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Archive for March 16th, 2016

Clinton and Trump Big Winners in Super Tuesday Elections; Rubio loses Florida, Drops Out of Presidential Race

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

In local races, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, State Rep. Ken Dunkin lost their bids for re-election; Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, dropped by Democratic Party leaders, overwhelmingly won over Democrat-picked candidate Michelle Harris.

 

By Juanita Bratcher

Publisher, CopyLine Magazine

 

Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were big winners in Super Tuesday elections. Clinton won in all five states – Illinois, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Missouri. Trump won in four states, Governor John Kasich took Ohio. It was Kasich’s first win in the 2015 primary elections.

After a poor showing in several elections, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio dropped out of the race after being defeated by Trump in his home state of Florida.

After failing miserably and not having gained that much in the way of delegates, Rubio told supporters that “It is clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side.”

Rubio talked about the “politics of resentment”, noting that it would not just leave a “fractured” Republican Party, but will also leave a fractured nation. “They are going to leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other because they have different political opinions.”

When Trump addressed supporters, he talked about bringing the Republican Party together.

“We have to bring our party together,” Trump said. “We have to bring it together.”

Although Trump is the Republican front-runner for president, there are those in his party that are scheming to stop him in his tracks and have put up big money to do so. But Trump has steadfastly survived and is way ahead in delegates.

Frankly, Trump has a rough row to hoe when it comes to the general election, and that’s a concern for many of his Republican colleagues. some even have hopes for a contested convention.

In some articles I wrote sometime ago, “A Donald Trump Presidency? It’s a Moot Issue and Will Never Happen in 2016!” and “Donald Trump’s Front-Runner Status Will Not Secure Him the White House in 2016” , I talked about stumbling blocks that would halt a Trump presidency:

“Trump will not make it to the White House – not as president, maybe as a visitor – because he has insulted large voter blocs and made derogatory comments about several segments of American society, including Hispanics, Blacks, Women, Muslims and Gays; and about some elected officials and media personalities. It would be an uphill struggle for Trump to gain their support, confidence and votes, inasmuch as he has publicly scorned or attacked these groups, creating a storm of negative backlash. Both Trump and his supporters are going to be in for a big surprise.”

Trump’s divisive campaign tone is not good for the country and it will certainly not “Make America Great Again.”

The morning after the March 15, 2016 Super Tuesday election, Trump went on CNN and warned of riots if he was denied the Republican presidential nomination, noting that he represented millions of people (supporters who voted for him). At some of his rallies prior to the election, violence broke out through their tone of hateful rhetoric.

At that time, Democrat Hillary Clinton said Trump is “inciting mob violence” at his rallies, yet, Sarah Palin, one of his staunch supporters who endorsed him for president, told an audience at one of Trump’s rallies that “What we don’t have time for is all that petty, punk-a** little thuggery (such inappropriate language) stuff that’s been going on with these “protesters” who are doing nothing but wasting your time and trying to take away your First Amendment rights, your rights to assemble peacefully,” and accused the media of “being on the thugs’ side.”

As for Clinton, she told supporters that the next president has to be ready to face three big tasks: “First, can you make positive differences in people’s lives? Second, can you keep us safe? Third, can you bring our country together again?’

Clinton added, “When we hear a candidate for president call for the rounding up of 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong.”

In local politics, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who came under heavy criticism for her botched investigation of the LaQuan McDonald shooting, lost her bid for re-election to former prosecutor Kim Foxx, who served as Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle prior to entering the race. She will face Republican Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche, a federal prosecutor for 31 years, in the November General Election.

  • Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown won easily over opponent Michelle Harris, hand-picked by Democratic officials. Party leaders had dropped Brown after first endorsing her.

 

  • Incumbent State Representative Kenneth “Ken” Dunkin (5th District) lost his bid for re-election to Juliana Stratton. Stratton was backed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and labor groups, and President Barack Obama cut a commercial endorsing her.

 

  • House Speaker Michael Madigan was victorious against challenger Jason Gongales who reportedly was funded by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s donors.

