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Posts tagged ‘Chicago Tribune’

Obamacare Delivers Staggering Knockout Blow To Middle Class.

“And here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a health care plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period” – Barack Obama, September 9, 2009

The hard, cold reality of Obamacare is that it adds $6,200,000,000,000.00 to our national deficit. One of the largest, most impactful laws ever to be passed in American history, and it is 100% based upon a lie.

The Week: ObamaCare has delivered another sucker punch to the middle class. This time it’s sticker shock. Now that most people can get past the tech problems of and actually see the real cost of insurance plans available, they are finding that Affordable Care is a big hit to the family budget. And when the family budget gets hit in the solar plexus, guess what happens to consumer spending and the economy?


In California, policies for about 900,000 Californians are being canceled because of ObamaCare’s mandates, and about two-thirds of these do not qualify for subsidies, according to The Chicago Tribune. The result: These folks will be paying higher premiums.

In Alabama, premiums have doubled for some middle-class families, like that of Courtney Long, a stay-at-home mother of four. She told WHNT News, “It’s devastating. I started crying.”

“I mean, we have worked so hard to get out of credit card debt, get ahead on the car loan, transfer our mortgage to a 15- from a 30-year mortgage… and for what?”

In Tennessee, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander issued an analysis of a White House report and found the following:

    • Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190 percent increase.
    • Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.
    • Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.
    • In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.

In Washington state, ObamaCare will increase the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent on average, according to Forbes.

The list goes on and on and includes Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. But premiums are just the beginning. The deductibles are outrageous, too.

A recent article in The New York Times tells the story of Doug and Ginger Chapman, ages 55 and 54, a middle-class couple “sitting on the health care cliff.” Their annual income of around $100,000 a year makes them ineligible for a subsidy in New Hampshire (if they earned under $94,000, it would cut their costs by half). They have to replace their family insurance which includes the two of them and their two sons. The premium cost alone, not including any deductible, is $1,000 a month, or 12 percent of their income.

The Times‘ analysis found the following:

The cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income. Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income. By that measure, a 50-year-old making $50,000 a year, or just above the qualifying limit for assistance, would find the cheapest available plan to be unaffordable in more than 170 counties around the country, ranging from Anchorage to Jackson, Miss. [The New York Times]

The other group that gets disproportionately hit is the young, according to Forbes. For a 40-year-old, the 2013 average deductible was $4,045, and the monthly cost increased 29 percent to $309. For a 64-year-old man, the monthly cost of a plan with a $3,494 deductible increased 64 percent to $806.

If even a fraction of the middle class and upper middle income earners divert some of their discretionary dollars to pay for health care, it will have a significant impact on consumer spending. What will that mean for the economy? Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the nation’s GDP, although experts say that number is likely to decline.

The top 20 percent of income earners account for about 40 percent of all spending in the U.S. When you increase the costs of health care and the new taxes associated with ObamaCare, you can hear the wallets closing. source – The Week.

by NTEB News Desk.

Jesse Jackson: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Comments Reflect ‘White Privilege’.

Image: Jesse Jackson: 'Duck Dynasty' Comments Reflect 'White Privilege'

By Todd Beamon

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. this week attacked the comments made about African Americans by suspended “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson — contrasting them with what Rosa Parks faced on an Alabama bus in 1955.

“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” Jackson said on Tuesday in a statement published by theChicago Tribune. “Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.'”

Parks refused to obey the driver of a bus in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1955, and give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white person. The incident led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a watershed event in the civil rights movement.

Parks died in 2005 in Detroit at age 92.

Robertson, 67, in an interview in the January issue of GQ magazine, said that he picked cotton with African Americans as a youth in Louisiana and never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” — noting that they were “singing and happy” and that they did not complain about white people.

The remarks, along with disparaging comments about gays, led the A&E cable network to quickly put Robertson on indefinite suspension from the filming of the show’s fifth season.

A&E said that Robertson’s views did not represent those of the network, which has always been “strong supporters of the LGBT community.”

“Duck Dynasty” is about a rural Louisiana family that makes duck calls. One of the highest-rated shows on cable, the program gets an estimated 14 million viewers every week.

