes.

Photo Caption: Artist Justin Raimey and bookcover

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