Other winners were Patricia Van Pelt (challenger Bob Fioretti); State Rep. Christian Mitchell (challenger Jay Travis, supported by the Chicago Teachers Union); U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth who will face Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk in the General Election; Rep. Brad Schneider won in his 10th Congressional race; and U.S. Representatives Danny Davis, Bobby L. Rush and Robin Kelly were winners.

Dr. Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for 40 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.

President Obama Announces Judge Merrick Garland as his Nominee to the Supreme Court

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Remarks by President Barack Obama in announcing Supreme Court nominee, in its entirety

Rose Garden

President Barack Obama: Good morning.  Everybody, please have a seat.

Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution vests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice — particularly one to succeed Justice Scalia, one of the most influential jurists of our time.

The men and women who sit on the Supreme Court are the final arbiters of American law.  They safeguard our rights.  They ensure that our system is one of laws and not men.  They’re charged with the essential task of applying principles put to paper more than two centuries ago to some of the most challenging questions of our time.

So this is not a responsibility that I take lightly.  It’s a decision that requires me to set aside short-term expediency and narrow politics, so as to maintain faith with our founders and, perhaps more importantly, with future generations.  That’s why, over the past several weeks, I’ve done my best to set up a rigorous and comprehensive process.  I’ve sought the advice of Republican and Democratic members of Congress.  We’ve reached out to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to constitutional scholars, to advocacy groups, to bar associations, representing an array of interests and opinions from all across the spectrum.

And today, after completing this exhaustive process, I’ve made my decision.  I’ve selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness, and excellence.  These qualities, and his long commitment to public service, have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle.  He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.

Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.

Now, in law enforcement circles, and the in the legal community at large, Judge Garland needs no introduction.  But I’d like to take a minute to introduce Merrick to the American people, whom he already so ably serves.

He was born and raised in the Land of Lincoln — in my hometown of Chicago, in my home state of Illinois.  His mother volunteered in the community; his father ran a small business out of their home.  Inheriting that work ethic, Merrick became valedictorian of his public high school.  He earned a scholarship to Harvard, where he graduated summa cum laude.  And he put himself through Harvard Law School by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and, in what is always a painful moment for any young man, by selling his comic book collection. It’s tough.  Been there.

Merrick graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, and the early years of his legal career bear all the traditional marks of excellence.  He clerked for two of President Eisenhower’s judicial appointees — first for a legendary judge on the Second Circuit, Judge Henry Friendly, and then for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.  Following his clerkships, Merrick joined a highly regarded law firm, with a practice focused on litigation and pro bono representation of disadvantaged Americans.  Within four years, he earned a partnership — the dream of most lawyers. But in 1989, just months after that achievement, Merrick made a highly unusual career decision.  He walked away from a comfortable and lucrative law practice to return to public service.

Merrick accepted a low-level job as a federal prosecutor in President George H.W. Bush’s administration.  He took a 50-percent pay cut, traded in his elegant partner’s office for a windowless closet that smelled of stale cigarette smoke.  This was a time when crime here in Washington had reached epidemic proportions, and he wanted to help.  And he quickly made a name for himself, going after corrupt politicians and violent criminals.

His sterling record as a prosecutor led him to the Justice Department, where he oversaw some of the most significant prosecutions in the 1990s — including overseeing every aspect of the federal response to the Oklahoma City bombing.  In the aftermath of that act of terror, when 168 people, many of them small children, were murdered, Merrick had one evening to say goodbye to his own young daughters before he boarded a plane to Oklahoma City.  And he would remain there for weeks.  He worked side-by-side with first responders, rescue workers, local and federal law enforcement.  He led the investigation and supervised the prosecution that brought Timothy McVeigh to justice.

But perhaps most important is the way he did it.  Throughout the process, Merrick took pains to do everything by the book.  When people offered to turn over evidence voluntarily, he refused, taking the harder route of obtaining the proper subpoenas instead, because Merrick would take no chances that someone who murdered innocent Americans might go free on a technicality.

Merrick also made a concerted effort to reach out to the victims and their families, updating them frequently on the case’s progress.  Everywhere he went, he carried with him in his briefcase the program from the memorial service with each of the victims’ names inside –- a constant, searing reminder of why he had to succeed.

Judge Garland has often referred to his work on the Oklahoma City case as, and I quote, “the most important thing I have ever done in my life.”  And through it all, he never lost touch with that community that he served.

