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  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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April 29, 2006 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
FOR TEXT, SCROLL DOWN
 
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Chicago Sun-Times promotes Spanish anthem 
-- Bush says anthem should be sung in English - Terence Hunt 
-- Judy Baar Topinka: Can governor outrace a running 'zombie'? - Rich Miller
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
-- Not the same old song for Bush  President decries Spanish version of U.S. anthem - Mark Silva
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0604290253apr29,1,474806.story
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: What if members of some groups break the law more than members of other groups?
HERALD NEWS
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illegals and organizations that exploit them exploit JESUS CHRIST to intimidate Americans
-- Bush: "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English...I'm not a supporter of boycotts...One of the things that's very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul"
BEACON NEWS
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illegals and organizations that exploit them hope their "Day Without An Immigrant" and "Great American Boycott 2006" will intimidate Americans 
WHEATON SUN
-- Wheaton College Professor Gary Burge: "We believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin"  Wheaton College Provost Stan Jones: "Sexual intimacy belongs within the confines of marriage"
ILLINOIS FAMILY INSTITUTE
-- IFI Challenges Homosexual Group Not to Block Statewide Vote on Marriage Protection Referendum - Peter LaBarbera
FAMILY TAXPAYERS NETWORK
-- Defense of Marriage Petition Drive: Your hard work is already under threat
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
-- Monday’s immigration rally to snarl traffic, not business - 
-- GOP targets Illinois as battleground for House seats - 
DAILY HERALD
-- Respect immigration laws; enforce them - Lisa Brown
-- Congress must lead on immigration issue - Jerry L. Ross
-- Raid rumor sweeps Latinos  Immigration officials say there's no truth to stories of surprise arrests - Georgia Evdoxiadis
(Not posted as of 5:30 AM)
-- Some places may close Monday - 
-- VERY SAD: Mexico set to decriminalize some drug use - Reuters
-- Oh say can Bush si?  Spanish version of national anthem released, much to president’s chagrin - AP
USA TODAY
-- Immigration issues coming to a 'big stop' Boycott planned for Monday, but not all on board - Martin Kasindorf and Judy Keen
-- Spanish mix of national anthem gets red glares - AP
GOPUSA ILLINOIS
-- Birkett, Pankau, and Umholtz speak at outstanding Wheaton Women's Republican Club event - Dave Diersen
Joe Birkett, Carole Pankau, and Stew Umholtz spoke at an outstanding Wheaton Women's Republican Club (WWRC) event Friday evening at St. Daniel's Parish Center in Wheaton.  WWRC President Lori Carlson served as Master of Ceremonies.  As usual, the food and entertainment was outstanding.  Debra Olson announced that sadly, John Noel's heath is failing rapidly.  Attendees included Stan Austin, Sal Falbo, Mike Formento, Mike Fortner, Mike Gresk, Randy Hultgren, Joyce Hundhausen, J.R. McBride, Pam Mitroff, Gary Muehlfelt, Leonard Sanchez, Ron Smith, and Mark Stern.
-- Wheaton Parade Update - Dave Diersen
The City of Wheaton gives the Wheaton Jaycees about $30,000 each year for Independence Day activities including the parade.  According to Wheaton City Clerk Emily Consolazio: 1) The Wheaton Jaycees asked Consolazio if Wheaton needed to review or approve their new parade rules, 2) Emil asked Wheaton City Manager Don Rose if Wheaton needed to review or approve the new parade rules, 3) Rose asked Wheaton City Attorney Jim Knippen if Wheaton needed to review or approve the new parade rules, 4) Knippen told Rose no, 5) Rose told Consolazio no, and 6) Consolazio told the Wheaton Jaycees no.   Wheaton Mayor Jim Carr has not returned my phone call.  Wheaton City Councilman mayoral candidate Tom Mouhelis is looking into the matter.  I have asked Knippen to issue a legal opinion ASAP that declares the Wheaton Jaycees' new parade rules to be unconstitutional because they discriminate against township, county, state, and federal elected officials and candidates.  
-- Illinois Minuteman Project Director Rosanna Pulido to speak at May 20 TAPROOT Republicans breakfast meeting in Lombard - Dave Diersen
Illinois Minuteman Project Director Rosanna Pulido will speak at the May 20 TAPROOT Republicans breakfast meeting at the Old Country Buffet, 551 East Roosevelt Road, in Lombard.  The meeting will start at 8:30 AM.  For information, phone Dave Diersen at 630-653-0462. 
-- Andrew T. Ford, recently retired President of Wabash College in Indiana, buys a luxury home in DuPage County Milton Precinct 9 - Dave Diersen
 
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD: Chicago Sun-Times promotes Spanish anthem 
Mixed reception for Spanish anthem - Rummana Hussain 
A few Chicago area disc jockeys aired the Spanish version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Friday, but at least one operations manager for several Latino-friendly radio stations refrained from playing it because he felt the national anthem should be sung in English only.

It was unclear which local stations the New York-based Urban Box Office record label sent "Nuestro Himno" ("Our Anthem") to.

Programming directors at hip rock stations like the Loop and Q101 never received a MP3 version that was e-mailed to several Hispanic outlets and the equally popular B-96 on Friday.

"B-96 is going to play the song so our audience can have a chance to hear it and voice an opinion," music director Erik Bradley said. "It's a hot topic in the news, and we feel it's important to be on top of it."

Thirty-five percent of B-96's listeners are Latino.

Urban Box Office President and CEO Adam Kidron encouraged radio managers across the country to play the tune simultaneously at 6 p.m., Chicago time, in honor of Monday's immigration rights rally and to show "solidarity in appreciating the generosity of America."

Univision Radio's operations manager Cesar Canales didn't take up Kidron's offer. Canales, who is of Mexican origin, refused to play "Nuestro Himno" on the bilingual station La Kalle and his company's two Spanish-language music stations, WOJO-FM and WPPN-FM.

'The ideals of freedom'

Translating the anthem for those who don't understand English for "definition purposes" is one thing. But airing the Francis Scott Key-penned tune in Spanish is "wrong," Canales said, adding that many of the stations' on-air personalities support next week's demonstration.

"It's the national anthem. It should be in the language of the nation," he said.

But Kidron said the song, which features Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon, actually promotes what makes the United States so special.

"The intention of recording 'Nuestro Himno' has never been to discourage immigrants from learning English and embracing American culture," Kidron said. "We instead view 'Nuestro Himno' as a song that affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' the American flag, and the ideals of freedom that they represent."

A disc jockey at Gospel Radio AM-1390, owned by Clear Channel, which also operates top-rated rhythm and blues station WGCI-FM 107.5 and WVAZ-FM V-103, said Friday night the three stations had not received the song.

Bush says anthem should be sung in English - Terence Hunt 

http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-anthem29.html

WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Friday the national anthem should be sung in English -- not Spanish -- in a blunt rejection of a new Spanish-language version. He also opposed a national work stoppage called for Monday to dramatize the importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

''I'm not a supporter of boycotts,'' Bush said, while restating his support for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.

