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Andy Thayer

More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Our Violence Problem

Andy Thayer | September 26, 2016 | Chicago
Like the mass incarceration boom of the 1990s, the City is escalating a disastrous trend which our communities (and wallets) will spend many years extricating ourselves from.
Kenyatta Joseph

4 Ways Single Entrepreneurs Can Get In On Cuffing Season

Kenyatta Joseph | September 25, 2016 | Chicago
It's that time of the year! The leaves are changing colors, the sun is setting earlier and we're trading our icy Coolattas for warm pumpkin spice lattes: cuffing season has officially arrived. Cooler weather and reluctance to leave the house, suddenly has men and women gravitating to one another, looking for someone to keep them warm throughout the winter.
Matthew Dietrich

Mired In Personal Attacks, The Kirk-Duckworth Campaign Hasn't Lived Up To Its Billing

Matthew Dietrich | September 23, 2016 | Chicago
The Mark Kirk-Tammy Duckworth U.S. Senate race early on had all the markings of a campaign that would rise above the personal attacks and innuendo typical of modern politics. Kirk in 2012 suffered a serious stroke and his recovery won him universal admiration. In his first term in the Senate, Kirk distinguished himself as arguably the most moderate Republican in the chamber. Duckworth, now serving her second term representing Illinois' Eighth Congressional District, is a decorated war hero who lost both legs and nearly was killed when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004. The two candidates have differing views on important issues like immigration and national security, but so far those have not been the focus of the campaigns. Kirk has done everything possible to link Duckworth to imprisoned former Gov. Rod. Blagojevich, who appointed Duckworth to head the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. Kirk has made an 8-year-old workplace retaliation lawsuit by two workers at the Anna Veterans' Home a focal point of the campaign. A recent ad featured the plaintiffs in that suit claiming Duckworth retaliated against them to protect Blagojevich. Duckworth's campaign has sought to link Kirk to Donald Trump and also has emphasized episodes from Kirk's 2010 Senate run in which he was found to have exaggerated his military activities. The tone of the campaign may change once the candidate meet face to face for their first debate on Oct. 3 at the Chicago Tribune. That's what we're talking about on this week's "Only in Illinois." Recommended: Tax burden in Illinois continues to grow, report finds ...
Brandon Patterson

Millie Brown's EXPO CHICAGO Artistic Takeover

Brandon Patterson | September 22, 2016 | Chicago
Millie Brown is a British performance artist, who began her career at the age of seventeen. Constantly praised as one of the new YBA's (Youth British Artists), Brown is an artist who explores the synergy and separation of mind, body, and spirit. While she is mostly recognized for her artistic collaborative projects with global icons like Lady Gaga, Millie is committed to expanding her work and continuing to shed light on the natural beauty of the world.
Robert Koehler

Stop The Killing

Robert Koehler | September 22, 2016 | Politics
Maybe half a million dead, half a country -- 10 million people -- displaced from their homes, jettisoned onto the mercy of the world. Welcome to war. Welcome to Syria. This is a conflict apparently too complex to understand. The U.S. brokered a ceasefire with Russia, then proceeded to...
Matthew Dietrich

Politifact Illinois Can Fact-Check, But Can't Make Politicians Listen

Matthew Dietrich | September 22, 2016 | Chicago
Opinion On Sept. 15, a fact check I researched and wrote for PolitiFact Illinois gave a "Mostly True" rating to Tammy Duckworth's statement that Mark Kirk had embellished his military record "at least 10 times." One of the 10 incidents on which the statement was based,...
Reboot Illinois

20 of the Best Eats on Illinois Route 66

Reboot Illinois | September 20, 2016 | Chicago
The 300-mile stretch of Route 66 that connects Chicago to St. Louis is a treasure trove of roadside attractions, historic sites and good eats. With so many restaurants dotted along the Mother Road, it's tough to pick out which ones best capture the...
Matthew Dietrich

