Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Show updates for this week March 25 and 27

Tonight's show features an interview with Patricia Herbst on the services offered to children with Cerebral Palsey ... Mark Smith of Wild Garden talks about his new product, Wild Garden Hummus Dip and its popularity with schools and airlines ... a 30 minute segment from Ray Hanania's standup comedy performance at B'nai Yehuda Beth Shalom Synagogue March 22, 2008 in Homewood, Illinois, and Ray's column on Western (March 20th) and Greek Orthodox Easter (April 28th) celebrations in America. This show was pre-taped.

Thursday, March 27, begins with an interview with John Stanton, a writer with RollCall Report in Washington D.C. on the controversy surrounding Oak lawn Trustee and Congressional Chief of Staff Jerry Hurckes in his role bringing federal services for Oak Lawn. Also discussing the controversy include Oak Lawn Trustee Tom Phelan and Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann. Stanton's story suggests that Hurckes may be violating congressional regulations for staff personal which prohibits them from arranging any federal services for places where they work. Stanton will clarify the issue for us. Hurckes, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, 3rd District Illinois, has also been invited to joint he show.

We will have time in the 2nd hour for telephone calls from listeners at 773-777-1450. Listen to the show live on streaming Internet during the show at www.WCEV1450.com if you are not in the six-county Chicago area. Or, podcast the show afterwards from www.RadioChicagoland.com.

Ray Hanania

Monday, March 17, 2008

John McCain uses taxpayer money to fly to Baghdad -- and Cheney too

It was disturbing to see Sen. John McCain make a political trip to Baghdad and then charge the American people to cover the costs. He says he's there to check on our troops -- right.

I bet it has nothing to do with the fact that he is running for president.

And then Vice President Dick Cheney flies to Baghdad, too, to celebrate his mastewrful manipulation of facts, lies and a less than bright president to return to Iraq and complete a job he wanted to do 10 years earlier ...

I wonder if Cheney ever put on a real military uniform. We know President Bush didn't, and used the reserves to hide and avoid not only active duty durign the Vietnam War (The Swifdt Boat fanatics who trashed John Kerrey probably could care less about his lack of service) and then spent most of his time working on election campaigns for his father.

Five years in Iraq and only 95 more to go, according to McCain.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why are the Padres and Dodgers playing baseball in the dictatorship of China?

It's amazing to me how we are struggling to remove lead-tainted toys from our country that are made in China, fighting to force China to lift it's oppressive ban on news media there, and end its brutal campaign against political and social dissidents in China, and yet two major league baseball teams are playing an exhibition game in Beijing?

Are we that stupid or just ignorant as Americans?

China is a dictatorship. It is an oppressive terrorist nation. But we play this hypocritical game of double-standards carefully criticizing China's policies while still trying to make money off that nation?

Are we not making money off the lives of murdered Chinese dissidents? Are we not exploiting the slave labor of China? Are we not winking and nodding that it is okay for China to oppress it's people as long as we can by poinsoned toys cheap.

My son came up to me this morning while I was watching a CNN news broadcast of the Padres-Dodges game in Beijing, China and showed me a box of toy cars that he has from a huge collection that were made inC hina and we suspect are poisoned with lead.

Why do we tolerate some dictatorships when it benefits us economically and crackdown on dictatorships when we have no benefot to gain from them? Is that not hypocritical?

We are not the leaders of the Free World when we pick and chose morality, principle and do or do not enforce an international standard of the rule of law. You can't be half-pregnant. We're eaither the leader of the Free World and we champion freedom for everyone, including in nations that we gain that are dictatorships, or we are hypocrites and we don't care and we close our eyes to oppressive when it benefits us.

Doesn't that make America complicit in the oppression of freedom, and therefore void our claim to be the "leader of the Free World?"

Pathetic. Hypocritical. Disgraceful. Embarrasing. Shameful.

Ray Hanania

To comment on this post, call Radio Chicagoland on Tuesday between 4 and 6 PM CST/Central Chicago time, at 773-777-1450 ... listen to the online simulcast of the live radio show by visiting www.WCEV1450.c0m ... go to www.RadioChicagoland.com for all information on the radio show.

Some related links (these are news links and may not be available indefinitely):

Padres versus Dodgers in Beijing, China:

China lead poisoning issue:


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Being attacked by CAIR member for denouncing Hamas as a terrorist organization -- again

It's not unusual for an extremist to attack my views. I'm a Christian Arab who has frequently denounced Hamas as a terrorist organization, and they don't like that. Although there are many good people working and volunteering at CAIR, I was surpsrised to see an attack against me from someone who works at CAIR and who signed the attack with CAIR's name. The writer was responding to a column I wrote on the need not to give up on peace in the face of terrorism from Hamas and violence from Israel's government:

"I was surprised to read in the column by Ray Hanania, "Don't let violence
sabotage efforts toward peace," that Christians, Muslims and Jews have "never
lived together in peace."