While Robertson was slammed by anti-gay groups and others for his remarks, A&E’s move prompted widespread attacks by conservatives and Republican politicians — ranging from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Jackson and his civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, wants A&E to keep Robertson on indefinite hiatus, the Tribune reports. Jackson’s protest included leaders of the LGBT group GLAAD and the National Organization for Women.

“It is unacceptable that a personality who has been given such a large platform would benefit from racist and anti-gay comments,” the groups’ leaders said in the release.

They also are trying to meet with network executives and officials of Cracker Barrel, which briefly removed “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from its shelves but restored them after consumer protests.

“We respect all individuals’ right to express their beliefs,” the company, based in Lebanon, Tenn., said in a released published by the Tribune. “We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Why Skipping Breakfast Won’t Help You Lose Weight.

Breakfast Cereal
There are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t skip breakfast. (Mela/

Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast gets yourmetabolism going for the day. That gives you more energy. If you skip breakfast, you set yourself up to snack during the morning, often on high-fat foods (donuts and sweet rolls). Missing breakfast can also cause you to eat too much food later in the day at other meals.

  • Eating breakfast every day may reduce the risk forobesity and insulin resistance syndrome—an early sign of developing diabetes—by as much as 35 to 50 percent, according to a study presented at a recent American Heart Association conference.
  • Eat whole-grain cereal. Look for cereals that list whole grain or bran as their first ingredient and contain at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Bran cereal and oatmeal contain at least 7 grams per serving, or about 25 percent of the recommended daily intake. Fiber One cereal contains 15 grams of fiber for a half cup.
  • No time is not an excuse. Here’s a quick way to make oatmeal—a great breakfast cereal. Pour one cup of water in a good-sized microwavable bowl (the cereal bubbles up when cooking). Add 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats (steel cut are the best). Just don’t use instant, as they turn into something resembling wallpaper paste. Add a tablespoon of raisins or other dried fruit. You can add cinnamon, nutmeg or maple flavoring (not maple syrup). Microwave four minutes. You can add a few almonds, skim milk or low-fat soy milk. It doesn’t get much faster than that for a quick, hot, nourishingbreakfast.
  • If cereal is not for you first thing in the morning, make a fruit smoothie with yogurt. Or have low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers. Peanut butter spread on whole-wheat toast or a bagel fills you up.
  • Search the fridge for leftovers that are tasty and nutritious. Who says you can’t eat stir-fry in the morning or a slice of whole-wheat vegetarian pizza?!



Steve Reynolds, the “anti-fat pastor,” has served as senior pastor of Capital Baptist Church in Annandale, Va., since 1982. He is the author of Bod4God and Get Off the Couch. Steve launched a weight-loss ministry called “Losing to Live” in his church and nationwide after he lost more than 100 pounds. His story has been featured in local, national and international media, including Fox News, CNN, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. For more information, contact

Justice O’Connor: Supreme Court Should Have Refused Bush v. Gore.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor now says she has doubts about the most controversial case she ever sat on and thinks the high court would have been better if it had refused to hear the 2000 case that decided a presidential election.

In an interview with The Chicago Tribune editorial board, O’Connor said, “It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue.

“Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”

She told the Tribune that the case “stirred up the public” and “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation.”

“Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,” she said. “It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem of the day.”

O’Connor’s vote with the majority in the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision effectively gave victory to Republican George W. Bush over his Democratic opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore.

O’Connor, 83, served for 25 years on the bench before retiring in 2006. She was the first woman to serve on the high court, having been appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

Koch Brothers Making Play for Tribune Newspapers.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are turning their attention to the newspaper industry, with Koch Industries exploring a bid to buy some of the largest papers in the United States.

The conservative brothers have largely avoided media investments in past years, except for financing some libertarian publications. However, The New York Times reports Koch Industries, headed by Charles Koch as chairman and chief executive, is considering a bid to buy the Tribune Company‘s regional newspapers, which include The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel, and The Hartford Courant.

In 2009, the brothers held a seminar for wealthy donors in Aspen, Colo. to outline their 10-year strategy to push for a smaller government with fewer taxes and regulations. Since then, they have worked to educate grass-roots activists and influence politics, but have not made a move toward media ownership.

The Tribune Company is expected to send out financial data about the sale of their newspapers, which still enjoy some of the largest circulations in the United States. Tribune came out of bankruptcy on Dec. 31, and the papers are valued at $623 million.