It’s no surprise then, that soon after his work in Oklahoma City, Merrick was nominated to what’s often called the second highest court in the land — the D.C. Circuit Court.  During that process, during that confirmation process, he earned overwhelming bipartisan praise from senators and legal experts alike.  Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supported his nomination.  Back then, he said, “In all honesty, I would like to see one person come to this floor and say one reason why Merrick Garland does not deserve this position.”  He actually accused fellow Senate Republicans trying to obstruct Merrick’s confirmation of “playing politics with judges.”  And he has since said that Judge Garland would be a “consensus nominee” for the Supreme Court who “would be very well supported by all sides,” and there would be “no question” Merrick would be confirmed with bipartisan support.

Ultimately, Merrick was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, the second highest court in the land, with votes from a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans.  Three years ago, he was elevated to Chief Judge.  And in his 19 years on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland has brought his trademark diligence, compassion, and unwavering regard for the rule of law to his work.

On a circuit court known for strong-minded judges on both ends of the spectrum, Judge Garland has earned a track record of building consensus as a thoughtful, fair-minded judge who follows the law.  He’s shown a rare ability to bring together odd couples, assemble unlikely coalitions, persuade colleagues with wide-ranging judicial philosophies to sign on to his opinions.

And this record on the bench speaks, I believe, to Judge Garland’s fundamental temperament — his insistence that all views deserve a respectful hearing.  His habit, to borrow a phrase from former Justice John Paul Stevens, “of understanding before disagreeing,” and then disagreeing without being disagreeable.  It speaks to his ability to persuade, to respond to the concerns of others with sound arguments and airtight logic.  As his former colleague on the D.C. Circuit, and our current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, once said, “Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you’re in a difficult area.”

At the same time, Chief Judge Garland is more than just a brilliant legal mind.  He’s someone who has a keen understanding that justice is about more than abstract legal theory; more than some footnote in a dusty casebook.  His life experience –- his experience in places like Oklahoma City –- informs his view that the law is more than an intellectual exercise.  He understands the way law affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly-changing times.  And throughout his jurisprudence runs a common thread -– a dedication to protecting the basic rights of every American; a conviction that in a democracy, powerful voices must not be allowed to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

To find someone with such a long career of public service, marked by complex and sensitive issues; to find someone who just about everyone not only respects, but genuinely likes –- that is rare.  And it speaks to who Merrick Garland is — not just as a lawyer, but as a man.

People respect the way he treats others — his genuine courtesy and respect for his colleagues and those who come before his court.  They admire his civic-mindedness — mentoring his clerks throughout their careers, urging them to use their legal training to serve their communities, setting his own example by tutoring a young student at a Northeast D.C. elementary school each year for the past 18 years.  They’re moved by his deep devotion to his family — Lynn, his wife of nearly 30 years, and their two daughters, Becky and Jessie.  As a family, they indulge their love of hiking and skiing and canoeing, and their love of America by visiting our national parks.

People respect Merrick’s deep and abiding passion for protecting our most basic constitutional rights.  It’s a passion, I’m told, that manifested itself at an early age.  And one story is indicative of this, is notable.  As valedictorian of his high school class, he had to deliver a commencement address.  The other student speaker that day spoke first and unleashed a fiery critique of the Vietnam War.  Fearing the controversy that might result, several parents decided to unplug the sound system, and the rest of the student’s speech was muffled.

And Merrick didn’t necessarily agree with the tone of his classmate’s remarks, nor his choice of topic for that day.  But stirred by the sight of a fellow student’s voice being silenced, he tossed aside his prepared remarks and delivered instead, on the spot, a passionate, impromptu defense of our First Amendment rights.

It was the beginning of a lifelong career — as a lawyer, and a prosecutor, and as a judge — devoted to protecting the rights of others.  And he has done that work with decency and humanity and common sense, and a common touch.  And I’m proud that he’ll continue that work on our nation’s highest court.

I said I would take this process seriously — and I did.  I chose a serious man and an exemplary judge, Merrick Garland.  Over my seven years as President, in all my conversations with senators from both parties in which I asked their views on qualified Supreme Court nominees — this includes the previous two seats that I had to fill — the one name that has come up repeatedly, from Republicans and Democrats alike, is Merrick Garland.