"I'm sure that most of your readers, and probably the author too, can
attest to the fact that this is not true. I can appreciate the theme of the
column. But, as it reads, that one inaccurate statement defeats the entire

"I expect more from the Daily Herald than to allow such naïve
generalizations to be printed. A little in-depth reporting might have shown that
peace between Christians, Muslims and Jews is not a high-minded ideal, but a
process that is going on right now in our city, as well as all over the world.
The hundreds of thousands of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Chicago area
are a daily living testament to this.
Luke Willson,
Communication Intern CAIR-Chicago

Of course, Luke Willson did not read the column, otherwise he would have noted that my comment "Christians, Muslims and Jews have never lived in peace" is a direct reference to the conflict in Palestine before 1948, and not a statement, as he implies so wrongly, that it is about Christian, Muslim and Jewish relations in general.

Here is the link to the column:

Here is the exact quote from the column, that Willson distorts, intentionally I suspect:

"Extremist Palestinians like Hamas, and extremist Israelis like the settlers and
other groups in between, all want the entire land of Israel and Palestine for
themselves. Palestinian extremists do not want to acknowledge Israel's right to
exist because they believe in the so-called "one-state solution" which would
revert the land to its pre-1948 days when Christians, Muslims and Jews
presumably lived together in peace. Of course, they are delusional because
Christians, Muslims and Jews have never lived together in peace."

Willson takes the quote out of context to make his unfair attack, which is intended, of course, to intimidate the Daily Herald to drop a Christian Arab journalist from writing a column and replacing him with a Muslim American columnist, preferably one that implies he has the stamp of approval from CAIR.

The conflict in Palestine began long before 1948 and Christians, Muslims and Jews have not lived in peace at all. Right after the end of World War I and the British Mandate began, Christians, Muslims and Jews began fighting in Palestine, culminating in riots against Jewish immigration by Muslims and Christians in the 1920s ... but before that, the Muslim Ottoman Empire persecuted Christians and Jews living in their domains for hundreds of years in Palestine, killing those that refused to live as "subjected peoples." Meaning, they live in the Ottoman Empire as "guests," not as equal citizens. It was a common habit of the Ottoman's to take the children of Christians and Jews and force them to serve in a special military force created.

But I think Mr. Willson's comments have more to do with my constant hammering of Hamas as a terrorist organization, which Muslims rarely denounce -- a failing that exposes the writer's hypocrisy.

The attack comes from an intern at the CAIR Chicago office in the "communications department" -- a Cair official said that the views don't represent the organization. But, CAIR rarely writes letters supporting my views, and that only reinforces my argument about poor relations, at least between Christian Arabs and some Muslims.

People like Willson should spend more time practicing what they preach. Normally the group would censure the remarks like these by others, but from one of its "interns" who not only expressed a personal view but did so using the name of the organization itself in his signature? We'll see.

Ray Hanania

Did Rev. Wright go too far and was he just addressing issues many Americans believe but are afraid to say openly?

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. has come under attack for expressing his views on a wide range of issues. Some sensitive, some not. His comments have sparked attacks against him and his associates from rightwing hatemongers in America like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

He is being ostracized. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who is a member of his church, Trinity United CHurch of Christ on east 95th Street, has been forced to renounce him because of pressure from the news media and hate-driven fanatics in the media and in American politics.

The topic will be one of those addressed on Tuesday's radio show (4 to 6 PM, WCEV 1450 AM Radio) on www.RadioChicagoland.com. If you are not in the Chicago area, you can listen to the show as it is broadcast at www.WCEV1450.com.

Here is a statement from Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright's Jr., web page:

Thank you for your interest in Trinity United Church of Christ and for your consideration of our member, Sen. Barack Obama, in the Democratic primary election. Due to the high volume of emails and inquiries, we are unable to respond to each one personally. We were overwhelmed with “hits” after Senator Obama’s historic victory in the Iowa democratic caucus.

Barack Obama has been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for nearly two decades. As a young community organizer, new to Chicago, Barack met with Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Trinity’s Senior Pastor, seeking advice. He received good counsel about the complexities of life in Chicago and the challenges faced by residents in poor communities like South Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens.

The United Church of Christ (http://www.ucc.org), Trinity’s denominational affiliation, is “a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed.” It was founded in 1957 through the union of several different Christian traditions. Not only does Trinity not exclude anyone from membership or attendance based on race or ethnicity, but:

The majority of UCC members are white; the conference minister of the Illinois Conference of the UCC (Rev. Jane Fisler Hoffman) and her husband (both white) are members of Trinity (You can watch a video of Rev. Hoffman speaking at Trinity about her positive experiences there.);
Trinity has been instrumental in working with and lending financial and staff support to the development of new UCC churches in Gary, IN (with the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the UCC, Milwaukee, WI (with the Wisconsin Conference of the UCC), and Benton Harbor, MI (with the Michigan Conference of the UCC). There is no anti-American sentiment in the theology or the practice of Trinity United Church of Christ. To be sure, there is prophetic preaching against oppression, racism and other evils that would deny the American ideal. Trinity is “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

Trinity was founded in 1961 and had 87 families when Dr. Wright started his tenure in 1972. Currently, as Dr. Wright anticipates a 2008 retirement, there are more than 8,000 members, 70 ministries, and three Sunday worship services. You and your family can watch these services online at 7:30am, 11:00am and 6:00pm CST.

