Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Contact: Rachel Fox

October 30, 2007



Chicago Small Businesses Unite Against

Wine, Beer and Spirits Tax

Wednesday, October 31st at 9:30 AM, Chicago small business owners and supporters will gather at City Hall to demonstrate against the Chicago City Council’s proposed excise tax increase on wine, beer and spirits.

While this increase will greatly affect consumers, who already pay seven different taxes every time they order a bottle of beer, a glass of wine or an after-dinner drink, Chicago’s small businesses will bear the greatest burden.

After a 2005 increase earned Chicago the dubious distinction of the metropolitan area with the United State’s highest taxes on adult beverages, the City Council is now considering raising the taxes on city residents even higher. In fact, the new proposal would mean an 85 percent tax increase on liquor in the past three years.

WHO: Chicago Small Business Owners and Supporters

Larry Stevens, President of the City Wide Liquor Association

Melvin Burnside, Owner of Reese’s Lounge & City Wide Member.

Mike Moreno, Owner of Moreno’s Liquor

Beth Murphy, Owner of Murphy’s Bleachers

Mary Lindsay, Owner of Jokes & Notes

WHEN: Wednesday, October 31st, 9:30 AM
WHERE: Chicago City Hall, 121 North LaSalle, 2nd Floor (just outside the elevator bank)

To schedule interviews, please contact Rachel Fox at the number above.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

US urges businesses to organize job fairs in honor of Veterans' Day

U.S. Department of Labor For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs Oct. 17, 2007
Washington, D.C. Contact: Brad Mitchell Scott Allen
Release Number: 07-1538-NAT-Chicago Phone: 312-353-4807 312-353-6976

For Veterans’ Day, U.S. Department of Labor encourages employers to participate in 25-day, nationwide ‘blitz’ of job fairs
November 9 event in Chicago one of 92 nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In observance of Veterans’ Day, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced plans for a 25-day blitz of 92 veterans’ job fairs to be held in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico between Oct. 23 and Nov. 16, including a Nov. 9 event at Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Rd., in Chicago.

“The qualities America’s soldiers are known for – discipline, strong work ethic, leadership and technical skills – are in high demand by employers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, “These job fairs are an important part of our effort to help America’s soldier transition back to civilian life when their tour of duty ends and a tremendous opportunity for employers looking for great workers.”

Employers looking for excellent job candidates either for immediate or future hire are encouraged to attend the Chicago Job Fair for Veterans. Interested employers can contact Luis Gonzalez or Floyd States at the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 312-814-3143, to learn more.

“The United States military is the finest, most technologically advanced in the world,” said Charles S. Ciccolella, assistant secretary of labor for the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). “Our nation invests billions of dollars annually to train America’s armed forces, instilling and developing valuable hard skills in our service members. Equally important are the skills service members learn, such as loyalty, discipline, selflessness, leadership, and the ability to follow instructions and perform under pressure. These are all inherent to the military culture. The HireVetsFirst campaign is about increasing employer awareness of the skills veterans bring to their businesses, and to encourage employers to hire veterans, not just out of a sense of patriotism, but because it makes good sense for employers who want to grow their businesses.”

A list of job fair locations by state and more information about the HireVetsFirst campaign are available at www.hirevetsfirst.gov. For more information on all the veterans’ employment programs offered by VETS, visit www.dol.gov/vets.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fred Thompson names Illinois campaign leadership

Thompson Campaign Announces Illinois State Leadership

October 16, 2007

McLean, VA - Senator Fred Thompson’s campaign today announced its top leadership for its operation in the State of Illinois. State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington will serve as the Chairman of the campaign’s state organization and Congressman Don Manzullo will serve as its Vice-Chairman.

“The groundswell of support that we’re seeing among Illinois Republicans makes me very excited to be a part of this organization,” Senator Brady said. “Senator Thompson's consistently conservative record and his willingness to take on America's most pressing challenges uniquely prepares him to not only lead our party, but also win a general election, ensuring that our nation's military will remain strong, our families safe, and our taxes low."

"I'm honored to serve as Vice Chairman of Fred Thompson's Illinois operation. Fred Thompson has the clear vision and common sense conservative principles that we need in Washington to address the modern challenges facing our nation,” said Congressman Manzullo.

“These two leaders bring a wealth of experience to our Illinois organization,” said National Political Director Randy Enwright. “Senator Brady and Congressman Manzullo and their combined experience in the state will help us lead a strong campaign in the state of Illinois.”

Senator Brady has served in the Illinois Senate since 2002 and previously served in the state House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2006 and has continued to travel throughout Illinois to help build a stronger state Republican Party. He has been a leader in urging stronger state ethics laws, promoting a stronger business climate in Illinois and in defeating massive tax increases proposed by the current Democratic administration.

Congressman Manzullo was first elected in 1992 to serve the people of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois, which includes the counties of Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Carroll, the majority of McHenry County and parts of DeKalb and Whiteside counties. In the 110th Congress, he sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he is the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment and a member of the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. He continues to serve on the Financial Services Committee, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Another letter from a reader of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Here's another letter from a reader of the Arlington heights Daily Herald that really makes no sense. But, I run it anyway followed by my column, which the reader probably did not read. (Some people just Hate Arabs and Iranians and no matter what you write, reasoned or not, they will attack you.)

Is it just me, or does Ray Hanania write in generalities and neglect to give specifics regarding his positions for a reason?

(HANANIA: I only get 540 words to write one column each month and although they are very detailed, you have to really read to understand in order to understand.)

Is there a society in the universe which at some level is not biased toward something? Believing is not enough to indict an entire society, which he himself is part of, of bias toward a group he belongs to. Specifics are required, not anecdotal but examples on the same scale which he accuses our society.