Now, I recognize that we have entered the political season  — or perhaps, these days it never ends — a political season that is even noisier and more volatile than usual.  I know that Republicans will point to Democrats who’ve made it hard for Republican Presidents to get their nominees confirmed.  And they’re not wrong about that.  There’s been politics involved in nominations in the past.  Although it should be pointed out that, in each of those instances, Democrats ultimately confirmed a nominee put forward by a Republican President.

I also know that because of Justice Scalia’s outsized role on the Court and in American law, and the fact that Americans are closely divided on a number of issues before the Court, it is tempting to make this confirmation process simply an extension of our divided politics — the squabbling that’s going on in the news every day.  But to go down that path would be wrong.  It would be a betrayal of our best traditions, and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents.

At a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comity are so often treated like they’re disposable — this is precisely the time when we should play it straight, and treat the process of appointing a Supreme Court justice with the seriousness and care it deserves.  Because our Supreme Court really is unique.  It’s supposed to be above politics.  It has to be.  And it should stay that way.

To suggest that someone as qualified and respected as Merrick Garland doesn’t even deserve a hearing, let alone an up or down vote, to join an institution as important as our Supreme Court, when two-thirds of Americans believe otherwise — that would be unprecedented.

To suggest that someone who has served his country with honor and dignity, with a distinguished track record of delivering justice for the American people, might be treated, as one Republican leader stated, as a political “piñata” — that can’t be right.

Tomorrow, Judge Garland will travel to the Hill to begin meeting with senators, one-on-one.  I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote.  If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.  It will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics — everything.  It will provoke an endless cycle of more tit-for-tat, and make it increasingly impossible for any President, Democrat or Republican, to carry out their constitutional function.  The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer.  Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer.  Our democracy will ultimately suffer, as well.

I have fulfilled my constitutional duty.  Now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs.  Presidents do not stop working in the final year of their term.  Neither should a senator.

I know that tomorrow the Senate will take a break and leave town on recess for two weeks.  My earnest hope is that senators take that time to reflect on the importance of this process to our democracy — not what’s expedient, not what’s happening at the moment, what does this mean for our institutions, for our common life — the stakes, the consequences, the seriousness of the job we all swore an oath to do.

And when they return, I hope that they’ll act in a bipartisan fashion.  I hope they’re fair.  That’s all.  I hope they are fair.  As they did when they confirmed Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit, I ask that they confirm Merrick Garland now to the Supreme Court, so that he can take his seat in time to fully participate in its work for the American people this fall. He is the right man for the job.  He deserves to be confirmed.  I could not be prouder of the work that he has already done on behalf of the American people.  He deserves our thanks and he deserves a fair hearing.

And with that, I’d like to invite Judge Garland to say a few words.

JUDGE GARLAND:  Thank you, Mr. President.  This is the greatest honor of my life — other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago.  It’s also the greatest gift I’ve ever received except — and there’s another caveat — the birth of our daughters, Jessie and Becky.

As my parents taught me by both words and deeds, a life of public service is as much a gift to the person who serves as it is to those he is serving.  And for me, there could be no higher public service than serving as a member of the United States Supreme Court.

My family deserves much of the credit for the path that led me here.  My grandparents left the Pale of Settlement at the border of Western Russian and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, fleeing anti-Semitism, and hoping to make a better life for their children in America.  They settled in the Midwest, eventually making their way to Chicago.

There, my father, who ran the smallest of small businesses from a room in our basement, took me with him as he made the rounds to his customers, always impressing upon me the importance of hard work and fair dealing.  There, my mother headed the local PTA and school board and directed a volunteer services agency, all the while instilling in my sister and me the understanding that service to the community is a responsibility above all others.  Even now, my sisters honor that example by serving the children of their communities.

I know that my mother is watching this on television and crying her eyes out. So are my sisters, who have supported me in every step I have ever taken.  I only wish that my father were here to see this today.  I also wish that we hadn’t taught my older daughter to be so adventurous that she would be hiking in the mountains, out of cell service range –when the President called.

