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Elysabeth Alfano

Margaret Cho on Being a Survivor, Morality on the Internet and Some Truly Bizarre Snacks

Elysabeth Alfano | May 26, 2016 | Entertainment
In true Cho fashion, she is warm, outspoken and very human in her responses about being a sexual abuse survivor, her larger-than-life voice, and her favorite, truly bizarre, on-the-road snack.
Matthew Dietrich

Doubek vs. Dietrich On Illinois House Democrats' Budget Bill

Matthew Dietrich | May 26, 2016 | Chicago
MADELEINE DOUBEK: Hey, Matt, so it looks like the brilliant, masterful House Speaker Mike Madigan has decided to throw the bipartisan working budget groups to the wind and is preparing to have his supermajority Democratic caucus vote for a budget that spends more than $7 billion more than the state...
Timeica Bethel

Empathy for the Young Black Men in Chicago

Timeica Bethel | May 25, 2016 | Chicago
When I saw this news story on Facebook, I clicked to read the comments below the article. Many people offered condolences and remarked on how alarming the gun violence rate in Chicago has become. One particular comment thread caught my eye.
Matthew Dietrich

It's Time For Final Exams in Budget Deal-Making 101

Matthew Dietrich | May 25, 2016 | Chicago
Opinion by Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek All over Illinois, it's cramming time. Finals time. Time for tests before the break. In Springfield, too. Cramming time. Gov. Bruce Rauner reminded everyone Monday. We've got eight days left to get a deal done, he said. One week from Tuesday, the legislative...
Terry Smith

On Chicago's Blues: Where Have You Gone, Harold Washington?

Terry Smith | May 24, 2016 | Chicago
It will take rediscovering the audacity of Harold Washington, Jr. to reverse this mentality.
Ximena N. Beltran

The Tastiest Chicago Burgers of Instagram

Ximena N. Beltran | May 24, 2016 | Chicago
May is national burger month which means for the last three weeks, people have been going crazy on Instagram. The month's not over but I can't wait, it's time to round-up the best burgers in Chicago thus far: 1. Grange Hall Burger Bar
Matthew Dietrich

Rauner to Illinois GOP: "No Way Hillary Clinton Gets Elected"

Matthew Dietrich | May 23, 2016 | Chicago
PEORIA -- As I left the 2016 Illinois Republican Party convention Saturday, I couldn't decide if I had just witnessed the death knell of the once mighty state GOP or the earliest spark of its resurrection. After weeks of turmoil over...
Matthew Dietrich

Plenty of Action, Scant Progress at State Capitol

Matthew Dietrich | May 20, 2016 | Chicago
Inside and outside the Illinois Statehouse this week there was a constant buzz of activity, though it's hard to tell whether all the action was evidence of progress or an exciting distraction from inertia. The week saw Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four leaders of the General Assembly meet on...
Robert Koehler

Rethinking Criminal Justice

Robert Koehler | May 19, 2016 | Chicago
In this time when our self-inflicted troubles seem so obvious but the possibility of change -- that is to say, political transformation, through awareness, compassion and common sense -- feels more illusory than ever, something extraordinary, that is to say real, is on the brink of happening in Chicago.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Ben Rhodes and the 'Echo Chamber' of Facts On Iran

Rep. Jan Schakowsky | May 18, 2016 | Politics
I found David Samuels' storyline -- that portrays Ben Rhodes, the President's Deputy National Security Advisor, as the Manipulator in Chief -- to be a work of fiction and extremely condescending to members of Congress and all others who supported it.
Matthew Dietrich

12 Key Issues to Watch as Illinois General Assembly's Spring Session Nears End

Matthew Dietrich | May 18, 2016 | Chicago
With the Illinois General Assembly's spring session nearing its traditional May 31 end, this is a good time for a check on what happened, what didn't and what still might happen on issues that made headlines this year. BUDGET File this one under both the "what didn't happen" and "what...
James Clear

Lessons From a Vexillonaire: Creativity, Simplicity, and the Carefully Constrained Life

James Clear | May 18, 2016 | Chicago
The flag of Chicago is widely regarded as one of the best city flags in the United States, perhaps in the world. It is certainly one of the most popular. You'll find the flag of Chicago printed on t-shirts and mugs, tattooed on local musicians, and flying along streets, over...
Mike Quigley

A Transportation Infrastructure Plan for the 21st Century

Mike Quigley | May 18, 2016 | Chicago
For generations, this country's transportation infrastructure served as the backbone of our economic success. We dreamed big, we built bigger, and our economy flourished. But today, our crumbling infrastructure is slowing economic growth.
Zebunnisa Mirza

9 Things to Do in Chicago for Free

Zebunnisa Mirza | May 17, 2016 | Travel
You don't need money to have a good time in the windy city. If you love to explore on foot and you do you research, you'll find plenty of options for experiencing Chicago without spending a single dime. Here are ten fun things to do in Chicago for absolutely free!
Matthew Dietrich

School Funding Could Be New 'Hostage' in Budget Standoff

Matthew Dietrich | May 16, 2016 | Chicago
For nearly a year, Democrats have accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of holding the state budget hostage and demanding his Turnaround Agenda as ransom. As the Illinois budget standoff of FY 2016 threatens to become the Illinois budget standoff of FY 2017, it's been Rauner who is accusing Democrats of hostage-taking. The kidnap victim this time is K-12 education funding, and the big question at the moment is whether Senate Democrats will make school funding reform in FY '17 what the Turnaround Agenda was to Rauner in FY '16. It all sounds confusing, but it's not that complicated. State funding for K-12 education is distributed in July to school districts throughout the state. It's important to school districts that the money arrive on time because most can't open for the fall semester if they don't have it. Last June, Rauner vetoed every budget bill sent to him by Democrats in the Legislature except one. He signed the bill authorizing elementary and secondary school funding. That meant that schools statewide could open on time. Had Rauner vetoed that school budget, he and lawmakers of both parties would have faced severe backlash from angry parents when schools didn't open on time. As it was though, the school budget and a court decision that allowed state employees to be paid without a budget allowed state government to function fairly normally even as state spending went on out of control. Absent widespread public protest, Rauner and the Democrats could allow the budget standoff to continue indefinitely, with Rauner saying he wouldn't come to bargaining table until Democrats passed his reforms and Democrats insisting that negotiation on reforms was not part of the budget process. Large-scale protests over hardships to state universities and social service providers didn't come until early this year. Here's the catch this year: The system by which state education funding is shared among local school districts is seen unanimously as unfair. It's a problem that has festered for years in Springfield. School districts located in communities with high property values can devote generous resources to funding their school districts. What they don't get in state funding, they make up themselves in property taxes. These taxes often are very high, but residents get excellent schools in return. School districts in low-income communities, however, rely far more heavily on state funding. They simply don't have the property tax resources to tap. The result is the state provides most of their operating budgets and per-student spending in these districts is a fraction of that of high-income school districts. That's why it's so often said that the quality of a child's education in Illinois depends more than anything on his or her zip code. Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, for three years has been working on a formula that more fairly shares state dollars. The Senate this week passed a bill based on his formula. But some wealthier school districts eventually (following a four-year phase-in) will lose a portion of their state funding under Manar's plan, and Chicago Public Schools will see an initial increase of $175 million in state money. Some Republicans have called this a bailout of Chicago schools at the expense of suburban schools. Even some Democrats from suburban districts have complained that their constituents will have to shoulder even higher property taxes to make up for state funds they lose. Rauner has said he wants a change in the funding formula that does not take money away from any school district. He want the General Assembly to do as it did last year: Send him a K-12 funding bill using the current formula. He's been barnstorming the state to visit schools and urge Democrats to not "hold students hostage" to force adoption of a reformed funding system. Of course, it can be argued that Rauner himself took college students hostage for nearly all of the current fiscal year when he vetoed the entire higher education budget, including money for financial aid through the Monetary Award Program. So as the May 31 budget deadline approaches, the big question is whether Democrats will send Rauner the "clean" bill he wants or use a school funding reform plan as leverage in budget talks. That's what we're talking about on this week's "Only in Illinois." You can also listen to the podcast here or through iTunes: NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois state workers are highest paid in the nation, says new Illinois Policy Institute...
Diana Rodriguez-Zaba

Are You Ready to Buy a Franchise? 8 Tips to Consider

Diana Rodriguez-Zaba | May 13, 2016 | Chicago
After careful research and planning, I partnered with a national franchise that demonstrated a proven track record. The business model has its challenges, but it's also been very rewarding for me and my growing family of employees.
Reboot Illinois

Top 20 Best-Run Public High Schools in Illinois, Ranked by Niche

Reboot Illinois | May 13, 2016 | Chicago
Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and its own parent/student surveys, Niche.com has released its updated ranking of the nation's best-run public high schools in 2016. More than 9,500 public high schools were ranked based on the overall...
Matthew Dietrich

Lawsuit Filed to End Citizen Initiative for Illinois Redistricting Reform

Matthew Dietrich | May 13, 2016 | Chicago
A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court says the Independent Map Amendment redistricting reform plan is unconstitutional and should not be allowed on the November election ballot. The suit also seeks an immediate halt to the Illinois State Board of Elections' verifying of petition signatures
Robert Koehler

Quiet War, Sleeping Nation

Robert Koehler | May 12, 2016 | Politics
Even when the mainstream media trouble themselves to acknowledge that the primary season remains open on the Democratic side, that Bernie Sanders are still in the race, the Bernie revolution is never portrayed as addressing foreign policy and the still-failing, still-catastrophic war on terror.
Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D.

How I Learned to Be Proud of Having Mexican Immigrant Parents

Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D. | May 11, 2016 | Latino Voices
While I will never forgive myself for not giving my parents credit for motivating me to pursue higher education, growing up in a society where brown people are scapegoats for America's failures, it makes sense that I would feel embarrassed about my Mexican roots and working-class background.
All posts from 05.26.2016 < 05.25.2016