If you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Senator Obama's office:
Devorah Adler at dadler@barackobama.com Joshua DuBois at jdubois@barackobama.com Yours in Christ!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Comcast comes under fire for unfair policies by employee group

Comcast Employees Seek Respect, Union Contrac
tIllinois in Spotlight of IBEW Nationwide Campaign Demonstrations at Local Comcast Facilities, Wednesday, March 12 Media

Contact: Tom Hopper, 630-960-4466 x223630-222-9119 (cell)

Chicago – Contacted by Illinois Comcast employees seeking respect on the job and the protections of a union contract, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) today is launching a nationwide campaign to provide information and support for the workers’ efforts. IBEW organizers are leafleting in Illinois and nationwide at Comcast facilities, directing employees to a Web site, www.comcastworkersunited.com, which includes information about the campaign and a message from IBEW President Edwin D. Hill. Demonstrations in Illinois will held at the following Comcast facilities:

• 2508 W. Rt. 120, McHenry, IL 1150 Washington St, Morris, IL
• 6609 W. Stanley, Berwyn, IL 9651 Grosspoint Rd, Skokie, IL
• 820 Madison St., Oak Park, IL 1931 W. Diversy, Chicago, IL
• 12141 S. Cicero, Alsip, IL 721 E 112th, Chicago, IL
• 1011 Wilson St, Batavia, IL 1255 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL
• 300 Carpenter Dr., Carpentersville, IL 350 N. Wolf Rd, Mt. Prospect, IL
• 1065 Tower Rd, Kankakee, IL 17700 Hoffman Way, Homewood,IL
• 596 Lamont, Elmhurst, IL 655 Wise Rd., Schaumburg, IL
• 1500 McConnor Pkwy, Schaumburg, IL 1304 Marquette, Romeoville, IL
• 1585 Waukegan Rd., Waukegan, IL 2001 York Rd., Oakbrook, IL
• 8101 183rd St., Tinley Park, IL 10100 Woodward Ave., Woodridge,

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen a boom in the telecommunications industry and the creation of many new skilled jobs,” Hill said in the message. “But not all workers are enjoying the economic potential and security of these new jobs.” The IBEW represents cable and telecommunication workers across the United States and Canada. Comcast, the nation’s largest provider of cable TV and broadband Internet service, has strongly resisted workers’ efforts to organize and to bargain for fair and equitable contracts. Pointing out that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts earned $27.8 million last year, on the strength of his contract with the company, Hill said that Comcast “is fighting your right to have a contract. … We believe you deserve a voice on the job (and compensation) fitting to your skills and the quality of your work.”

# # #

The IBEW is an international labor organization that represents approximately 725,000 workers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Republic of Panama. The IBEW has members in construction, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications,

Eliot Spitzer, Clinton-Obama and taxes focus on Thursday's show

Guests this past Thursday include two New York-New Jersey columnists, Errol Louis of the New York Daily News and Bob Braun of the New Jersey Start-Ledger Newspapers discussing the resignation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and the implications of the sex scandal that brought him down. We also have Dan Proft, a media and political consultant discusses ramifications of the Spitzer controversy, Geraldine Ferraro and the Clinton-Obama presidental knock-out, drag-out fight. Guests also include Dave Astor of Editor & Publisher Magazine discussing the profession of syndicated columnists and columnists who are standup comedians -- there are not a lot. And, Jim Tobin of National Tazpayers United of Illinois on the tsunami of tax increase in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

All of the show segments, including most past shows, are not online. You can go to www.RadioChicagoland.com to listen to the segments online on our podcast blog, or you can automatically download the segment podcasts to your iPod for easy listening.

We also featured several letters from readers of my column at www.SWNewsHerald.com, and call ins from listeners on the show at Radio Chicagoland, WCEV 1450 AM, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 PM. You can listen to the shows live online when they are broadcast by tuning in to www.WCEV1450.c0m, or link to WCEV's streaming audio from our Radio Chicagoland web page.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dental care denied to Illinois families

Nearly Two Million Working Families in Illinois Shortchanged on Basic Dental Care

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 12, 2008 /PRNewswire -- 'Bridge to Healthy Smiles' Coalition Launches Statewide Campaign to Close Dental Care Gap

A crisis exists for the hundreds of thousands of Illinois families who rely on government-funded programs for their health care needs. These programs, such as Kidcare, All Kids, Family Care and Medicaid, are grossly under funded. In fact, reimbursement rates in Illinois are among the lowest in the nation.