It was the sense of responsibility to serve a community, instilled by my parents, that led me to leave my law firm to become a line prosecutor in 1989.  There, one of my first assignments was to assist in the prosecution of a violent gang that had come down to the District from New York, took over a public housing project and terrorized the residents.  The hardest job we faced was persuading mothers and grandmothers that if they testified, we would be able to keep them safe and convict the gang members.  We succeeded only by convincing witnesses and victims that they could trust that the rule of law would prevail.
Years later, when I went to Oklahoma City to investigate the bombing of the Federal Building, I saw up close the devastation that can happen when someone abandons the justice system as a way of resolving grievances, and instead takes matters into his own hands.  Once again, I saw the importance of assuring victims and families that the justice system could work.  We promised that we would find the perpetrators, that we would bring them to justice, and that we would do it in a way that honored the Constitution.  The people of Oklahoma City gave us their trust, and we did everything we could to live up to it.

Trust that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship is what, in a large part, distinguishes this country from others.  People must be confident that a judge’s decisions are determined by the law, and only the law.  For a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the Constitution and to the statutes passed by the Congress.  He or she must put aside his personal views or preferences, and follow the law — not make it.

Fidelity to the Constitution and the law has been the cornerstone of my professional life, and it’s the hallmark of the kind of judge I have tried to be for the past 18 years.  If the Senate sees fit to confirm me to the position for which I have been nominated today, I promise to continue on that course.

Mr. President, it’s a great privilege to be nominated by a fellow Chicagoan.  I am grateful beyond words for the honor you have bestowed upon me.

Sanders Congratulates Clinton on Her Tuesday Victories

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Reclaim Chicago Campaign Field Operation Key Player in Cook County Victories

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

Growing Volunteer Movement Wins 9 out of 10 State and Local Races

CHICAGO, IL – With state and local election primary results just in,Reclaim Chicago declares victory for the people on the ground in Chicago and across Cook County. Key high profile races targeted by Reclaim Chicago that won include:

Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney; Omar Aquino, IL State Sen., D-2; Juliana Stratton, IL State Rep., D-5; Theresa Mah, IL State Rep., D-2; Rep. Christian Mitchell, IL State Rep, D-26.

Reclaim Chicago’s proven system for winning elections while building a movement using neighbors organizing neighbors and stressing one-on-one conversations at voters’ doors has built a growing army of volunteers that is becoming a force on Chicago’s political scene.

“Election Day results are showing we have a growing number of Cook County voters ready to support candidates with progressive values that are serious about addressing the issues that plague Chicago, like our broken criminal justice system and about putting people ahead of big money and corporations,” said Reclaim Chicago Executive Director David Hatch. “With more than 4,500 volunteer hours in the field and having called or knocked on the doors of 90,120 voters for our slate of endorsed candidates, we were able to contribute to victories in races, and strong showings up and down the ballot.

While at the time of this release, the race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is still too close to call, there is no doubt that Sanders experienced a dramatic surge in support over the last week as he closed a 30 point deficit in the polls. Reclaim Chicago’s field effort played a significant role in converting this change in momentum into concrete votes in Cook County.

Reclaim Chicago helped the following endorsed candidates to Election Day victories:

 
Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney
Omar Aquino, IL State Sen., D-2
Juliana Stratton, IL State Rep., D-5
Theresa Mah, IL State Rep., D-2 

Rep. Will Guzzardi, IL State Rep., D-39

 
Rep. Christian Mitchell, IL State Rep, D-26
Ald. Sue Sadlowski-Garza, Committeeman, 10th Ward
Ald. Carlos Rosa, Committeeman, 35th Ward
Ald. John Arena, Committeeman, 45th Ward

“Our ongoing efforts that began in last year’s municipal elections have laid the groundwork for the wins we helped bring home today,” National Nurses United Midwest Director Jan Rodolfo said. “This is about sustained, progressive political engagement. We are building something that doesn’t end the day after Election Day, but continues to hold elected officials accountable for the actions they take and the decisions they make.”