Koch Industries, an energy and manufacturing group based in Wichita, Kan., has an annual revenue of $115 billion.

The papers are located in several political battleground states, so the Kochs could use them to push some of their more libertarian stances. For example, two of the papers, The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, are Tribune-owned and the largest newspapers in Florida, a key state politically.

Another deal may involve Hoy, the nation’s second-largest Spanish language dailies, which could give the Kochs greater access to Hispanics.

Koch Industries has been holding seminars since 2003, and while one person who attended them said they never heard the Kochs say they want to be involved in newspaper publishing, the brothers have often complained that the conservative voice was not well represented in the media.

Others interested in the newspapers, include a group of Los Angeles residents led by billionaires Eli Broad and Ronald W. Burkle, both prominent Democratic donors. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has also been mentioned.

Tribune wants to sell all eight of its newspapers and their operations as a bundle. If a high enough offer does not come Tribune could opt to keep the papers. The company also owns 23 television stations.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Jack Schaap Faces 10-Year Sentence in Teen Sex Case.


Jack Schaap
Jack Schaap (Twitter)

A megachurch pastor in Indiana is facing at least 10 years in prison and an additional 10 years of supervision upon release for a sexual relationship with a teen girl.

Jack Schaap, former pastor at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., pleaded guilty in September in a U.S. District Court to transporting a minor across state lines for sexual relations. In a January court filing, he requested that he be given the minimum 10-year sentence and blamed the affair on stress and depression.

Racy details of the illicit relationship between Schaap, 55, and an unnamed FBC member who was 16 at the time, have been revealed as he awaits sentencing, which should come this week.

During the sentencing process, prosecutors presented a memorandum that revealed the content of nearly 640 text messages exchanged between Schaap and the teenage girl, who had sought counseling from the former pastor. In some of the messages, sent between June 21 and July 21, Schaap claimed that Jesus Christ had sanctioned their relationship, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“You opened your heart wide to me—you made me more than a Pastor/Rescuer—you made me your friend your confidant, your beloved. You gave me your trust, your heart, your love, + your affection,” Schaap wrote the girl, according to a 23-page document shared by the Tribune.

Reportedly referring to a counseling session with the teen, the married father of two reportedly wrote her, “You have affectionately spoken of being ‘my wife.’ That is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”

There were allegations during the case that the minister and the girl had sex in his office at the church in July, while a youth conference was happening on the premises. Schaap was let go July 31, after a deacon saw a text message on his phone from the teenager, reportedly of the two of them kissing.

The court document, which also mentioned 25 phone calls, was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond. It claims that Schaap courted the girl while juggling duties for the 15,000 member FBC Hammond congregation, which he said in his defense made him “exhausted and depressed” at the time of the relationship.

A sentencing memorandum filed by the pastor’s attorney, Paul Stracci, said Schaap was regularly working 100-hour weeks as he struggled to raise money for the church, handled additional counseling responsibilities and had to lay off staff. The megachurch pastor was also being treated for chronic and acute inflammation of his prostate.

All of these circumstances led to his “aberrant” behavior with the girl who turned 17 during their unlawful relationship. Schaap admitted to adultery and “improper behavior,” and said while pleading guilty in September that his actions were “sinful and wrong.”

“Unfortunately, for a four-week period during the summer of 2012, he acted in a manner contrary to the entire balance of his life by engaging in sexual activity with a young woman with whom he had only recently come to counsel,” Stracci wrote in the memorandum, according to The Associated Press.

“We as a church are praying for the families involved and look forward to a day in the near future when we can restore the name of First Baptist Church in our community,” FBC spokesman Eddie Wilson said.

Wilson said in a statement in September that the church’s members “are deeply saddened by the events that led up to this day.”

He continued: “We are sorry for the victim and the victim’s family as well as the Schaap family. We grieve with all who have been hurt.”

In January, FBC brought on John Wilkerson, from First Baptist Church of Long Beach in California, as its senior pastor.


Former Pastor Jack Schaap Blames Affair With Teen on Personal Problems.