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles coalition today is holding a 10 a.m. news conference at the Illinois State Capitol press room to launch a statewide campaign dedicated to bringing equitable and affordable dental care to all Illinoisans. The heart of the issue is the lack of access to dental care in rural and parts of urban Illinois. According to the Agency for Health care Research and Quality, 26 percent of poor or near-poor families see dentists annually compared to 40 percent of middle-income families and 54 percent of high-income families nationally.

"We are asking Illinois legislators to take important steps to close the dental care gap," said Dr. Keith Dickey, president of the Illinois State Dental Society. "It's alarming to know that 40 percent of all Illinois counties do not have access to dental care. We are committed to making family oral health care a priority for those who need it most."

To fill this dental care gap in Illinois, a comprehensive three-point plan is being announced today. The plan encourages:

-- Raising the Medicaid reimbursement for dental care;
-- Opening 10 dental clinics by 2010 throughout Illinois to reach people in need; and,
-- Encouraging new dentists to practice in underserved areas by forgiving a portion of their dental school loans.

"Too often, the parents of children who rely on public healthcare have a difficult time finding a dentist leaving kids in pain and unable to succeed in school. The passage of Bridge to Healthy Smiles legislation is critical to bringing much needed dental care to underserved areas in Illinois," explains Robyn Gabel, executive director of the Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition.

"This is a serious public health issue," said Dr. Sheila R. Brown, executive director of Lincoln Dental Society. "There is an undeniable link between general health and oral health care. It's time to stop penalizing working-poor families in urban and rural Illinois and begin offering equal access to dental care for all.

To learn more about the Bridge to Healthy Smiles Coalition's three-point legislative campaign including current legislation, a map of the 48 underserved areas in Illinois and a chart comparing national dental reimbursement rates visit http://www.BridgeToHealthySmiles.com.

About Bridge To Healthy Smiles Coalition

The Bridge to Healthy Smiles campaign is led by a diverse coalition working to improve oral health across the state. Coalition members include:

-- Illinois State Dental Society, representing more than 6,300 dentists, dental hygienists, dental lab technicians and dental students;

-- Lincoln Dental Society, an Illinois-based organization representing African-American dentists;
-- Hispanic Dental Association, dental professionals dedicated to promoting and improving the oral health of the Hispanic community and providing advocacy for Hispanic oral health professionals; and,

-- Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, recognizing that healthy infants, children, mothers and families constitute the basis of our society. IMCHC is dedicated to promoting and improving their health and well being through advocacy, education, community empowerment and policy development.

# # #

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pre-taped interviews with Coalition spokesman in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday

Radio Chicagoland's Tuesday show features pre-tapaed interviews with Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, spokesman for the Coalition Forces based in Baghdad, Iraq on the status of our troops. Also, the show Tuesday on WCEV 1450 AM Radio (4 to 6 PM) also features an interview with Bob Gusanders, co-publisher of the Southwest News-Herald Newspaper on the challenges facing community newspapers, the important role of community newspapers, and the Southwest News-Heralds expansion over the past several years into the Internet and recently into radio with this show, Radio Chicagoland. Also, I will be replaying an interview with political activist Bob Creamer, who wrote a new book "Listen to Your Mother, Standup Straight: How Progressive Can Win."

Thursday, we have an interview booked with David Astor, an editor at Editor & Publisher Magazine on the status of syndicated columnists and journalism around the country.

Ray Hanania

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Congress in the Classroom program opportunity


** Call For Participation: Congress in the Classroom 2008 **

Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program now in its 16th year. Developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional Center, the workshop is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching about Congress. The Center will join with the new Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service in conducting the workshop.

Congress in the Classroom is designed for high school or middle school teachers who teach U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social studies. Forty teachers will be selected in 2008 to take part in the program. Selection will be determined by The Center. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance status by April 30, 2008.

In addition to sessions dealing with Congress, the 2008 program will pay special attention to the upcoming congressional and presidential elections. The workshop consists of two types of sessions: those that focus on recent research and scholarship about Congress or elections (and don't always have an immediate application in the classroom) and those geared to specific ways to teach students about Congress or elections.

The workshop will be held Monday, July 21 - Thursday, July 24, at the Hotel Pere Marquette -- http://www.hotelperemarquette.com/ -- Peoria, Illinois.

The program is certified by the Illinois State Board of Education for up to 22 Continuing Education Units. The program also is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

Participants are responsible for (1) a non-refundable $135 registration fee (required to confirm acceptance after notice of selection) and (2) transportation to and from Peoria, Illinois. Many school districts will pay all or a portion of these costs.

The Center pays for three nights lodging at the headquarters hotel (providing a single room for each participant), workshop materials, local transportation, all but three meals, and presenter honoraria and expenses. The Center spends between $25,000 and $30,000 to host the program each year.

Tentative session titles are listed below. (NOTE: Additional sessions will be listed as presenters are confirmed. More information about the content of each session will be posted as it becomes available.)