About Reclaim Chicago

ReclaimChicago is a people-led movement devoted to reclaiming our city, county and state governments from the grip of corporate interests and the very wealthy. Reclaim Chicago’s goals are to reduce corporate power in government and reclaim our city, county and state governments as the means for ensuring justice, promoting equality and improving the lives of ALL people. Reclaim Chicago is supported by The People’s Lobby and National Nurses United

For more information: reclaimchicago.org, @reclaimchicago on Twitter or reclaimchicago on Facebook.

Speaker Madigan on Election Results

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Speaker of the Illinois House Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement after Tuesday’s election results:

“Yesterday, voters in the Democratic primary election made it very clear they want representatives in the State Capitol who will stand up for middle-class families, children and the elderly, not turn their backs on them. I’m honored to have again received the trust and support of the voters of the 22nd District, where they rejected a candidate who received his financial support from a number of Republicans and those aligned with the governor’s belief in how government should be run.

“Voters in the 5th Representative District clearly were unhappy with Ken Dunkin’s record, how he turned his back on the elderly, children and families struggling to make ends meet, his failure to follow through on promises he made, and his association with Bruce Rauner and the governor’s allies. Also, a message was sent that spending more money does not translate into electoral success. The millions spent by Ken Dunkin, IllinoisGO, the Illinois Opportunity Project and others – an effort that significantly outspent the Juliana Stratton campaign – did not persuade voters because their views do not reflect the views of middle-class and struggling families.

“As Speaker, I have consistently and successfully worked with Republican governors to find common ground on issues important to moving the state forward. I am prepared, as I have been for the last year, to work cooperatively and professionally with Governor Rauner to address the most important issues facing our state today. However, the gridlock that we are experiencing stems not from a difference in political parties, but from the governor’s insistence that we focus on his agenda attacking middle-class families, rather than making the budget deficit his priority. Over the last year, you will find the times that the governor and the Legislature were able to work together, such as the passage of a measure to free up billions of dollars in federal funds and rejecting cost of living adjustments for lawmakers, is when the governor was willing to put aside his agenda that hurts middle-class families and work directly with the Legislature on the most important issue at hand.

“With the clear message sent by voters Tuesday, I am hopeful we can use this framework moving forward to implement a state budget and work together to get things accomplished for the people we serve.”

Working Families Fuel Likely Victory for Aquino and Progressive Candidates Across Cook County in Illinois Primary

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Grassroots Illinois Action, an independent political organization for Chicago’s working families, released the following statement after the victory of Kim Foxx and likely victory of Omar Aquino in Tuesday’s Illinois Primary.

“Voters have sent a clear message to the city. They want strong public schools and elected officials that will keep the police accountable. This is a big win for our communities,” stated Grassroots Illinois Action member Lynda Lopez, a resident of West Humboldt Park.

Criminal justice issues defined the elections, and motivated many of the canvassers who worked hard on the doors. “I was passionate about volunteering for Kim Foxx because she has projects and ideas that will focus on rehabilitating at-risk youth, instead of just locking them up,” said GIA Brighton Park parent Maria Martinez.

“These election results show the power of organizing. Organizations like Assata’s Daughters, Blackroots Alliance, BYP 100, and others in the Black Lives Matter movement have shifted the electoral landscape. GIA members knocked on nearly 15,000 doors in just a few weeks, in the Humboldt Park and Brighton Park communities, resulting in a win for communities of color, working families, and all those who believe in a more just and equitable Chicago.”

Now that the primaries are over, GIA will continue to build the necessary year round political infrastructure to hold the recently elected politicians accountable to the families that elected them.

Illinois Chosen to Close Equity Gaps in Top Courses, Maryland Selected & Commits for 2017 Launch

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Partnership will expose students of all race and income levels to challenging academic programs

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Gov. Bruce Rauner and State Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith, Ph.D., are erasing a dividing line over racial and income inequity in high school Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Illinois will become the first state in the United States to partner with the Lead Higher Initiative in a statewide challenge to close equity gaps for lower income students and students of color in its high schools’ most rigorous courses.

“America’s students are more diverse than ever before. Yet, no state equitably serves low-income students and students of color at the highest levels, and Illinois is about to change that,” according to Reid Saaris, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), a Lead Higher partner. The Lead Higher Initiative, created partially in response to the President’s call to action around young men of color, represents a groundbreaking initiative to increase AP and IB access by 100,000 low-income students and students of color over the next three years.