Has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recanted his statement, reported by CNN in December of 2005, that the Holocaust was a myth or was that one of the translation problems that he writes of but provides no example of?

(HANANIA: I don't know if the listener ever really heard Ahmadinejad or just the so-called translations from CNN and MEMRI, which is the source of much political motivated improper translations which are intended to undermine truth and advance Israel. I watched Ahmadinejad on live television at Columbia and he SAID that he believed the Holocaust occured and that 5 million Jews -- not 6 million -- were murdered by the Nazis. Yet, why won't the reader accept what he says? Well, because it doesn't fit his agenda of what he wants to believe. And I provide a very specific example, but again, the writer is not interested in truth.)

Was Ahmadinejad translated incorrectly by everyone when he states that Israel should be wiped off the map?

(HANANIA: No. Ahmadinejad explained what he meant, that ALL of the Palestinians of 1948 including the Christians and Muslims had a right to vote to decide their future but that vote was denied to them by the United Nations which partitioned Palestine into two states against the will of the majority population. Again, the reader really doesn't care about facts, only namecalling.)

Is the professor, mentioned in Mr. Hanania's piece, Norman Finkelstein, late of DePaul University? Who became, according to provost's memo, dated June 26, 2007, both orally and physically threatening to fellow faculty members after he was denied tenure?

(HANANIA: The reader ignores my point of course, which is that Finklestein, who is Jewish, was not targeted because of what happened AFTER the controversy, but because of false allegations made against him that provoked the controversy. Again, the reader only wants to address what is convenient to his bias rather than to the truth. Finklestein NEVER denied the Holocaust, but that doesn't matter apparently.)

As for free speech, Mr. Hanania seems to think that free speech encompasses a right not to be disagreed with when one is being outlandish. There is a right to free speech in the United States, but words do have consequences. To think that statements should not be challenged is to deny the responsibility of free speech, not oppress it.

(HANANIA: Free speech does not mean people can lie or manipulate the truth as this read does. And the consequences are that his claims are pure hogwash and lies, a part of a campaign of hatred and bias intended to deny Arabs and Muslims the right to challenge the lies perpetrated in the news media. I write ONE column each month in the Daily Herald and it is partnered with the mandatory Pro-Israel view of a rightwing extremist. There is no other voice like mine in the country. And that is what the reader is most upset about that I have been given an opportunity to express views he dislikes and it bothers him. Far more people support my views but fear writing because of the campaigns of hatred and attack that are directed and them and at me.)

Don Parker


A final thought from me:

The real issue here is not whether or not Iran did or did not do something threatening to the United STates but rather that he is a critic of Israel and that's what this reader can't tolerate. If the issue and concern is about the safety of the United States, why is all the public debate about Iran's views and policies towards Israel?

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blagojevich criticizes legislature for failing to permanently extend Cook County tax cap and phasing out property tax relief

October 12, 2007 Abby Ottenhoff 312/814.3158
Rebecca Rausch 217/782.7355
Gerardo Cardenas 312/814.3158

Statement from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich

On the Illinois General Assembly’s vote to override Governor’s amendatory veto that strengthens property tax relief

SPRINGFIELD – “There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the legislature extended the property tax cap that Cook County homeowners have enjoyed since 2004.

“The bad news, and what they won’t tell you, is at a time when the city of Chicago is considering the largest property tax increase in history, the legislators voted to begin phasing out property tax relief in the second year and completely take it away in the third year. That’s going backward, not forward. Homeowners deserve real meaningful property tax caps that will last for more than just one year.

“I am going to continue to work with Senate President Emil Jones and Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan to increase property tax relief for homeowners and make it permanent. Unfortunately, the Illinois House, led by Speaker Madigan, passed a plan that would take that relief away from homeowners by protecting the big downtown commercial real estate developers.

“Considering how long it took to provide just one more year of property tax relief, Assessor Houlihan and I think it’s critical that the legislature address the long-term need for property tax relief now, before taxpayers face even higher bills. I am asking the General Assembly, on their own schedule, to reconvene before the end of the year to restore the property tax caps they just voted to take away. If they fail to do that, then it is my intention to call them into special session sometime by mid December to get it done.”

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Annie Thompson
Press Assistant
Office of the Governor
205 Statehouse
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217.782.7357
Fax: 217.524.1676

Moved my books from CafePress.com to Lulu.com

For a long time, CafePress.com was a great place for independent authors to publish but recently, the web site has been showing some disturbing trends that seem to be based on racism, targeting Arab and Muslim Americans. For the past four months, all of my books have been in limbo, and unable to be updated. They kept insisting that it was a "bug" but after three months, it was clear the only bug was the bug up their asses about my book topics.

So, I have closed the CafePress.com shops and am migrating to a new site called Lulu.com. Lulu is more sophisticated but charges more than CafePress.com. And I am sorry that part of the increase in costs have to be passed along to buyers of my books. Still, because of the discrimination that exists in the New York Book Publishing industry against Arabs and Muslims, I've had to turn to the more effective online print-on-demand publishing system.

The new Lulu books will be available through Borders, Amazon and more. The links have been updated to reflect the new purchases resources. You can purchase my most popular books: I'm Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing Up Arab in America, my memoir on the humorous and serious side of ethnicity in America, the popular Arab American Media & Leadership Directory for 2008 which is the only resource offering detailed contact information for Arab American and Muslim American news media, activists, organizations, web news sites, TV and radio, and of course the very successful Arabs of Chicagoland from Arcadia Publishing can be purchased directly from Arcadia Publishing or from any major book store.

Thanks for your patience as I make this transition for the six other remaining books.

-- Ray Hanania