> Opening Remarks: A View from Capitol Hill
The Honorable Ray LaHood, (R-IL, 18th District, U.S. House of Representatives) CONFIRMED

First elected in 1994, Congressman LaHood has earned a reputation as an "institutionalist," someone respected by Republicans and Democrats. A member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2001, he announced his retirement from the House effective in January 2009. As a result, the district is in the midst of a contested primary for the first time in years.

> Congressional Insight: An Interactive Simulation of a Member's First Term in the House of Representatives
Tara Smith, National Association of Manufacturers CONFIRMED

With Congressional Insight, you experience the high-pressured, uncompromising environment in which legislators must operate. With increasingly tight deadlines imposed by the simulation, you are part of a team that must decide which bills to support, which committee posts to seek, how much time to devote to fundraising, and what tradeoffs to make amidst constituent, party, special-interest, and media pressures. The quality of your choices will be tested in a reelection campaign.

> Sound Bite: Introduction to The Dirksen Center's Web Suite
Cindy Koeppel, The Dirksen Center CONFIRMED

Sound Bites are 30-minute sessions devoted to a single topic. In this one, Koeppel, the designer of The Center's Web suite, will introduce the six sites within the suite and illustrate how teachers can use them in their classrooms. Almost 1.5 million "unique visitors" generated about 70 million "hits" on the suite in 2007.

> Running for Congress: A Consultant's Perspective
Matt Bisbee, Illinois Executive Director, Victory Enterprises CONFIRMED

Founded in 1993, Victory Enterprises is a comprehensive political consulting and communications firm. Victory Enterprises offers a full array of campaign services including survey research, media production and placement, direct mail design, grassroots messaging, web strategy and design as well as one-on-one campaign consulting. The firm has been involved in over 1,500 campaigns. Bisbee will talk about how congressional candidates are recruited and how they develop a strategy for election.

> On the Road with Presidential Candidates

A reporter for a national news organization will describe their work covering three presidential candidates.

> Reception at Bradley University
Workshop teachers

We will travel to the campus of Bradley University for a reception and tour. Brad McMillan, Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service will brief us on IPL's programs.

> Running for Congress: A Candidate's Perspective
Jim McConoughey, candidate in the Republican primary, 18th congressional district, and CEO of the Heartland Partnership. CONFIRMED

One of the three Republican candidates in the 18th congressional district will discuss his experiences on the campaign trail. NOTE: the Democrats have yet to select a candidate.

> Where We Stand in the Presidential Race and What to Look For
Tim Teehan, National Sales Director, Campaigns and Elections. CONFIRMED

Campaigns & Elections is a nonpartisan publication with more than 84,000 readers involved in the political process. A representative from the magazine will discuss the state of the presidential race in July 2008 and preview the developments we should be alert to.

> Sound Bite: Yes, It is Possible to Find Humor in Congress
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Relying on gems located in the archives of Members of Congress, Mackaman provides examples of what constituents expect of their representatives. For example, consider this request of former Congressman John Dent: "I am a future inventor. Tell me of some of the inventions of the future so I can start on them now." !

> Teaching with Primary Sources
Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University CONFIRMED

The Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program works with an educational consortium of schools, universities, libraries, and foundations to help teachers use the Library’s vast collection of digitized primary sources to enrich their classroom instruction. Schools that have participated in the program know that it encourages educators to embed primary sources into curriculum through all disciplines and grade levels to build a foundation of knowledge, enhance understanding, increase comprehension, and develop multimedia/information literacy skills.

> From the Campaign Trail: Observations from a Reporter
Tanya Koonce, political reporter, WCBU Radio CONFIRMED

How do reporters decide what to cover in a congressional election? What factors affect their relationships with the candidates? How do they know when they've been "spun"? What qualities or skills are required of political reporters? Koonce, who currently covers the 18th congressional district race to replace retiring Congressman Ray LaHood, will address these questions and more.

> Predicting the Outcome of the Presidential Election
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Historians, political scientists, economists, and hobbyists all have devised various models, some sensible, some strange, to predict the outcome of presidential elections. Mackaman will introduce you to several of them before focusing on the one that has proven the most prescient.

> How to Get Your Point Across to Congress Members
Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates, Washington DC CONFIRMED

How do you break through the "noise" to communicate with a member of Congress? Vance has the answers. She advises clients on how to reach Congress people effectively by understanding how congressional offices function and process information. She will introduce her online advocacy course - something you can use even after the workshop ends.

Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site - http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_programs_CongressClassroom.htm -- to see what participants say about the program.