Bush made his comments at a Rose Garden news conference as a Spanish-language version of ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' hit the airways. The son features artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.

Called ''Nuestro Himno'' -- ''Our Anthem'' -- the Spanish version rewrites some of the English version.

''I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English,'' Bush said.

Monday's planned boycott and the emergence of a Spanish-language anthem are ingredients in a national debate on how to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

'Prouder to be Americans'

Congress is struggling to deal with the issue. The House and Senate are moving on opposite tracks.

Acknowledging it has become a highly charged topic, Bush said. ''One of the things that's very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul.''

British music producer Adam Kidron, who came up with the idea of the Spanish anthem, said it was not intended to discourage immigrants from learning English or embracing American culture.

''We instead view 'Nuestro Himno' as a song that affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent,'' Kidron said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he would introduce a resolution Monday ''giving senators an opportunity to remind the country why we sing our national anthem in English.''

Noting that America is a nation of immigrants, Alexander said, ''We are proud of the countries we have come from, but we are prouder to be Americans.''

Judy Baar Topinka: Can governor outrace a running 'zombie'? - Rich Miller

http://www.suntimes.com/output/otherviews/cst-edt-mill28.html

I have this image in my head of Judy Baar Topinka that I can't shake. It came to me after she won the Republican gubernatorial primary last month and it won't go away.

She's a zombie monster.

I don't mean that literally. It's not like I expect to see her wandering the streets chewing peoples' faces off. I mean politically.

As any horror film buff knows, it isn't easy to kill an undead zombie monster. The heroic victims try and try, but nothing seems to work at first.

Look back at what happened in the primary. Topinka's Republican opponents spent about $15 million. Millions of that were spent on blatantly dishonest negative advertising. One of the candidates even aired a TV ad showing her dancing a polka with George Ryan.

None of it worked. Topinka's final result was right about where she was in the first poll taken last year. Her Republican opponents threw everything they had at her and she walked away clean.

Not only that, but four straight polls taken since primary day have shown her leading Gov. Blagojevich. The latest poll, conducted by Scott Rasmussen, had her ahead of the Democratic incumbent by six points. After the primary four years ago, Rod Blagojevich was leading his Republican opponent Jim Ryan by a whopping 18 points.

Sure, it's early and a lot can happen between now and November, but keep in mind that this is a solidly Democratic state. And as a group, our state doesn't care much for Republicans. The latest SurveyUSA poll has President Bush's job approval rating at just 29 percent in Illinois, while 67 percent disapprove.

And yet (cue spooky music) Topinka is still ahead.

At this point in the horror movie, stunned scientists or frightened citizens would huddle together to plot their next move. Maybe they'd decide to shoot the zombies, or whack them with chainsaws. But their first attempts would almost certainly be doomed.

Blagojevich has spent about $5 million on television ads this year, compared to just $1.4 million for Topinka. He's been running TV spots almost nonstop since February, but he can't knock Topinka's numbers down far enough to take the lead.

The Blagojevich people believe that the key to figuring out how to "kill" this zombie is women. Nationally, there is a huge gender gap right now. A recent L.A. Times poll showed women prefer a Democratic congress 58 percent to 30 percent, while men prefer a Republican Congress 41 to 39. Yet every poll since the primary shows Topinka leading Blagojevich among women.

Blagojevich is trying to find a way to get Illinois women to go along with the national trend. That's why he's tried to tie Topinka to President Bush in one of his TV ads, and slammed her on her assault weapons position in another. It's why children populate his positive ads (the few times they run these days), and why convicted felon George Ryan is now front and center in his newest spot.

This would be the classic shotgun approach to killing zombies, and shotguns do work in some zombie movies. Maybe this will work for Blagojevich; maybe it won't.

Blagojevich may have to take the ''South Park'' route. In one episode of the cable TV cartoon series, the boys had to figure out what was causing the zombie outbreak before they could stop it. Worcestershire sauce turned out to be the culprit (hey, it's a cartoon).

I'm not sure that the governor's campaign has yet discovered what made Topinka a politically unkillable zombie monster in the first place. But I do believe they'll have to do this before the campaign is over, and I'm positive the answer is not Worcestershire sauce.

Right now they're going after what they think are Topinka's weaknesses. What they need to do is attack her strengths. If they don't, their expensive little movie may not have a happy ending.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Not the same old song for Bush  President decries Spanish version of U.S. anthem - Mark Silva
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0604290253apr29,1,474806.story
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Friday that "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be sung in English and that the national anthem would not hold the same value when sung in Spanish.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," Bush said in response to a question at a Rose Garden news conference. "People who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

The president's remarks come as a Spanish-language pop version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is being circulated to Spanish-language radio stations, with proceeds from the single "Nuestro Himno" supporting national marches of organizations rallying for immigration reform that could lead to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers in the U.S.

Bush, a Republican who has found some success in courting the traditionally Democratic Hispanic vote in Texas and in two presidential campaigns, likes to pepper his speeches with an occasional Spanish word or phrase. So the assertion that "The Star-Spangled Banner" needs no translation could have a jarring ring to some Latinos who have heeded his call.

But a president struggling with low approval ratings has found firm political ground with this position, experts on the Hispanic vote in the U.S. say.

"National anthems are symbols of a culture and symbols of what the majority of the country believes in," said Sergio Bendixen, a pollster who has surveyed Hispanic voters.
 
DIERSEN HEADLINE: What if members of some groups break the law more than members of other groups?
Minorities stopped at higher rate in DuPage - James Kimberly
Two-thirds of DuPage County's police departments stopped minorities at a rate disproportionately higher than their share of the community's population, according to a report released Friday.

Data compiled from traffic tickets and warnings written in 2005 by 33 DuPage County police agencies show 22 ticketed a higher percentage of non-white drivers than the percentage of non-whites that live in the community.

The numbers are almost identical to 2004, the first year that Illinois police departments were required by state law to tabulate the race of stopped motorists.

For example, census figures show that 18.9 percent of the 22,860 people who live in Darien are non-white. But the percentage of non-white drivers issued tickets or written warnings by Darien police was 32.48 percent.

The ratio was one of the highest reported for DuPage County.

Darien Police Chief Robert Pavelchik said the explanation is simple--Darien has many major roads passing through it and motorists from outside the community use them.

"To me that's comparing apples to oranges," Pavelchik said. "I would like to have the data of my motoring public and compare that. Tell me who is driving through my town."

Pavelchik noted the percentage of non-whites and whites who received written warnings instead of traffic citations was almost identical, indicating officers are treating stopped motorists equally.

"Racial profiling is wrong. You don't stop people for their color. You stop them for a violation," Pavelchik said.

The data have been submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation for inclusion in a statewide report due to be released July 1.