In November, Lead Higher invited states to join this first effort of its kind: to fully include students of all race and income levels in their best academic programs. Through a competitive national process, Lead Higher chose Illinois for its commitment to close gaps by 2019, and Maryland, as runner-up, will be the second state to commit to closing its gaps by 2020.

“Our mission is that every student complete his or her post-secondary career prepared to be an engaged citizen with a meaningful and rewarding career,” Gov. Rauner said. “Increasing access to rigorous AP and IB programs is important to ensure our Illinois children are prepared from cradle to career.”

Illinois Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis added, “The Lead Higher opportunity aligns with our statewide focus on education through quality, equity, and access and will have an immediate and sustainable impact on these students’ life trajectories.  Lead Higher partners have already started this work in more than 85 school districts across 18 states, including some of our Illinois schools, reaching over 20,000 students.”

“Students across Illinois will benefit by the new partnership between their state and Equal Opportunity Schools to expand enrollment in AP and IB courses,” said Harold O. Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the lead philanthropic partner of Equal Opportunity Schools.

“We hope Illinois will serve as a national model for efforts to increase the number of outstanding low-income students and students of color in high schools around the state taking college-level courses, because many students who are fully capable of succeeding in such courses simply never sign up,” Levy said. “These courses are an important gateway to admission to colleges where low-income students and students of color remain seriously underrepresented. Everyone benefits when these bright young people have the chance to fully develop their talents.”

“Initiatives like our partnership with Lead Higher and EOS to bring more underrepresented students into the state’s most challenging courses help us break down systemic inequity while maintaining the coursework’s high quality,” said State Superintendent Smith. “Our work to expand superior academic opportunities for all students, of all races and income levels, continues to raise performance, improve fairness, and close gaps across Illinois. The Lead Higher Initiative will help us use the best tools and resources to continue this momentum and accomplish our goals.”

Saaris pointed to several components setting Illinois and Maryland apart. “We noted Illinois state leadership engaging superintendents around the issue of students who are missing from advanced courses yet ready to succeed if given the chance; their vision displayed in passing legislation that mandates students receive college credit for successful college-level work in high school; and a large cohort of school, community, business and philanthropic partners.

“Maryland demonstrated its commitment to equity and opportunity from a broad and diverse group of state and district leaders; a commitment to equity in addition to a longstanding and widespread commitment to success and opportunity in their AP/IB programs; and a strong, existing community of practice among district leaders and the MSDE,” Saaris said.

“Education is my administration’s number one priority,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. ”Maryland has great schools and world-class universities, but the gap between the good schools and the underachieving schools is among the worst. Partnering with innovative programs like Lead Higher will help to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed.”

“We are thrilled by so many responses to our first statewide partnership opportunity,” said EOS’ Saaris. “Many states sought consideration and we finalized a cadre of five states for closer evaluation. Through careful review, Illinois and Maryland made the best fit for this first partnership. Maryland will launch their statewide EOS partnership in 2017.”

“While Maryland’s success rate on AP exams is the highest in the country, it is not enough,” said Jack Smith, Maryland Interim State Schools Superintendent. “Persistent gaps still exist, and all ‘missing students’ must have access to rigorous content and success on college level assessments.”

Seven Illinois school districts already committed to close their AP and IB gaps through their EOS partnerships by fall 2016, setting a new standard of equity in the state: Barrington 220 School District, Fenton High School District 100, Glenbard High School District #87, Lake Park Community High School District, Leyden High School District 212, Sterling Public Schools, and Woodstock School District 200.  Fifteen more have been selected for the 2016-17 Lead Higher district cohort.

The Lead Higher Initiative is a consortium created in April 2015 and includes Equal Opportunity Schools, College Board, International Baccalaureate, and lead philanthropic partner the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. It supports the goals and intentions of My Brother’s Keeper and launched this statewide challenge at the White House’s “Next Generation High School Summit” in November 2015.