Jack Schaap
Jack Schaap, former pastor at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., has blamed his sexual relationship with a 16-year-old parishioner on personal problems, including stress, health issues and financial woes. (

The former pastor at a megachurch in Indiana has blamed his sexual relationship with a 16-year-old parishioner on personal problems, including stress, health issues and financial woes.

Jack Schaap, 54, led the congregation of 15,000 at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind. for 11 years. The married father of two was let go in July 2012 after a deacon saw a text message on his phone from the teenager, reportedly of the two of them kissing.

Schaap pleaded guilty in September 2012 in a U.S. District Court to transporting a minor across state lines for sexual relations. In a new court filing, he requested that he be given the minimum 10-year sentence and blamed the affair on stress and depression.

A sentencing memorandum filed by the pastor’s attorney, Paul Stracci, said Schaap was under great stress, exhausted and depressed at the time of the relationship.

“Unfortunately, for a four-week period during the summer of 2012, he acted in a manner contrary to the entire balance of his life by engaging in sexual activity with a young woman with whom he had only recently come to counsel,” Stracci wrote in the memorandum, according to The Associated Press.

The memorandum also said Schaap was regularly working 100-hour weeks as he struggled to raise money for the church, handled additional counseling responsibilities and had to lay off staff. The megachurch pastor was also being treated for chronic and acute inflammation of his prostate.

All of these circumstances led to his “aberrant” behavior with the girl who turned 17 during their affair. Schaap reportedly met the girl while counseling students at First Baptist’s schools.

The pastor admitted to adultery and “improper behavior,” and said while pleading guilty in September that his actions were “sinful and wrong.”

The relationship with the girl, who turned 17 one week after the start, lasted from June 1 to July 30. TheChicago Tribune reported that Schaap took the girl from Indiania to Illinois and to Michigan “with the intent that she engage in sexual activity,” according to criminal information.

“While serving as the pastor of First Baptist Church, Dr. Schaap committed his entire life to the service of his local community as well as to the world at large,” said the new court filing, which includes 140 letters of support from Schaap’s family and church members, and will be considered with his sentencing.

“We were known for our happy marriage, and it was not a hypocrisy; it was real,” his wife, Cindy Schaap, wrote in a letter.

“His preaching has helped me to understand a lot about my behavior and has been a great tool in the healing of my marriage and relationship with my children,” church member Paul Collins wrote in another letter.

U.S. Disctrict Judge Rudy Lozano scheduled the sentencing for Jan. 15. However, partly due to the size of the filing and the time needed to respond to it, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Rochelle Koster has asked the judge for a 45-day continuance.


Golden retrievers sent to comfort Newtown survivors.

A pair of golden retrievers in Newtown, Conn. (Yahoo/Dylan Stableford)

NEWTOWN, Conn.—A Lutheran charity group has sent about eight golden retrievers to comfort the survivors of Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Lutheran Church Charities in Addison, Ill., sent the dogs on an 800-mile journey to respond to the disaster.

Lutheran Church Charities President Tim Hetzner told the Chicago Tribune that the dogs “are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone.”

The dogs have traveled around the country to comfort people after disasters. “The dogs have become the bridge,” Lynn Buhrke, 66, who is a handler for a female golden retriever name Chewie, told the Associated Press. “People just sit down and talk to you.”

The dogs’ first stop on Sunday was Christ the King Lutheran Church, where funerals were held for two children killed in the shootings, Hetzner told the AP. “You could tell which ones … were really struggling with their grief because they were quiet. They would pet the dog, and they would just be quiet.”

The comfort-dog initiative started in 2008 at Northern Illinois University after a gunman killed five students. A group of dog caretakers associated with Lutheran Church Charities went to provide a distraction for the student community. The initiative has grown from a handful of dogs in the Chicago area to 60 dogs in six different states, Hetzner said. The LCC website notes that the eight dogs serving in Newtown are Abbi, Barnabas, Chewie, Hannah, Luther, Prince, Ruthie, and Shami.


By  | The Lookout

Under Obama Middle Class Blacks Have Suffered Massive Decrease In Wealth.

Well, you did vote for for change…right?

For months, the presidential candidates have been trying to court the middle class, extending offers of tax cuts, lower gas prices and better schools. The message: America does well when the middle class does well. The corollary: We feel your pain.