"I think [the data show] the professionalism of DuPage County police departments. We have made a decision not to get involved in racial profiling, and I think that it showed here," Naperville Police Chief David Dial.
HERALD NEWS
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illegals and organizations that exploit them exploit JESUS CHRIST to intimidate Americans
JOLIET — The local immigrant community and their supporters have decided it is time for them publicly to add their voices to the throng throughout the nation calling for the legalization of undocumented immigrants.

On Monday, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 205 E. Jackson St., will host a rally for immigrant families.

"I think we were inspired with what happened in Chicago," said Alfredo Melesio, Mount Carmel parish president, of the decision to host a rally in Joliet.

In addition a separate area contingent including an organization known as Somos la Comunidad or "We are the community" will travel to Chicago to participate in an equal-rights march. Gatherings also will take place in Aurora, Rockford and throughout the state.

Melesio said Monday's event at Mount Carmel is open to everyone and geared toward families.

The two-and-a-half hour rally will include "The Star-Spangled Banner," the pledge of allegiance, music and speeches by local dignitaries including Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch and Mayor Art Schultz, Melesio said.

"We are going to have a really positive rally," Melesio said.

He said organizers want a common-sense solution to reform the immigration process.

"The point is that we should give them a path to citizenship," Melesio said.

Meanwhile the groups traveling to Chicago to participate in rallies will meet at Azteca de Oro, 1013 Collins St., to board buses.

"We have to come together," said Maria Pedraza, one of the organizers, of joining the larger demonstration.

Oscar Pina will carry the Joliet group's "cross of the immigrant," a crucifix depicting Christ featuring an American flag and handcuffs. The cross represents the daily struggle of immigrants, those who have died at the border, families torn apart by immigration and the people who currently help undocumented residents and may face prosecution for their actions, Pina said speaking through an interpreter.

The cross has been carried at rallies around the country, and Pina plans to take it to more demonstrations in hope that it will change people's minds about immigrants.

The buses for Chicago will leave Azteca de Oro by 8 a.m. The rally at Mount Carmel starts at 9:30 a.m.

Bush: "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English...I'm not a supporter of boycotts...One of the things that's very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul"

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/top/4_1_JO29_BUSH_S1.htm

BUSH WEIGHS IN ON ANTHEM - AP

WASHINGTON — A Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" made its debut Friday and got a quick thumbs down from the White House reviewer-in-chief.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," President Bush said.

He also expressed his distaste for a national work stoppage called for Monday to dramatize the importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

"I'm not a supporter of boycotts," Bush said, while restating his support for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.

Bush made his comments at a Rose Garden news conference as a Spanish-language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," hit the airwaves featuring artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.

The Spanish version — called "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem" — rewrites some of the English version. For instance, the second stanza says: "My people keep fighting. It's time to break the chains."

"I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," Bush said.

Monday's planned boycott and the emergence of a Spanish-language anthem are ingredients in a national debate over how to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. It is an issue that has sent hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets of major U.S. cities to demand the lowering of citizenship barriers. Congress is struggling to deal with the issue, and the House and Senate are moving on opposite tracks.

"I understand how difficult this issue is for some people here in Washington and around the country," Bush said. His approach calls for a temporary guest worker program, tougher enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants, and more stringent border controls.

Acknowledging that it has become a highly charged topic, Bush said, "One of the things that's very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul."

British music producer Adam Kidron, who came up with the idea of the Spanish anthem, said it was not intended to discourage immigrants from learning English or embracing American culture.

"We instead view 'Nuestro Himno' as a song that affords those immigrants who have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent," Kidron said in a written statement.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he would introduce a Senate resolution Monday "giving senators an opportunity to remind the country why we sing our national anthem in English." Noting that America is a nation of immigrants, Alexander said, "we are proud of the countries we have come from, but we are prouder to be Americans."

Monday's protest is dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants." Activists are urging immigrants across the United States to skip work, avoid spending money and march in the streets. But there are concerns that such protests will make immigrants look anti-American, annoy the public and alienate lawmakers in Washington.

Senate leaders, meanwhile, edged closer to an agreement that could clear the way for passage of broad immigration legislation.

Harry Reid, the Senate's Democratic leader, told reporters he was dropping two demands that contributed to gridlock several weeks ago. He said he no longer would insist that conservative critics be limited to three chances to change the bill before it passes. And he said he no longer would try to dictate which Republicans are named to negotiate a final bill with the House.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has said he wants votes on 20 or more amendments, and that it is not up to Democrats to decide which Republicans are picked to bargain with the House. At the same time, he has been meeting privately with fellow Republicans this week to reduce the number of amendments.

Reid made his comments three days after a White House meeting that was designed to impart fresh momentum in the drive for election-year legislation. Senators of both parties emerged from the session praising the president's involvement.

Supporters of the Senate legislation claim roughly 70 votes for their bill. It includes provisions to strengthen the nation's borders, expand a guest worker program and give many of the nation's illegal immigrants an eventual opportunity to become citizens.

Legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House last year is limited to border security, and makes illegal immigrants vulnerable to criminal felony charges.

BEACON NEWS
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illegals and organizations that exploit them hope their "Day Without An Immigrant" and "Great American Boycott 2006" will intimidate Americans 
AURORA — From assembly lines to checkout lines, local businesses will be unusually quiet Monday as thousands of employees take a day off from working and shopping to demonstrate the economy's dependence on immigrants.

"We're going to close the restaurant because no one's going to come in," said Lupe Valencia, owner of Restaurant Tecalitlan in downtown Aurora.

That "no one" includes all her employees and a large part of her Latino customer base, who will be taking part in a national, grass-roots movement that has been embraced by millions across the country.

Known by some as the "Day Without An Immigrant" or "Great American Boycott 2006" in different regions of the country, the idea is the same: to show policymakers what would happen if immigrant workers and consumers were not around.

The demonstration comes as Congress continues to debate immigration reform packages that range from amnesty programs for immigrants who are now here illegally to stricter enforcement and an enormous fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Because the movement is so decentralized, it is difficult to say how many people intend to participate.

But many businesses in Aurora said they expect to be affected, especially those in the service, construction and manufacturing industries.

At least 50 small businesses have agreed to close for the day in support of the movement, according to the May 1st Coalition of Aurora, which is organizing a march through Aurora that is expected to draw thousands of protesters.

A significant number of other stores and factories in the area are also likely to close simply because they cannot get enough staff to come in.

Skeleton crews

Other companies are planning to run on skeleton crews.

Ricardo Garcia, owner of the El Guero grocery store on Aurora's near East Side, said about 90 percent of his 120 workers are taking the day off, but he decided to keep the store open to serve his customers as well as his employees who can't afford to miss a day's wages.

The Milgard Windows factory on Aurora's West Side is planning to limit production for the day because about half of its 120 employees have asked for the day off.