* Registration *

If you are interested in registering for the Congress in the Classroom® 2008 workshop, you can complete an online registration form found at: http://www.dirksencenter.org/programs_CiCapplication.htm.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center celebrates region’s entrepreneurial achievements with inaugural Momentum Awards

March 5, 2008

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center celebrates region’s entrepreneurial achievements with inaugural Momentum Awards

J.B. Pritzker honored as Entrepreneurial Champion; SAVO receives 2008 Merrick Momentum Award to recognize business success and growth potential

CHICAGO – As part of its ongoing efforts to nurture high-growth businesses and recognize entrepreneurial achievements in the region, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center held the inaugural Momentum Awards last evening and brought together more than 600 people from the business community at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. As part of the night’s events, J.B. Pritzker received the Entrepreneurial Champion Award and SAVO was recognized with the Merrick Momentum Award to acknowledge this high-growth, entrepreneurial business in the Chicago region. SAVO is a leading developer of on-demand sales enablement tools, which has been co-led by John Aiello and Drew Larsen since 1999.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in Chicago is strong and it’s important to recognize those who are instrumental in building businesses in our region,” said David Weinstein, president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, a non-profit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “J.B. Pritzker is a true champion and advocate for Chicago businesses and his impact reverberates throughout the entrepreneurial, technology and venture capital communities.”

J.B. Pritzker is managing partner of The Pritzker Group, a private investment firm, as well as partner and founder of New World Ventures, one of Chicago’s prominent early-stage information technology investors. As a founding member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Pritzker was instrumental in the recruitment and development of the board, as well as a catalyst for the formation of the Illinois Innovation Accelerator (i²A) Fund.

“The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is an incredible resource for businesses in this region, and they are engaged in helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals in securing capital and growing revenue. While it is an honor and privilege to receive this award, we must continue helping entrepreneurs to thrive and grow to help the Chicago region become even stronger,” said Pritzker.

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors selected SAVO for the 2008 Merrick Momentum Award from a field of other prominent emerging companies with strong growth potential including Argo Tea, Inc., BrightStar Healthcare, LLC, and ClaimForce, Inc.

“The Momentum Award is intended to recognize entrepreneurial companies that have shown a solid business track record and are poised for growth,” said Michael Ferro Jr., Chairman and CEO of Merrick Ventures, LLC and Co-Chairman of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors. “Our board saw the remarkable potential in the SAVO organization, and believed that the company was deserving of this honor not only for its past success, but also its great potential to be a dynamic, flourishing company in Chicago.”

SAVO has grown rapidly since they began collaborating with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center in 2004: from 15 employees to 75 today; from two customers to approximately 65 today; and from approximately 700 subscribers to the company’s on-demand application to about 120,000 today. SAVO’s technology is now being utilized by clients including IBM, American Express, Morgan Stanley, ADP, Staples, SPSS, Northern Trust, CareerBuilder.com, and dozens more.

“Our momentum to date is driven by our commitment to meeting the needs of our customers, and we look forward to making Chicago proud as we continue to build our company,” said SAVO CEO John Aiello.

“We are honored and humbled to be selected as the inaugural Merrick Momentum Award winners. Our passion for entrepreneurship and our pride for Chicago combine as we accept this award,” said SAVO President Drew Larsen.

For more information about SAVO, visit www.savogroup.com.

About the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that seeks to make a perceptible and lasting economic impact on the Chicago region by helping entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses build viable, sustainable, and profitable enterprises. The CEC works with entrepreneurs to create and sustain opportunities for business success, job growth, and profitability. To learn more visit www.chicagolandec.org.

Chicagoland Chamber President rips into Stroger's sales tax hike: Callers debate who is the real terrorist in the Gaza Strip fight

Radio Chicagoland is broadcast live on the Internet at www.WCEV1450.c0m if you do not live in the six county Chicago region (more than 11 million residents). You can also get podcasts (for your iPod) and listen to selected past segments online at www.RadioChicagoland.com. The show is broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday live on WCEV 1450 AM Radio from 4 to 6 PM:

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper challenged the unnecessary and punitive increase in the sales tax by Cook County Board President John Stroger, and advised by Burton S. Odelson, Stroger's legal counsel. Roper called the tax unnecessary and noted that it would raise far more funds than Stroger asserts is needed to cover an alleged shortfall in the county budget.

Callers to WCEV 1450 AM Radio participated in an energetic discussion about the war taking place between Israel and Hamas, debating who is the real terrorists, Hamas, which fires Qassem rockets indiscriminately into Israel or Israel, which fires indiscriminately at Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a part of their policy of collective punishment. One Israeli civilian, a little girl, was killed in the Hamas terrorist attack and more than 70 Palestinians, mostly children and civilians, were killed by Israel's repressive and excessive military response. Who's the terrorist? Call in to the next radio show Thursday to continue the discussion.

Joe Boyle, News editor of the Southwest News-Herald discussed billionaire Same Zell's proposal to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field. And The Chicago Tribune's Ray Long provides an overview of the Tony Rezko trial in Chicago and the impact on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.