#LeadHigherIL

#LeadHigherMD

Contact points:

Andy Oden, APR, Sr. Comm. Dir., Equal Opportunity Schools, (321) 222-3002, andy@eoschools.org

David Egner, Communications Consultant for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, (202) 779-1743, EgnerCommunications@outlook.com

Catherine Kelly, Press Secretary, Office of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, (217) 782−7355, Catherine.Kelly@illinois.gov 

Laine Evans, Director of Communications, Illinois State Board of Education, (312) 814-8998, levans@isbe.net

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Revises Jobs Data for All States

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois continues to lag neighboring states in job growth;

U.S. grew at twice the rate of Illinois

 

 CHICAGO, IL —The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released 2015 Benchmarked jobs data for all states and Washington, DC showing Illinois continues to lag behind neighboring states in terms of job growth.  Year-to-year growth in Illinois continues to be anemic. Illinois is one of only three states that has never surpassed its 2000 peak employment levels and remains 80,000 jobs short.

With the newly released BLS Benchmarked jobs data, the impact of the revisions can be seen on a state-by-state basis, allowing a comparison of Illinois’ growth rate versus every other state in the country.  Nationally with these BLS benchmarked data, 38 other states grew faster than Illinois in 2015.  Midwestern states growing faster than Illinois with these revised numbers were Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.

 

While BLS data showed that Illinois gained 52,600 jobs in 2015 increasing the Illinois job growth rate from 0% to 0.9% for 2015, the US as a whole grew 1.8% with the benchmarked data, or twice the rate of Illinois.  This BLS revised data can be seen on the BLS website at www.BLS.gov.

 

About IDES

 

IDES encourages employment by connecting employers to jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud. Visit the Department’s website at www.ides.illinois.gov for more information and join IDES on Facebook

#ByeAnita WINS State’s Attorney’s Race

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter: Chicago, BYP100, Fearless Leading by the Youth will hold a #ByeAnita Press Conference today, March 16, 2016, at 26th & California,  at 3 P.M.
 

CHICAGO, IL – The #ByeAnita campaign celebrated last night. Not because Kim Foxx won, but because Anita Alvarez lost. Due to her essential role in the cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s murder, young black organizers relentlessly targeted Alvarez’s campaign for reelection in the final weeks. Not because we support Kim Foxx, but because Anita Alvarez is a prosecutor who has demonstrated that she does not believe Black Lives Matter. When we began to target Alvarez’s campaign she was ahead of her opponents in the polls. Last night, we saw the fruits of our labor manifest as Anita Alvarez conceded the Cook County State’s Attorney race.


As long term organizers, we are fighting for a world where prosecutors do not exist. We intentionally did not endorse Kim Foxx because we intend to hold her administration accountable for how it will explicitly impact the black community. Kim Foxx, and all members of government, should take notice of how young black organizers are impacting electoral politics. Our rage against the system and love for black people has dominated this year’s presidential election and removed two prosecutors, Anita Alvarez (Chicago) and Tim McGinty (Philadelphia) so far. We are demonstrating that organized radical black love and rage can impact elections, and ultimately institutions that disproportionately negatively impact black lives.

As history and reality has shown us, young black organizers are committed to materializing tangible justice for all black people. One of the ways we intend to fight for black lives is through direct action, specifically civil disobedience, that targets those directly responsible for injustice. The indictment of Jason Van Dyke and firing of Gary McCarthy does not equate to justice for Laquan McDonald or Rekia Boyd, Ronald Johnson, Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier. Terrorist police are a product of a system that devalues black life and promotes genocide in the black community. The system as it is will never justly favor black people. Mostly because elected officials are complicit with the anti-black institutions that have shaped this society since the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Young black organizers, particularly queer, gender non-conforming, women and femmes, are committed to abolishing the inherently fascist system that is the United States of America. We do this until we free us.

Senator Kirk Responds to President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee Announcement

Posted by Admin On March - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

Senator Kirk Statement on President Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement today after President Obama announced the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia:

“When I climbed the 42 steps of the U.S. Capitol and returned to the Senate following my stroke, I reaffirmed my commitment to represent the people of Illinois in an independent and thoughtful manner, free from the partisanship and political rancor that too often consumes Washington. The Senate’s constitutionally defined role to provide advice and consent is as important as the president’s role in proposing a nominee, and I will assess Judge Merrick Garland based on his record and qualifications.”

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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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