Jeffrey Clement, the factory's human resources manager, said the company is granting all the vacation requests as a way of supporting its workers — and indicating the national manufacturing company's agreement that America is in desperate need of immigration reform.

"I can't tell you how many people we're not able to hire because they're not legal immigrants," Clement said.

Importance of workers

Although the potential for widespread work stoppages has been contentious in some parts of the country, most in the local business community said they were either in favor of the demonstration or at least not opposed to it.

After all, business owners know better than most exactly how much they depend on the labor of immigrants and first-generation Americans.

"Do we realize how important they are to us? Of course we do," said Scott Ascher, the owner of Walter Payton's Roundhouse Complex in Aurora. Ascher said his staff had to do some rearranging of schedules to keep the business running on Monday, but he gave a day off to any employee who wanted it.

"We're doing what we can to help everybody get what I think they deserve — citizenship," he said.

Business will go on

Most of the area's largest employers — major factories or governmental bodies — said they don't expect to be significantly impacted.

Organizations with hundreds of employees either have enough staff to accommodate vacation days for everyone who wants one or have employee contracts that don't permit essential personnel (like health and safety officials) to take off en masse.

Even businesses without significant numbers of immigrants on staff are likely to be affected by participants refusing to buy anything on Monday.

"What we hear from our customers is they're not going to work, they're not going to shop, they're not going to do anything," Valencia said.

The owner of downtown Aurora's oldest surviving restaurant and a naturalized U.S. citizen herself, Valencia said she supports the cause of immigration reform even if the entrepreneurial side of her will miss the day's revenue.

"It is going to be hard on the economy, but maybe it will make (Congress) think twice before they pass new laws."

WHEATON SUN
Wheaton College Professor Gary Burge: "We believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin"  Wheaton College Provost Stan Jones: "Sexual intimacy belongs within the confines of marriage"
Bus stops for gay rights - Ron Pazola
The Soulforce Equality Riders, composed of 33 gay activists, parked their bus for two days last week at Wheaton College to convey their message that homosexuality is neither an illness nor sinful.

The Rev. Billy Graham's alma mater is among 19 stops in two months for Soulforce.

Soulforce, a Christian gay-rights group, says it uses tactics borrowed from the 1961 Freedom Ride for civil rights. The goals are to seek equality for gay students at Christian colleges and raise a new generation of gay activists.

Jacob Reitan, 24, organized the Equality Ride, a seven-week bus tour traveling across the U.S. to confront 19 religious schools and military academies that ban the enrollment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

As the Equality Riders filed out of the bus April 20, they were greeted by Wheaton College students and staff, who smiled and shook the hands of Soulforce participants.

"We're hopeful that God will manifest himself today and that the truth will be revealed in meaningful discussion," College Provost Stan Jones told the riders. "We hope our students reflect well what our school is all about."

Reitan told a reporter that he appreciated Wheaton College's hospitality but didn't want to sugarcoat Soulforce's visit.

"Wheaton is categorically different from most schools," he said. "Wheaton College not only expels students who practice homosexuality but who also affirm homosexuality. We do not believe that students should have to face this kind of discrimination."

College officials disagree.

"Sexual intimacy belongs within the confines of marriage," Jones said. "We don't single out homosexuals, but we do stand on historical and biblical Christian beliefs that have remained the same over the centuries."

College officials emphasize that Soulforce won't have any impact on the community covenant that students must sign that forbids all sex outside marriage and says homosexuality is a transgression against God.

"Religious institutions have certain boundaries," said Gary Burge, a New Testament professor at the college. "We believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin."

Esther Lee, president of the Wheaton College student body, said she welcomes dialogue with Soulforce members.

But Paul Canaday, a 1991 Wheaton graduate who is gay, said he isn't sure how receptive he would have been to a group like Soulforce.

"If a person was aware that he or she was gay, it was 'something I was battling' or 'hoping I would get over,' so I don't know how welcoming I would have been at that time," he said.

Letters were read at the college April 20 that were written by gay students across the U.S. who felt anguish over their sexuality and who experienced discrimination and cruelty because of their sexual orientation.

The letters were in response to Soulforce founder Mel White's book, "Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America."

That evening, a public forum was held in which Wheaton College faculty, students and SoulForce participants discussed the theological, biblical and moral issues concerning homosexuality.

The Equality Ride began March 5 in Washington, D.C. Its first stop was the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where participants were arrested after a nonviolent confrontation with police.

ILLINOIS FAMILY INSTITUTE
IFI Challenges Homosexual Group Not to Block Statewide Vote on Marriage Protection Referendum - Peter LaBarbera
Garcia Claims Campaign Will Lead to 'Harassment'
Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera today challenged homosexual activist Rick Garcia not to try to stop the Protect Marriage Illinois (PMI) referendum from getting on the ballot, saying, "Since Garcia claims the polls are on his side, why would he block a popular vote?"

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn today reported that Garcia's group, Equality Illinois, "is planning to challenge" the PMI petition. Garcia was responding to news that Protect Marriage Illinois will be submitting the required number of signatures (283,111) by May 8 to get a question on the November ballot. The referendum asks voters whether to call on the General Assembly to pass a constitutional amendment declaring "a marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

Garcia said, "I'm anticipating three to four months of outrageous, disgusting anti-gay rhetoric and harassment"--to which LaBarbera responded: "What he calls 'harassment' most other Illinois citizens say is a healthy debate. What is Garcia afraid of? This is democracy in action."

Across the country, all 19 states that have attempted pro-marriage referenda have passed them, by an average vote of over 70 percent.

LaBarbera noted the irony of Garcia's "harassment" claim, "since the most menacing people we've encountered are Rick's friends at the 'Gay Liberation Network,' who have engaged in repeated physical and verbal threats against IFI and pro-marriage advocates."

Garcia continues to tout a 2005 poll--commissioned by his own group--claiming that 67 percent of Illinois voters oppose amending Illinois' Constitution to protect marriage. Various news outlets including the State Journal Register have reported on the poll without mentioning that it is commissioned by and for a homosexual group.

PMI Project Director David Smith said, "If Garcia really believes that 67 percent of Illinois voters don't want a Marriage Protection amendment, he should help us circulate our petition in these final days so that the entire state of Illinois can have the opportunity to vote on this important question."
 
FAMILY TAXPAYERS NETWORK
Defense of Marriage Petition Drive: Your hard work is already under threat
"Once more into the breach dear friends, once more!"   -- Shakespeare's King Henry V rallying his weary English soldiers for one more charge against the French at the siege of Harfleur in 1415.
 
Can you come to the defense of marriage just one more time in the next four days?   Can you get a few more petition sheets with signatures?   Or, if you haven't yet helped out - would you do so now?
 
So many of you have already done so much.   The energy we've seen from true grassroots volunteers and people of faith has been truly phenomenal.   The Illinois political scene hasn't experienced anything like this Defense of Marriage Petition Drive in decades - if ever.  Your work and dedication are already destined for the history books.
 
But we can't let up now.  Your hard work is already being threatened by the advocates of gay marriage.
 
We'll file in excess of the minimum 283,111 signatures with the State Board of Elections on the May 8th deadline.   Thanks to you, we already have the minimum to get this question on the ballot.  BUT WE STILL NEED A BIGGER CUSHION OF MORE SIGNATURES.
 
RICK GARCIA, a leading Chicago gay activist and outspoken enemy of traditional marriage, tells the Chicago Tribune this week that his organization plans to file legal challenges against our petitions - your petitions - once we file them on May 8th.
 
You may know Rick Garcia as the nasty name-caller who slanders any defender of traditional marriage as a "bigot" - including Catholic leader Cardinal George.
 
Just last week Mr. Garcia was quoted saying he welcomed a joint poll with our side to find out where Illinois citizens stand on the question of amending the Illinois Constitution to protect marriage.  But now that we're so close to getting a ballot referendum that would truly allow the most accurate poll possible - Mr. Garcia is changing his tune and threatening to short-circuit the open democratic process.
 
We should expect all kinds of nasty, underhanded tactics before this project is complete.   We can expect all sorts of shameful, vicious attacks.  The advocates of gay marriage will try any dishonest means and intimidation tactic to hide their true agenda as they seek to prevent Illinois voters from simply weighing-in on this crucial public policy issue in November.
 
What are they afraid of?   Why do they loathe our American democratic process so much?  We just don't have the luxury of wasting time worrying about our opponents' motives right now.
 
We need your help to get more signatures so that we can safely withstand any challenge at the Board of Elections.   Here's the reality - the challenge process is tilted against us.   For example, a state employee at the Board of Elections can invalidate a good signature simply because the employee feels the signature on a petition doesn't sufficiently look like that person's signature on file with the Board of Elections - a signature that might have been recorded years before.  Good signatures are invalidated all the time in these objection proceedings. 
 
The system is stacked in favor of the petty lawyers.  That's just the reality in Illinois.
 
Our legal team is ready too.   But our best defense is for us to file the most signatures possible at the start.
 
So we urge you to get out there just one more time in these final days - "Once more into the breach dear friends, once more!"
 
Here are just a few suggestions for these final days:
  • Take some petition forms to your Church this Sunday if you haven't already done so.
  • Gather petitions in high foot-traffic areas like in front of a store or restaurant in your neighborhood.  Bring a friend or two to make it more fun.
  • Consider circulating the petition at a sporting or school event you might be attending with your kids.
If you need more copies of the petition, they can be downloaded here: http://www.protectmarriageillinois.org/MarriageReferendumPetition.pdf
 
Completed petitions should be notarized and mailed back to us right away.
 
And don't hesitate to call us any time at 847/373-0741 if you need help or have any questions.

CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
Monday’s immigration rally to snarl traffic, not business - 
Downtown Chicago restaurants and retailers are not worried about losing business Monday afternoon during an immigration rights march that is being billed as the largest rally to take place in the city in at least a decade.

There are typically 600,000 people working in the Loop on an average day. On Monday, that figure is expected to roughly double as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators participate in a noon march that cuts right though the heart of the Loop.

Chicago Police Department officials are expecting roughly 300,000 people will attend while event organizers put the figure close to 500,000.

Businesses lining Jackson Boulevard, which is part of the march route, are taking the event in stride. They say a similar event held March 10 that drew close to 100,000 people to Federal Plaza did not deter patrons from coming through their doors.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect us,” said Chris Fabrizio, a manager at Potbelly Sandwich Works located on West Jackson at Financial Plaza. “The other march didn’t affect us.”

Monday’s event begins at 10 a.m. in Union Park on the city’s West Side. At noon, demonstrators will set off east on Randolph Street, south on Des Plaines Street, east on Jackson Boulevard to Columbus Drive and end in a 3 p.m. rally at Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field.

Officials for the Chicago Hilton and Towers are treating Monday’s event like any other large gathering at Grant Park.

“We’re used to large events in Grant Park and that has not inhibited us in the past and so we don’t expect this one to inhibit us,” said Robert Allegrini, regional director of public relations for Hilton Hotels.

Cities across the country are holding marches and rallies on May 1 to support changes in the nation’s immigration policy and call for the legalization for all immigrants and support rights for immigrant workers. Some organizers have chosen to mark May 1, also known as International Workers’ Day, as a boycott where immigrants are asked to stop working and shopping in a show of their presence and economic power.

Chicago’s organizers, which include the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Casa Michoacan and the Local 1 and 73 chapters of the Service Employees International Union, have chosen not to bill their event as a boycott.

“I think a boycott is an extremely powerful weapon that needs to be carefully used and only when necessary,” said Gabe Gonzalez, director of organization for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Some businesses, from ethnic groceries to Cargill Inc., are shutting down Monday to allow workers to attend Monday’s event.

Officials at the Chicago Loop Alliance, which represents downtown businesses, said their members were concerned about navigating the streets, not lost sales.

“People are more concerned about the disruption to the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” said Ty Tabing, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance.

When participants disbanded from the March 10 Federal Plaza event at roughly the same time downtown workers were starting their commute home, Chicago Transit Authority and Metra train stations were overwhelmed.

The same could happen Monday as the 3 p.m. rally might have crowds out of the city along with daily workers.

CTA officials said they have made provisions such as adding cars and buses to accommodate for Monday’s crush.

GOP targets Illinois as battleground for House seats - 
The National Republican Party is pouring unprecedented resources into races for U.S. House seats here—a sign of Illinois’ rare position in this election cycle of actually having competitive contests in multiple districts.

The Republicans are looking for about 30,000 sq. ft. of office space in the western suburbs to serve as a base for field operations in the 6th District, where the GOP hopes to elect state Sen. Peter Roskam to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, and for efforts in the 8th District, where Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean is being targeted, party insiders report.

The facility also could be used to help the as yet unselected GOP nominee for a seat in western Illinois being vacated by Democrat Lane Evans, and for some local contests.

Much of the cost of the operation reportedly is coming from the Republican National Committee, which also has two staffers in the state working to boost grassroots party activities.

Illinois GOP Chairman Andrew McKenna, Jr., says an effort of this type “has not happened before” in Illinois, largely because most area districts are overwhelmingly Democratic or Republican, with any real challenge occurring in the spring primary rather than in the fall general election. But this year is different, with Ms. Bean’s district considered nominally Republican and Democrats making gains in what once was a solidly Republican 6th District.

Mr. McKenna did not say how much the national party is spending—another source familiar with the matter termed the figure “substantial”—but did say what will occur here is based on what happened in 2004 in Ohio, where the GOP focused on voter identification and mobilization and other grassroots activities at which Democrats usually are better.

“The state party has forged a close relationship with the Republican National Committee, and these are very targeted races nationally,” Mr. McKenna said.

The Republican strategy worked well in Ohio, giving President George W. Bush the votes he needed to lock up his re-election.

Mr. Roskam is being opposed by Iraqi war veteran Tammy Duckworth. Ms. Bean faces businessman David McSweeney.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, who heads Democratic House efforts nationally, cautioned that Republicans will have to be careful not to improperly mix national and local political funds, both “hard” dollars raised under federal law and “soft” party-building money. By law, some activities are supposed to be kept separated and uncoordinated, he noted.

Mr. Emanuel said he doesn’t know what the Democratic National Committee might be doing to help Democratic House candidates here—“I’m not allowed to know. I’m on the outside of the wall”—but added, “I’m sure they will be active.”

DAILY HERALD

Respect immigration laws; enforce them - Lisa Brown 

http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/fencepost.asp

America has gotten too soft on illegal immigrants.

My grandparents, along with the many, many, immigrants who came to this country back in the early 1900s, and 1920s, were honest, hard-working individuals who truly wanted to become, and who were honored to become American citizens.

They had to become citizens the right way; the legal way. They were required to learn the Constitution; they were required to learn the English language, and they were proud to learn these things. Why is it that now, America has softened its requirements on illegal immigrants?

Why is it that now, these illegal immigrants do not care to learn our language and become true Americans?

America should have one language, and the citizens here should honor one flag.

That is not to ignore anyone’s heritage. Our family’s heritage was kept alive, but our heritage’s language was spoken only in the home; outside, my grandparents spoke the English language, where it should be spoken in all public places.

All of the immigrants who came to this country did not have the luxury of walking into grocery stores and restaurants, etc. where all of their languages were promoted, and spoken, or written on menus and grocery items.

We dishonor their truthfulness and pride by allowing illegal immigrants free access without having to rightfully earn it, they way the previous immigrants had to earn and learn it.

Now, most of us Americans are becoming the minority, and I fear for my children and their generation, of being the minority in their own Country!

Our country needs to step up and take action to require anyone coming into this country, who wants to be a citizen, to become one the right and legal way; to learn the language and the Constitution.

Corporations and businesses need to stop being so complacent and take action. These illegal immigrants say they are doing jobs Americans don’t want to do. Who do they think was doing these jobs before they came to this country?

It was American citizens!

Congress must lead on immigration issue - Jerry L. Ross

http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/fencepost.asp 

When America granted amnesty to approximately 3 million people living in the United States illegally in the 1980s, our compassionate forgiveness resulted in approximately 11 to 20 million illegal aliens now living in the United States, and more coming across the border every day.

Our lackluster leadership in the Senate has already capitulated by publicly stating they cannot enforce the current laws, and the Senate is now in turmoil trying to develop new laws to appease the very people who are here illegally.

Subsequent to breaking the laws to get here, illegal aliens have forged government documents to stay here, and have publicly protested America’s immigration laws as (somehow?) violating their civil rights. The tired argument that we are all immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants, is sophistry and has become hackneyed. Has anyone ever heard of Ellis Island?

Prior to Ellis Island, immigrants who came to these shores were on their own to survive in the new land — there were no social welfare programs. The immigrants of that day were proud to become American citizens and did so in strict accordance with the laws of that time. They learned the language and assimilated into American culture.

When the Senate gets done whining and wringing its hands in attempts to change current laws, what happens when the illegal aliens protest the new laws as violating their civil rights, and en masse refuse to abide by the new requirements for legal status?

If the Senate cannot, or will not, ensure the enforcement of current laws, what makes these pinheads think that their new laws will be enforced or obeyed. If the milquetoasts in the Senate cannot muster the intestinal fortitude to stand by the American people and our current laws, they need to be thrown out of office when they come up for re-election.

America needs leadership, not overpaid arbiters to negotiate a conditional surrender to appease illegal aliens who have, thus far, refused to assimilate into the American culture and learn the English language.

The House has proven itself the backbone of Congress on this issue; the Senate is demonstratively the quaking, loose, bowels. The issue of illegal immigration should be put on the ballot in November and let the American people decide. This is too important to be left to the professional politicians in the Senate who are out of touch with the American people, and who can’t see beyond their next election; but are always ready to stand with courage and conviction … on the latest poll.

If this is left to the professional politicians, we will never be the great melting pot of which we boast; we’ll just continue to be the world’s chamber pot.

Raid rumor sweeps Latinos  Immigration officials say there's no truth to stories of surprise arrests - Georgia Evdoxiadis

(Not posted as of 5:30 AM)

Some places may close Monday - 

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/cookstory.asp?id=183618

Rich Baader knows some customers won’t like that he’s closing his Arlington Heights and Lake Zurich car washes Monday.

He doesn’t like losing a day’s earnings, either.

Still, Baader, the grandson of a Lithuanian immigrant who toiled in the southern Illinois coal mines, said he will be closing up shop to join his employees downtown at the May Day immigration rally.

The rally is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Chicago and other cities around the country in a show of support for immigration reform. A similar rally in Chicago in March drew 100,000 people. Monday’s rally is expected to be larger.

Shopping boycotts are also being called for Monday, dubbed by some immigration reformers as a “Day without an Immigrant.”

“Immigration is an important part of my industry,” said Baader, who owns Raceway Car Wash. “I bought the car washes two years ago and a lot of my best guys have been here 10 years. They’re what make it successful.”

Immigration is also part of his personal history, he said. Knowing how hard his grandfather worked to succeed in America, he said, helps drive him toward success.

“It’s the American dream,” he said.

Businesses of all sizes — from multinational McDonald’s to a Mundelein-based cleaning service — are preparing to operate with smaller staffs.

Some have decided to close. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach. Few contacted said they expected it would be business as usual Monday.

“Definitely we’re going to have less people,” said Maria Hernandez of Labor Ready temporary services in Des Plaines, an employment company that sends 50 to 100 people out on jobs daily. “That’s what we’re projecting now, but we might have to close up.”

Oak Brook-based McDonald’s issued a statement saying the company respects employees’ rights to march in Monday’s rallies.

“Some of our restaurants may operate with limited crew, limited hours or drive-through service only,” the statement reads.

William Perry, owner of Maid Brigade of Lake County, said three of his four cleaning teams will be at Monday’s rally. They wanted to go to the rally in March but didn’t give him adequate notice, so he didn’t give them the day off, he said.

“This time, we planned for it,” Perry said.

Perry called customers who were scheduled for cleaning appointments Monday. Most were flexible about rescheduling, he said.

But Monday’s jobs were moved to days that were otherwise left open for the seasonal spring cleaning rush, eating up potential profits, he said.

Employees with the Maid Brigade are losing a day’s wages to participate in the rally Monday. So are employees with AA+Son’s Landscaping in Carpentersville.

Roberto Aguilar, owner of the landscaping business, said he purposefully didn’t set up any appointments for Monday knowing he wouldn’t have employees to work.

He weighed whether or not to pay employees who were attending the rally and decided against it.

“It’s something for their own good,” he said of the rally.

An American citizen, Aguilar said he will be joining his employees because he believes in their cause.

La Rosita grocery store in Mount Prospect also will close. Employees are going to the rally and a lot of customers are, too, said Avel Ayo, store manager. Most of the businesses sharing the strip mall he’s in at Dempster Street and Algonquin Road will close, he said.

“We’re losing a lot of money,” Ayo said, but there isn’t much point in staying open. “There’s nothing we can do. They’re saying nobody is going to buy.”

VERY SAD: Mexico set to decriminalize some drug use - Reuters

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/nationworldstory.asp?id=183592

Law would let police focus on major traffickers

MEXICO CITY — Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Mexican Congress.

The measure, given final passage by senators Thursday, allows police to focus on their battle against major drug dealers, the government says, and President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law.

“This law provides more judicial tools for authorities to fight crime,” presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said Friday. The measure was approved earlier by the lower house.

Under the legislation, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine.

People caught with larger quantities of drugs will be treated as narcotics dealers and face increased jail terms under the plan.

The legal changes will also decriminalize the possession of limited quantities of other drugs, including LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, amphetamines and peyote — a psychotropic cactus found in Mexico’s northern deserts.

Hundreds of people, including several police officers, have been killed in the past year as drug cartels battle authorities and compete with each other for control of lucrative cocaine, marijuana and heroin smuggling routes from Mexico into the United States.

The violence has raged mostly in northern Mexico but in recent months has spread south to cities like vacation resort Acapulco.

Under current law, it is up to local judges and police to decide on a case-by-case basis whether people should be prosecuted for possessing small quantities of drugs.

“The object of this law is to not put consumers in jail, but rather those who sell and poison,” said Sen. Jorge Zermeno of the ruling National Action Party.

Fifty-three senators voted for the bill with 26 votes against it.

Hector Michel Camarena, an opposition senator from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, warned that although well intentioned, the law may go too far.

“There are serious questions we have to carefully analyze so that through our spirit of fighting drug dealing, we don’t end up legalizing,” he said. “We have to get rid of the concept of the (drug) consumer.”

Oh say can Bush si?  Spanish version of national anthem released, much to president’s chagrin - AP

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/nationworldstory.asp?id=183670

WASHINGTON — President Bush said Friday the national anthem should be sung in English — not Spanish — in a blunt rejection of a new Spanish-language version. He also expressed opposition to a national work stoppage called for Monday to dramatize the importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

“I’m not a supporter of boycotts,” Bush said, while restating his support for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.

Bush made his comments at a Rose Garden news conference as a Spanish-language version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” hit the airways featuring artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.

Called “Nuestro Himno” — “Our Anthem” — the Spanish version rewrites some of the English version. For instance, the second stanza says, “My people keep fighting. It’s time to break the chains.”

“I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English,” Bush said.

Monday’s planned boycott and the emergence of a Spanish-language anthem are ingredients in a national debate over how to deal with an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

It is an issue that has sent hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets of major U.S. cities to demand the lowering of citizenship barriers. Congress is struggling to deal with the issue, and the House and Senate are moving on opposite tracks.

“I understand how difficult this issue is for some people here in Washington and around the country,” Bush said. His approach calls for a temporary guest worker program, tougher enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants and stricter border controls.

Acknowledging that it has become a highly charged topic, Bush said, “One of the things that’s very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul.”

British music producer Adam Kidron, who came up with the idea of the Spanish anthem, said it was not intended to discourage immigrants from learning English or embracing American culture.

“We instead view ‘Nuestro Himno’ as a song that affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent,” Kidron said in a written statement.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican., said he would introduce a Senate resolution Monday “giving senators an opportunity to remind the country why we sing our national anthem in English.” Noting that America is a nation of immigrants, Alexander said, “We are proud of the countries we have come from, but we are prouder to be Americans.”

Monday’s protest is dubbed “A day Without Immigrants.” Activists are urging immigrants across the United States to skip work, avoid spending money and march in the streets. But there are concerns that such protests will make immigrants look anti-American, annoy the public and alienate lawmakers in Washington

Senate leaders, meanwhile, edged closer to an agreement that could clear the way for passage of broad immigration legislation.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters he was dropping two demands that contributed to gridlock several weeks ago. He said he would no longer insist that conservative critics be limited to three chances to change the bill before it passes. And he said he would no longer try to dictate which Republicans are named to negotiate a final bill with the House.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has said he wants votes on 20 or more amendments, and that it is not up to Democrats to decide which Republicans are picked to bargain with the House. At the same time, he has been meeting privately with fellow Republicans this week to reduce the number of amendments.

Reid made his comments three days after a White House meeting that was designed to impart fresh momentum in the drive for election-year legislation. Senators of both parties emerged from the session praising the president’s involvement.

Supporters of the Senate legislation claim roughly 70 votes for their bill. It includes provisions to strengthen the nation’s borders, expand a guest worker program and give many of the nation’s illegal immigrants an eventual opportunity to become citizens.

Legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House last year is limited to border security, and makes illegal immigrants vulnerable to criminal felony charges.

USA TODAY

Immigration issues coming to a 'big stop' Boycott planned for Monday, but not all on board - Martin Kasindorf and Judy Keen

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-04-27-big-stop_x.htm

LOS ANGELES — Masses of illegal immigrants and their supporters around the USA plan to boycott workplaces, stores and schools on Monday, but the move is dividing some pro-immigration activists and business owners.

Organizers of the May Day walkout call it el gran paro —"the big stop" — and "a day without immigrants." Building on huge marches staged in recent weeks, the boycotts and rallies in many cities will demonstrate immigrants' economic importance as Congress debates legislation, says Armando Navarro of the California-based National Alliance for Human Rights.

"It was one thing to march," Navarro says. "Now we're going to hit 'em where it hurts — in the pocketbooks."

The boycott's "size and impact remain to be seen," says Juan Jose Gutierrez of Latino Movement USA. That group's slogan: "No work, no school, no shopping, no commerce."

'Substantial' participation

Gutierrez says he expects "substantial" worker absences, from Georgia poultry-processing plants to West Coast construction sites. David Jones, president of the Arizona Contractors Association, says builders there expect some no-shows and a work slowdown.

As many as 12 million illegal immigrants are in the USA, and they make up about 5% of the workforce, the Pew Hispanic Center says.

Raul Murillo, director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Hermandad Mexicana immigrant organization, says he's among those acting to oppose a bill passed by the House of Representatives in December that would make illegal immigrants felons. The Senate is still considering an immigration bill.

Businesses with largely immigrant workforces are preparing for Monday in varying ways:

•Cargill, the No. 2 U.S. beef producer and No. 3 pork producer, is closing seven meat-processing plants with 14,000 employees in Iowa, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois and Colorado. "We share a lot of the same concerns many of our employees have," spokesman Mark Klein says. "The immigration process is broken, and we need true solutions to it."