Monday, March 3, 2008

County Commissioner Larry Suffredin explains his support of the Sales Tax increase for Cook County

This is a statement from Commissioner Larry Suffredin explaining his vote on the sales tax increase for Cook County. While I disagree with his decision to vote to support the Todd Stroger/Burt Odelson sale tax increase in Cook County, I think the commissioner has the right to express his views and share them with our viewers and audience.

We'll certainly invivte him back to the radio show to talk about this issue and debate and discuss it, as professionals always do.

Ray Hanania


At midnight on February 29th President Stroger was threatening to shut down Cook County Government unless his sales tax increase passed. I voted for a compromise that I believe offered the best chance for reforming Cook County and insuring that all vital services continued. I'm not totally happy about the compromise but it was a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.

As you are aware, President Stroger has been working for months to impose a sales tax increase to fund the county's budget. I have fought hard to stop that increase, because I do not believe a tax is necessary. We should reduce our spending to make government more efficient and avoid the tax. I presented many ideas to stop a tax increase that were voted down by the Commissioners supporting President Stroger.

Without the compromise, President Stroger would have totally shut down all services of the County government – including hospitals, courts and the County Jail – which would have adversely affected all citizens, especially the most vulnerable. It would also have opened the County to huge financial liability for damages to those who would have been injured by such a dangerous move.

I chose to prevent such a tragedy by negotiating a compromise with President Stroger just before the midnight deadline for passing a County budget. He initially had insisted on a 2% increase in the County sales tax. I agreed to support only half that amount in return for a major concession on the part of the President.

This was the agreement to have the President give up control of the Bureau of Health. The Bureau is the largest unit of County government and is responsible for most of our current financial problems. The key to the compromise was transfer of control to run the Bureau of Health to a newly created independent Governance Board. Political considerations in hiring and contracting at the Bureau have led to continuing financial shortfalls for the five years I've been on the County Board . The President's office has continued to use this important health resource as a piggybank for jobs and contracts to serve political needs rather than those of our citizens. Last year President Stroger and Dr. Robert Simon, his director of health services, closed clinics and caused thousands of patients to look for health care elsewhere. This act put an unsustainable financial and service burden on non-county hospitals and clinics, which can ultimately result in higher medical costs to all citizens.

The independent Governance Board will for the first time allow Cook County health services to be run by health administration professionals who will know how to deliver services efficiently and to bill and collect for those services in a timely manner. Dr. Simon will be replaced by an appointee of the independent Board.

That was my compromise: a vote for a sales tax reduced to 1% in return for President Stroger surrendering his control of the Bureau of Health and all its patronage jobs and contracts. In the long run this will save Cook County taxpayers millions of dollars and provide the health care services our citizens deserve.I was elected to the County Board to reform this government. I have no apology for my latest decision and my vote for what I think will bring about the most long-lasting true reform. You have my firm commitment to continue fighting to control spending, improve management and working to cut back on these taxes, which I fundamentally believe are not the right solution to running our government.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tuesday's radio show topics: How to fight the sales tax increase

Tuesday, we'll have a series of guests speaking about how voters and residents in Cook County can respond to the punitive sales tax increase imposed by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and his pro-tax minions, including Oak Lawn attorney and stroger adviser Burton S. Odelson and former politically sleazy Chicago Alderman Bill Beavers.

The tax is punitive, but it can be stopped.

Join us. Tuesday 4 to 6 PM WCEV 1450 AM Radio. Call in line is 773-777-1450 ... how will you respond to the punishing tax increase?

Ray Hanania

The shameful conduct of Larry Suffredin and his tax cohorts on the Cook County Board -- shameful

Larry Suffredin is a disappointment. Fortunately for the people of Cook County, he will not be running for Cook County State's Attorney. During his campaign, Suffredin lied that he would represent the rights of voters. But instead, he caved in to the pressure of waste-management County Board President Todd Stroger who has punished the people of Chicago and Cook County with a record high sales tax.

Thanks to Larry Suffredin, CHicago has the dubious honor of having the highest sales tax in the nation.

We remember his quote:

"At this point, I see no need for any increase in taxes. I am opposed to a sales tax because it is regressive and adversely affects the poorest members of the community."—Cook County Commissioner LarrySuffredin. It was posted at Suffredin's web page and repeated on our radio show on RadioChicagoland.com.

Suffredin folded in exchange for clout, backing the lying Todd Stroger who also promised to bring "reform" to the Cook County board. The only reform he has brought is the sleazy politics of former Chicago Alderman Bill Beavers and Oak Lawn's tax champion lawyer Burton Odelson. Beavers and Odelson are far from reformers and were seen on TV reports cheering when Suffredin caved in and the board voted to punish the 5.3 million people of Cook County with a 10.25 percent sales tax in Chicago -- 9 per cent sales tax in the outlying county suburban communities.

The Cook County Board voted to increase the county sales tax from .75 percent to 1.75 percent. When added to the city's sales tax, the county' increase will bring the total Chicago sales tax to 10.25 percent. Yikes!