But much less attention has been given to the black middle class, which since the recession and slow recovery has suffered massive decreases in wealth and high rates of home foreclosures. Blacks overall are experiencing a 13.4 percent unemployment rate, according to figures released Friday, much higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project recently released a report projecting that 68 percent of African-Americans reared in the middle of the wealth ladder will not do as well as the previous generation.

From 2005 to 2009, the average black household’s wealth fell by more than half, to $5,677, while white household wealth fell 16 percent to $113,149, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2009, 24 percent of black households had no major assets other than a vehicle, compared with 6 percent of their white counterparts.

In August, the National Urban League’s State of Black America 2012 report found that nearly all the economic gains that the black middle class made during the last 30 years have been wiped out by the economic downturn.

“This is a very dire situation,” said Valerie Rawlston Wilson, an economist with the National Urban League Policy Institute. “Even for blacks who have college degrees, we’ve seen a doubling of their unemployment (rate) between 2007 and 2010.”

Roxie King, 63, who lost her job as a cardio echo ultrasound technician in 2010, has been fighting to keep her Chicago home.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul and you’re trying to keep the lights on and it’s a real struggle,” King said. “You go through whatever little nest egg you had, and all you have left is frustration.”

That nest egg is central to the discussion about the middle class. It’s often key to how well a family rebounds after a financial catastrophe, or whether a kid makes it to college. source – Chicago Tribune

by NTEB News Desk

‘Anti-Racists’ Attack White Heritage Group in Family Restaurant.

Related Content

(Tinley Park Police Dept.)

By Andrew Fies

A group of 18 people dressed in black, wearing masks, wielding steel batons and hammers and claiming to be extreme anti-racists allegedly stormed a suburban Chicago family restaurant in broad daylight to assault a meeting of alleged white supremacists, officials said.

Ten people were injured and at least three required treatment for head wounds as a result of the attack Saturday at the Ashford House Restaurant in Tinley Park, Ill., a quiet Chicago suburb.  The restaurant sustained $15,000 in damages including broken plates, glasses and furniture.

“I’ve been mayor for 31 years,” Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki tells ABC News, “and I’ve never heard of anything stranger than this.”

Five of the attackers were caught and have now been charged with aggravated battery, mob action and criminal damage to property, all felonies.  Brothers Jason, Cody and Dylan Sutherlin, along with Alex Stuck and John Tucker are all from Indiana.  The men are connected to the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (H.A.R.M.) whose website now claims them as “The Tinley Park 5?.

Meanwhile the targets of their attack were about a dozen members of the Illinois European Heritage Association, a group linked to the “White Pride” group Storm Front.  Two of these victims were also caught up in the police investigation following the incident: Steven Speers of North Dakota was arrested on an outstanding warrant for possession of child pornography and Francis Gilroy of Florida was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

A restaurant surveillance camera captured some of the melee on video and Zabrocki viewed it before it was turned over to prosecutors as evidence in the investigation.

“You see the door opens up, these 15, 18 people walk in. They’ve got hoods on, they’ve got masks on,” Zabrocki said.

While the confrontation itself happens out of the camera’s view, he said, “You see tables moving into view, food spilling on the floor.  You see them marching out and you see some of the waiters taking swings at them.”

Tinley Park police chief Steve Neubauer said neither of the groups involved had any connection to his town or the restaurant and he was struck by the randomness of the incident.

“There was a college graduation luncheon and a shower going on there.  It’s a nice little family restaurant. You take your mother in law there for mother’s day for breakfast,” Neubauer said.

The meeting of the Illinois European Heritage Association had been frequently mentioned on the “White Pride” webforum  It was called the “5         th Annual White Nationalist Economic summit” and promoted as an opportunity to “work for whites.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist group activity, suggested that H.A.R.M. probably matched the names of those organizing the meeting on to those on a membership list of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement.  But Beckie Williams, one of the attack victims, told the Chicago Tribune that the charge of racism is “ridiculous” and that her Heritage group was only meeting to discuss “economic hardships.”

Meanwhile Zabrocki said he is angry about this “totally bizarre” incident for the law enforcement and emergency response it has required.

“This is going to cost us a bundle … to our town and a bunch of other towns that responded for you know, a bunch of idiots,” he said. “And I’m referring to both sides.”


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