Rauner Denies Connection to Anti-Madigan Documentary

Matthew Dietrich | September 20, 2016 | Chicago
Opinion I have not yet viewed the Illinois Policy Institute's upcoming documentary, "Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics.," but I'm prepared to make a prediction: Its release next month will have a hard time matching the buzz stirred up in the last few days by news of its very existence. Seldom has the connecting of dots in current events been as compelling as it's been since news broke about this project on Sept. 15. Rauner's statement (above) at a Sept. 19 press conference that he knew nothing in advance about the Madigan video, to be released by the lobbying arm of the policy institute, only made this whole story better. I was in the room and heard no audible guffaws when Rauner said it, but the vibe of suppressed eye-rolling among the media was unmistakable. At least to me. The Illinois Policy Institute bankrolls a professionally produced, 60-minute documentary about Rauner's nemesis -- House Speaker Michael Madigan -- for release just before an election that will test whether Rauner has cut into Madigan's iron-grip power in the General Assembly and Rauner had no idea it was coming?  Good one. Back story Before he became a candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner's family foundation had donated $625,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank founded in 2002 and dedicated to "generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois," its website says.  "I'm a free-market conservative, and I've supported many causes around the nation for free-market conservative principles," Rauner told The State Journal-Register in Springfield in 2013. With a large staff at its offices in Chicago and Springfield and several specialized subsidiaries -- Illinois Policy Action (lobbying), Illinois News Network (news and opinion), Illinois Radio Network (radio news), Liberty Justice Center (litigation) -- the policy institute has become arguably the state's strongest force in conservative advocacy. When Rauner took office, the institute became a staunch proponent of the business and political reforms in his Turnaround Agenda. Inner circle A report in the Daily Herald on Sept. 12 showed that Rauner regards the policy institute as more than just an external advocate. Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman recently was on a panel, along with Rauner, interviewing candidates to replace departing state Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. As columnist Kerry Lester reported: After initially staying out of the process of selecting a replacement for departing GOP state Sen. Matt Murphy, the governor's office and its allies have jumped into the fray. They held interviews for the six candidates Friday in Chicago. Among those questioning the candidates were the governor, chief political strategist Mike Zolnierowicz, John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute and Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno. That report prompted Rich Miller, publisher of Capitol Fax whose weekly column appears in Reboot Illinois, to comment: Also, some folks are really starting to get nervous about all the influence that John Tillman appears to wield over Rauner these days. Showtime Three days later, Natasha Korecki of Politico Illinois reported that the documentary was in the works: Illinois Policy Action, an arm of the Illinois Policy Institute, is backing a new documentary called "Madigan: Power, privilege, politics," which the group has dubbed "an unprecedented look at the life and influence of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, one of the state's most powerful political figures of all time." The 60-minute documentary is to be released in October -- weeks before the November election -- and will be available online and at "select movie theaters throughout the state," a statement from Illinois Policy said. The trailer for "Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics." makes it clear that this documentary is intended to be to Madigan what "Hillary: the Movie" was to Hillary Clinton in 2008. But that's not how it was billed to potential interview subjects who were sought by the production company. Miller, who just days earlier had noted on his blog concerns by some Republicans about Tillman's increasing influence on Rauner, said he felt "duped" into doing an interview for the video. In a post titled "Duped," he explained: This is the explanation I was given by the documentary's producer... 'Emergent Order, based out of Austin TX is trying to create a dialogue about why the state of Illinois is in poor shape. Many fingers have been pointed at Michael Madigan, but we're trying to do a fair/balanced piece about what's really at the center of it all. We've interviewed both people who support and dispute that Madigan is to blame. Interested in your take on that and any other relevant info you'd be willing to contribute.' State Journal-Register political columnist Bernard Schoenburg, whose voice can be heard quizzing Rauner about the documentary in the clip at the top of this post, followed up with Miller for his Sept. 18 column. ""I ... wouldn't have consented if the project was backed by the Illinois AFL-CIO, either," Miller told Schoenburg. No press is bad press All this adds up to a raft of free publicity that has ginned up a level of interest much higher than usually could be expected for this kind of project. As already noted, though, I suspect the final product will have a hard time living up to the anticipation created by this dust-up. Like "Hillary: The Movie," it'll be dismissed by detractors of the Illinois Policy Institute and Rauner (even if he really didn't know about it) as propaganda and hailed as gospel by those who already want Madigan out. In other words, it'll be a nice metaphor for the Rauner-Madigan rivalry over the last 18 months. Recommended: 20 must-try restaurants along Illinois Route...
Omar Epps

Stop Suspending Driver's Licenses For Unpaid Fees

Omar Epps | September 15, 2016 | Politics
Suspending driver's licenses takes people who are poor, and traps them in debt. It takes Americans hanging on by a thread, and robs them of their livelihoods.
David Ormsby

Poll: 62% of Chicago Voters Support Sales Tax Hike on Booze to Fund Mental Health, Drug Treatment

David Ormsby | September 15, 2016 | Chicago
Concern over funding for mental health care and drug treatment services is acute enough that even tax-weary Chicago voters back a sales tax hike on hooch to provide more money to those programs, a new poll says.   Despite registering overwhelming opposition to a flight of property tax...
Kelly Kleiman