Will County, a few minutes drive from most southwest suburban communities, only charges a 6.5 percent sales tax and that is where most of us will be driving. DuPage County's sales tax is only 7.75 percent.

We can't wait until November when the tax takes effect -- why so late? Because Stroger and his Odelson-Beaver minions must figure that will give them time to hire 1,100 more patronage workers to rebuild a new Cook County Political Machine and then use it to convince (brainwash) people that paying more in sales taxes from their limited incomes won't be so bad.

Here is what the Chicago Tribune wrote about Larry Suffredin:

"This travesty unfolded because Suffredin—who had labor leaders literally hovering behind him during deliberations—cut a deal that gave his decisive vote (and that $426 million) in new revenue to Stroger. So much for the proud claim in Suffredin's advertising during his recent primary campaign for state's attorney: 'As a reformer, I stood up to Todd Stroger's tax increases.' In return for flipping sides, Suffredin got a concession that sounds good but isn't worth his deal's huge tax bite: Stroger supposedly will relinquish control of the county's patronage-fat Bureau of Health Services to outside directors. Civic, health and labor groups will nominate 20 candidates; Stroger will select nine as directors. Translation: To have a majority—and to keep full control of the health system—Stroger will only need to find five patsies on the list of 20. Suffredin's cave is a huge disappointment. His reversals leave him looking like a wholly owned subsidiary of two unions, the Service Employees International and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Reformer? He is the enabler of Todd Stroger's tax increases."

Shame on you Larry Suffredin. Shame on you Burt Odelson. When the time comes, we will need to oust the entire lot from county government and reverse the Odelson-Suffredin-Stroger sales tax.

It's impossible to sort through the various sales tax, but here is what we have found:

Illinois imposes a 5 percent sales tax. Local communities build on that.

DuPage County:
5.00% .... State of Illinois
2.00% .... Village Share
0.25% .....Regional Transportation Authority
0.25% .... DuPage County
0.25% ..... DuPage Water Commission
7.75% .... Total Sales Tax in DuPage County

Will County
5.00% .... State of Illinois
1.5 % Will County total
6.5 % Total Sales Tax in Will County

The Sales tax borders vary, however:
Orland Park's sales tax rate is 8.5 percent in Cook County and 7.25 percent in Will County.

In Tinley Park, the rate is 7.75 percent in Cook County and 6.5 percent in Will County.

Oak Forest, in Cook County, has a 7.75 percent rate.

In Will County, New Lenox and Lockport have 6.5 percent rates, and Mokena has a 7 percent sales tax rate.

So, why would you shop in Cook County, even if you don't live in high-tax, waste-haven Chicago?

We need to recall Stroger, oust Suffredin and put the pressure on the county board to reverse the tax or suffer the consequences.

Ray Hanania

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on the County Tax Crisis

February 29, 2007

Statement regarding Cook County budget
From Jerry Roper, President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

"Even before this vote, the people and businesses in the Chicago region were shouldering more than $800 million in new taxes this year, and now will pay millions more to support an incredibly inefficient County government," said Jerry Roper. "Chicago now has the unfortunate notoriety of having the highest sales tax in the country, and our region will now be a more expensive place to visit, live, work and operate a business. This impacts our jobs climate and makes our region more expensive and less competitive as our country lies on the brink of recession."

"There was a true opportunity this year to build on the reforms initiated last year. Cook County officials squandered this opportunity, and instead will be adding hundreds of new employees to the county payroll. The people of our region should be outraged," Roper added.

Top National Sales Tax Rates:

Chicago 10.25% (includes 1% Cook County increase)

Memphis 9.25%

New Orleans 9.0%

New York City 8.375%

Los Angeles 8.25%

Overview of Tax Increases in the Chicago region:

November 2007: City of Chicago tax/fee increases - $270 million

January 2008: CTA/RTA .25% Sales and Real Estate Transfer Tax increases
- $530 million

February 2008: Cook County 1% Sales Tax increase - $425 million

About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce:

Since its founding in 1904 as the first regional chamber of commerce in the United States, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce's mission is to make our region the most business-friendly region in America and enhance its members' success through aggressive programs of advocacy, member benefits and services, and actionable information. The Chamber's 2,600 members employ more than 1.2 million individuals in the region. Learn more by visiting www.chicagolandchamber.org <http://www.chicagolandchamber.org/> .

Justin DeJong

Director of Communications

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

200 E. Randolph Street, Suite 2200

Chicago, IL 60601

312-494-6725 (office)

312-636-7666 (cell)

jdejong@chicagolandchamber.org <mailto:jdejong@chicagolandchamber.org>


Upcoming Special Events:

March 13: Applied Innovation Series, Chamber Offices, 8-11am

March 26: The Exchange, Hyatt Regency, 5-7pm

June 9: Annual Meeting of Membership, Sheraton Chicago, 7:45-9am

August 11: Annual Corporate Golf Outing, Beverly Country Club

Visit the Events Calendar on the Chamber's website for additional information and to register for any of these events: