[ • 27 May 2015 • One Comment]
From Crooked City Unable to win in court, Taylor began playing the media, a common strategy in wrongful conviction cases. He relentlessly pushed the claims against Burge and his men, setting up marches, speaking out in the media and forming allies with media and political elites. Soon he got other inmates to make the same claims about Burge and his men. In particular, Taylor formed an intimate connection with a cadre of journalists—Steve Mills, Mike Miner, John Conroy, Eric Zorn, and Mary Mitchell,...

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[ • 26 May 2015 • No Comment]
Next year’s race for the US Senate in Illinois promises to be one of the more unusual battles in many years. It’s already under way with incumbent Republican Mark Kirk running commercials a year and a half before the general election because he senses who his strongest Democratic opponent will be. You could almost call Kirk’s commercial a shameless bid for sympathy were not both his situation and his likely opponent’s so tragic. Both candidates are physically challenged–with...

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[ • 25 May 2015 • No Comment]
A 2005 pension law was intended to rein in school districts’ big salary spikes that boost retiree benefits and pension costs statewide, imposing cash penalties on districts that gave raises higher than 6 percent to outgoing educators. However, the issuing of large raises hasn’t stopped. Since the law was passed, raises for about 7,600 educators triggered penalties for a total cost to taxpayers of more than $38 million. Search for cash penalties at your school district Read the full story »

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[ • 20 May 2015 • One Comment ]
Last week’s report on retail sales in April came in weaker than most economists expected, with no change from the pace of sales in March. As a result, the chorus calling for the Federal Reserve to postpone the start of rate hikes beyond June, already loud, grew even louder. The fretting was a little misplaced. “Core” sales, which strip out the most volatile items like autos, building materials, and gas, rose a respectable 0.2% – the 13th gain in the last 15 months – in an environment...


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[ • 19 May 2015 • No Comment ]
It’s a common misconception that none of Illinois’ state workers are eligible for Social Security benefits. This misconception is often used as a way to justify Illinois’ generous pension system. But when it comes to government employees who participate in the State Employees’ Retirement System, or SERS, that argument is far from the truth. In fact, 96 percent of the 62,844 active members who participate in SERS also participate in Social Security. That group represents more than 20 percent...


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[ • 18 May 2015 • No Comment ]
Believe it or not, legislators usually try to reflect their constituents’ core values. If the folks back home are convinced that their representatives have strayed too far from those values, those representatives are in danger of losing their jobs. Some politicians are so popular that they can get away with anything. But few elected officials want to risk sparking up an opponent. Even though they’d likely win, they’d have to actually work during an election year. Politicians are...


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[ • 18 May 2015 • No Comment ]
Over the course of his 20 years in state government, former Governor Pat Quinn paid approximately $200,000 into the pension system. If he lives to average male life expectancy, he will receive nearly $3.5 million in pension payments. But that’s an outlier in the system we should ignore. There are more than 10,000 Illinois public sector pensioneers enjoying a pension of more than $100,000 annually. But that’s an outlier in the system we should ignore. The average Chicago public teacher pension...


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[ • 15 May 2015 • One Comment ]
All this funded by the generous donations of everyday Catholics. We invite you to join Organizing Catholics for Justice and CCHD National Grantee IIRON to oppose Governor Rauner’s proposed budget cuts. These cuts will kill people, and we believe it is immoral to balance Illinois’ budget by sacrificing human lives while two-thirds of corporations in Illinois pay no state income tax. We’re demanding that Governor Rauner tax corporations and the rich so that Illinois can fulfill its basic responsibilities...


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[ • 15 May 2015 • No Comment ]
Rich Miller with a particularly inept metaphor People have been saying Chicago would become another Detroit since at least the days when Harold Washington first ran for mayor. Know what happened? He raised taxes after years of avoidance by Richard J. Daley and his machine successors and the city eventually took off like a rocket. Emanuel tried to follow the Daley path after succeeding yet another Daley. It’s a failed strategy, and it has truly endangered the city’s fiscal and economic health....


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