The University Of Chicago Strikes Out

Kelly Kleiman | September 13, 2016 | Chicago
The U of C has a long history of behaving as if modernity were a personal insult, and this letter to first-years is as much in keeping with that tradition as any boob's expressed desire to make America great (meaning white) again.
Matthew Dietrich

Expect More Dictatorship in Springfield After 2016 Elections

Matthew Dietrich | September 13, 2016 | Chicago
Opinion by Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek Why should we care about what happens in contested state legislative races all over the state this year? Each really is about the battle for control between GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House...
Miles J. Zaremski

ETHS Class of 1966' 50th Reunion: You CAN Go Home Again

Miles J. Zaremski | September 12, 2016 | Chicago
Recall Thomas Wolfe's 1940 novel, YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN, about a fledgling writer, George Webber, whose successful book makes more than an occasional reference to his town whose residents resent how they are characterized and whose depiction of them is distorted, so much so that Webber is sent menacing...
Reboot Illinois

Airbnb Announces New Policies To Combat Racial Discrimination

Reboot Illinois | September 9, 2016 | Chicago
By Kevin Hoffman As Airbnb re-shapes the hospitality industry in cities across the country, concerns have been raised over discriminatory practices among its home-sharing hosts. Allison Schraub, Chicago program director for Airbnb, was asked about that issue during a panel discussion hosted by Reboot Illinois in August at the tech incubator 1871. "I...
Matthew Dietrich

Rauner, Madigan, Trump Dominate Illinois U.S. Senate, Comptroller Races

Matthew Dietrich | September 9, 2016 | Chicago
The race for Illinois comptroller pits Republican incumbent Leslie Geissler Munger against Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza. But it might as well be Bruce Rauner vs. Michael Madigan. On this week's "Only in Illinois," we discuss how both parties in state legislative races will use the opposite party's leader in negative campaign ads. Republicans already have aired attack ads that portray Democratic lawmakers as servants of House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also is chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Munger was appointed comptroller by Rauner in 2015 and Mendoza rarely mentions her opponent without a reference to Rauner. Likewise, Munger has criticized Mendoza -- who served 10 years in the Illinois House under Madigan's leadership -- for citing Madigan as a mentor. For his part, Madigan has used every opportunity to denigrate Rauner's "extreme" politics, which he says is the cause of the state's prolonged, damaging budget impasse. In a speech to rally county Democratic leaders, Madigan linked Rauner's "extremism" with that of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. As campaign season gains momentum in the final eight weeks before Election Day, voters are assured of an avalanche of negative ads by Democrats that seek to link Republican opponents to Rauner. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Mark Kirk's repeated disavowal of Trump has not stopped Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth from linking Kirk to Trump as often as possible. This is why we think the 2016 election in Illinois is becoming one big proxy battle in which candidates try to damage their opponents by associating them with their party leaders. Will it work? Should it? That's what we're talking about on this week's "Only in Illinois." Next article: Which NFL team Twitter hashtag is the WORST?...
Eric Holder

Airbnb's Work To Fight Bias And Discrimination

Eric Holder | September 8, 2016 | Black Voices
We all have to take a role in addressing discrimination where it exists. I believe Airbnb has done that, and while the effort is still a work in progress, this work will lead to better policies and technologies that will bring us together and ultimately end discrimination.
David Ormsby

Poll: Chicago Voters Sour on Rahm, Tax Hikes

David Ormsby | September 8, 2016 | Chicago
The eventual and tormented release of the Laquan McDonald shooting death video in January pulverized Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political standing with Chicago voters. Now a political recovery of sorts has begun. But barely. A new automated poll commissioned by The Illinois Observer...
Newton N. Minow

The Real Story Of The Obamas' First Date: We Were There

Newton N. Minow | September 9, 2016 | Politics
"Southside With You" is a charming, witty, and heartwarming movie of the Obamas' first date. My wife Jo and I saw them that night, and the movie has two characters based on us, a couple who run into Barack and Michelle at a movie. This is what really happened.
Catherine L. Tully

Live Stream Rehearsal of The Joffrey Ballet's New Nutcracker

Catherine L. Tully | September 7, 2016 | Chicago
The Joffrey Ballet Company Members Rehearsing The Nutcracker, Photo by Todd Rosenberg Is September too early to start thinking about The Nutcracker? Not if you're in Chicago. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is here, working on a brand new version of this...
Sol Palha

Crowd Psychology States Uranium Market could be ready to Soar

Sol Palha | September 6, 2016 | Chicago
A genius can't be forced; nor can you make an ape an alderman. Thomas Somerville By any estimate, the uranium market is trading in the extremely oversold ranges, but when the trend is down, a market can trend into the extreme of extremely oversold ranges, and we have seen this...
All posts from 09.23.2016 < 09.22.2016