•Tyson Foods is discouraging workers from missing shifts, spokesman Gary Mickelson says. "We don't want our team members to jeopardize their good employment records and incomes by taking unauthorized time away from work," he says.

•All Las Vegas casinos are asking workers to stay on the job, sign petitions to lawmakers and attend a downtown "celebration of immigration" at 6 p.m., says Yvette Monet of MGM Mirage.

•The 17 Spanish-language radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications will broadcast music without comment from disc jockeys. "Words are my life, but sometimes silence makes a bigger point," morning host Alex Lucas says.

Anthem: 'Star-Spangled Banner' draws protest

Many Hispanic-owned businesses will be closed. Salvador Pedroza Moreno, owner of Economy Roofing in Chicago, says he'll give his seven workers the day off with pay to attend a march. In Tucson, Ricardo Cazares is shutting Alejandro's Tortilla Factory & Bakery, which has 55 workers. "There are sales that I know will be lost, but if we want something, we have to pay a price for it," he says.

Rallies are scheduled in many cities. Jessica Aranda of the March 10 Movement, a Chicago coalition that drew 100,000 to a march last month, says Monday will draw a bigger crowd. "Our community is coming into our own and realizing our own power," she says.

In nine New York City neighborhoods, "human chains" of Hispanic store owners, workers and customers will link hands for about 20 minutes, says Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

"Some business owners couldn't afford to shut down their businesses all day," she says. "This is an alternative action for people who wanted to join something."

A question of timing

Navarro of the National Alliance for Human Rights says he expects Monday's economic action to get Congress' attention. "Timing is everything in politics, and the timing is with us right now," he says. But others who favor laws that support immigration rights say the walkouts could spark a backlash.

Encouraging children to skip school "just adds fuel to the argument that we don't care about our children's education," says Jose Lagos, a community organizer with Honduran Unity in Miami.

Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles says her group urges workers to get permission from their bosses before taking the day off. If undocumented workers walk out and get fired, "there's very little that they can do," she says.

Hector Flores, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, says his 100,000-member organization opposes worker absenteeism and school walkouts, "but we don't want people to consume anything on that day."

Last month, announcements by Spanish-radio disc jockeys helped build crowds at rallies. Now, the top-rated Renan Almendarez Coello (known as El Cucuy, "the boogeyman") opposes walkouts. "We came here to work and not to say 'don't work,' " he said last week.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who has said he'd order priests not to obey laws against helping illegal immigrants, is cautious about Monday's boycott and instead is promoting a 4 p.m. rally — after school hours. That event could cut crowds at the boycott organizers' noon rally at City Hall.

"If both events go well, that would be great," says Mike Garcia, president of a Service Employees International Union local in Los Angeles, which is neutral on the boycott. "It shows there are differences in strategies, but everybody's fighting for the same thing."

Spanish mix of national anthem gets red glares - AP

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-04-28-spanish-anthem_x.htm

MIAMI (AP) — British music producer Adam Kidron says he just wanted to honor the millions of immigrants seeking a better life in the U.S. when he came up with the idea of a Spanish-language version of the national anthem.

The initial version of Nuestro Himno, or Our Anthem comes out Friday and features artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.

Some Internet bloggers and others are infuriated by the thought of The Star-Spangled Banner sung in a language other than English, and the version of the song has already been the target of a fierce backlash.

ON DEADLINE: Hear, read the song

"Would the French accept people singing the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not," said Mark Krikorian, head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls.

Nuestro Himno uses lyrics based closely on the English-language original, said Kidron, who heads the record label Urban Box Office.

Pro-immigration protests are planned around the country for Monday, and the record label is urging Hispanic radio stations nationwide to play the cut at 7 p.m. ET Friday in a sign of solidarity.

A remix to be released in June will contain several lines in English that condemn U.S. immigration laws. Among them: "These kids have no parents, cause all of these mean laws ... let's not start a war with all these hard workers, they can't help where they were born."

Bryanna Bevens of Hanford, Calif., who writes for the immigration-focused Web magazine Vdare.com, said the remix particularly upset her.

"It's very whiny. If you want to say all those things, by all means, put them on your poster board, but don't put them on the national anthem," she said.

Kidron, a U.S. resident for 16 years, maintains the changes are fitting. After all, he notes, American immigrants borrowed the melody of the Star Spangled Banner from an English drinking song.

"There's no attempt to usurp anything. The intent is to communicate," Kidron said. "I wanted to show my thanks to these people who buy my records and listen to the music we release and do the jobs I don't want to do."

Kidron said the song also will be featured on the album Somos Americanos, which will sell for $10, with $1 going to the National Capital Immigration Coalition, a Washington group.

James Gardner, an associate director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, said Americans have long enjoyed different interpretations of the Star Spangled Banner, including country or gospel arrangements.

"There are a number of renditions that people aren't happy with, but that's part of it — that it means enough for people to try to sing," he said.

Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Perez, said this country was built by immigrants, and "the meaning of the American dream is in that record: struggle, freedom, opportunity, everything they are trying to shut down on us."

At least one prominent American said the national anthem should be performed in its original language.

When the president was asked whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish, he replied: "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," President Bush said Friday at a Rose Garden question-and-answer session with reporters.

Immigrants aiming for citizenship should learn English, Bush said.

Bush: Sing anthem in English

"One of the important things here is that we not lose our national soul," he said.

The president's comments came amid a burgeoning national debate — and congressional fight — over legislation pending in Congress, and pushed by Bush, to overhaul U.S. immigration law. Large numbers of immigrant groups have planned an economic boycott next week to dramatize their call for legislation providing legal status for millions of people in the United States illegally.

"I am not a supporter of boycotts," Bush said. "I am a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. ... I think that most Americans agree that we've got to enforce our border."

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December 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Dec-2005
December 14, 2005 News Clips 14-Dec-2005
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November 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Nov-2005
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November 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Nov-2005
November 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Nov-2005
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November 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Nov-2005
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October 31, 2005 News Clips 31-Oct-2005
October 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Oct-2005
October 29, 2005 News Clips 29-Oct-2005
October 28, 2005 News Clips 28-Oct-2005
October 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Oct-2005
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October 18, 2005 News Clips 18-Oct-2005
October 17, 2005 News Clips 17-Oct-2005
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October 15, 2005 News Clips 15-Oct-2005
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September 30, 2005 News Clips 30-Sep-2005
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September 27, 2005 News Clips 27-Sep-2005
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September 19, 2005 News Clips 19-Sep-2005
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August 21, 2005 News Clips - Part 1 21-Aug-2005
August 20, 2005 News Clips 20-Aug-2005
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July 31, 2005 News Clips 31-July-2005
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July 7, 2005 News Clips 7-July-2005
July 6, 2005 News Clips 6-July-2005
 


 

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