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Roland Burris Tapped for Vacant U. S. Senate Seat

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed former politician and statewide office-holder Roland W. Burris to the United States Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Gov. Blajojevich and Senator replacment Roland Burris at a press conference on Dec. 30, 2008.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

Burris, once an opponent of Blagojevich for the governorship, was chosen for the vacant Senate position “after the Illinois House of Representatives dropped plans to schedule a special election for the spot,” according to Blagojevich.
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Obama: Bush Administration Automaker Plan a “Necessary Step.”

by Mary C. Piemonte 

President-elect Barack Obama Friday described President George W. Bush’s efforts to stave off the financial collapse of the nation’s automakers as a “necessary step.” Speaking at a press conference in Chicago at which he announced four more candidates to his Cabinet, Obama said “Today’s actions are a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry that would have devastating consequences for our economy and our workers.

President-elect Barack Obama talking about Bush administration plan to bail out the Big Three auto industries, before his nomination of four other appointees to his Cabinet for the U. S. Department of Labor, Trade, Transportation, and Small Business, at the Drake Hotel on Dec. 19, 2008.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

“With the short-term assistance provided by this package, the auto companies must bring all their stakeholders together – including labor, dealers, creditors and suppliers – to make the hard choices necessary to achieve long-term viability.
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President-Elect Obama Nominates Former Senator Secretary of Health and Human Services

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Today, President-elect Barack Obama nominated former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle as secretary of health and human services and named him the director of a new White House Office of Health Reform.

In his dual roles, Daschle will not only implement Obama’s vision at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but also have the responsibility of leading health care reform. During a morning press conference at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, Obama said Daschle will be “the White House’s voice on this critical issue.”
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Statement from President-elect Barack Obama on Human Rights Day

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Editor’s Note: Today is Human Rights Day, and due to the time restraints in obtaining direct comments from President-elect Barak Obama in a timely fashion. I have decided to placed the below Statement from him regarding Human Rights Day in its entirety. The information was provided to Residents’ Journal and other news publications by the President-elect’s Transition Team Office.

“When the United States stands up for human rights, by example at home and by effort abroad, we align ourselves with men and women around the world who struggle for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, and to be treated with dignity and respect. We also strengthen our security and well being, because the abuse of human rights can feed many of the global dangers that we confront — from armed conflict and humanitarian crises, to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence.

“So on this Human Rights Day, let us rededicate ourselves to the advancement of human rights and freedoms for all, and pledge always to live by the ideals we promote to the world,” said President-elect Obama.

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The Times They Are A’Changing

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

The indictment and arrest of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge on October 21 is yet another indication that a complete transformation of American life is underway. Along with the presidential election, the indictment of Burge, who has long been suspected of torturing and abusing suspects in the 1980s, shows that the way politics have been conducted in this country for the past 30 years is over. Or to put it in other words, a new generation is stepping up, kicking tail and taking names.

US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (at podium) speaks about the indictment of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge on Oct. 21 while Robert Brent (from left), special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office; Mark Templehof, chief of the criminal section of the civil rights division of the Department of Justice; and Jeffery Cramer, assistant US attorney, look on.
Photo by Anjuli Maniam

Saying that Burge “shamed his uniform and his badge,” Fitzgerald explained that he was charging Burge for lying in court in a 2003 civil case:
“For his lies about torture and abuse, we intend to hold him accountable.”
“Police are sworn to uphold the law when others break it,” Fitzgerald added. “Burge broke the law when he was supposed to uphold it.”
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‘Train Wreck’ Expected for TV Transition

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Time is running out for millions of the nation’s consumers who are unaware and unprepared for the television switch from analog to digital on February 17, 2009.

FCC Comissioner Jonathan Adelstein said during the National Convention on Media Reform in Minneapolis in June 2008 that the FCC’s lack of a technical assistance plan for America’s DTV transition is “an opportunity for a train wreck.”
Photo by Mary C. Johns

With just a few months before the digital television transition, a large number of Americans, especially in the West and Midwest, major metropolitan and rural areas, don’t know how to make sure they continue receiving the over-the-air signals, according to several academic researchers, two members of the Federal Communication Commission and some U.S. Congressmen.
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CHA Seniors Keep Waiting to Return Home

by Mary C. Piemonte 

A Residents’ Journal investigation has found that renovation of three public housing buildings for senior citizens is years overdue, despite previous proclamations from the Chicago Housing Authority that all of its senior buildings have been rehabbed.

Former CHA Bud Britton senior residents Josef Plagov (from left), Wanda Marshall and Judy Backstrom.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

Elderly public housing residents who were relocated from the CHA senior buildings are eagerly waiting to return to their former homes.
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U.S. Reps Call For Moratorium On Public Housing Demolitions

by Mary C. Piemonte 

U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) want the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to “immediately cease approval of all demolition and disposition applications” currently pending from all public housing authorities across the nation.

Ida B. Wells Homes demolition in December, 2007.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

“We believe that the loss of public housing units has now reached epic proportions and further loss of units must be averted immediately for the sake of the nation’s low-income families,” they proclaimed in a joint letter to HUD Secretary Steven Preston dated Aug. 13.
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Harold L. Ickes Homes News

by Jacqueline Thompson 

The lives of Harold Ickes’ residents were disrupted when three buildings out of the remaining 11 were ordered to be vacated of their tenants.

The remaining residents of a building in the Harold L. Ickes Homes move, leaving the three buildings of the 2400 South State St block vacant.
Photo by Jacqueline Thompson

Families moved daily for three months. In the final days, pressure was put on the few remaining families to go, and eventually, no one lived in the three buildings in the 2400 block of South State Street.
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CHA Goes on the Defensive about Child’s Death

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The Chicago Housing Authority recently went on the defensive after a toddler was killed in the Cabrini-Green row houses in June.

Stuffed animals mark the spot where 3-year-old Curtis Cooper’s body was found after being crushed to death by a rod-iron gate at the CHA Cabrini-Green Rowhouses on June 27, 2008.
Photo by Mary C. Johns

The housing authority reacted to media reports stating that the agency was warned by federal housing inspectors about the potential threat of physical harm posed by some rod iron gates and fencing at the North Side public housing development.
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