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[ • 11 Apr 2014 • One Comment ]
For the last couple of months it’s been an open question whether US economic growth was slower because of brutal winter weather or if something more serious and worrisome was going on.   We have consistently sided with the “weather theory.” The winter of 2014 was one of the coldest and snowiest in the past 30 years, at least in the population centers in the East and Midwest. It was likely enough to slow real GDP growth from the 2.6% pace of the past year to under 1% annualized growth...


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[ • 10 Apr 2014 • No Comment ]
The famous Anthony Porter exoneration in Chicago in 1999 is about to fall apart. Not only is Porter likely guilty of the double murder he was initially charged with, an innocent man therefore sits in an east central Illinois prison serving a 37-year sentence.  His probable framing was largely orchestrated by a since-discredited “journalism” professor and his students at Northwestern University, a cowed prosecutor’s office in Cook County, and a Chicago media that enabled the whole charade. The...


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[ • 10 Apr 2014 • No Comment ]
In military terms, “collateral damage” means that a combatant’s ally or strikeforce takes an unforeseen hit – death, disfigurement, defeat – on behalf of the primary combatant, usually due to flawed strategy. On March 18, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) commissioner Debra Shore suffered serious collateral damage, due to her allies’ flawed strategy. As a result, she won’t be the MWRD’s next president.   Unquestionably, the presidency of the obscure MWRD is a prize...


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[ • 9 Apr 2014 • No Comment ]
After a House Democratic lawmaker announced his opposition today to the 3% millionaire surcharge, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told The Illinois Observer that the debate on the speaker’s $1 billion school funding proposal had ended and he squarely laid the blame on Republicans.   “It appears that the Republicans prefer protecting millionaires over the $1 billion for students in schools across the state,” said Brown. “We think that brings the debate on the millionaires amendment...


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[ • 9 Apr 2014 • No Comment ]
Chicago’s City Council pulled an old trick in the recent election. No, not your basic vote theft, but referendum manipulation.   Referendum manipulation? Yes, a typically Chicagoesque variety of electoral prestidigitation. Let me elucidate. First off, we do not have lawmaking by referendum in Illinois except for the narrowest issues involving restructuring of state government. All other referenda—other than local bond or tax issues—are purely “advisory.” A lot of folks in this town,...


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[ • 8 Apr 2014 • No Comment ]
The obvious and immediate reaction to these maps is to see them as a direct consequence of rising income inequality. There is some truth to that, but the researchers from which much of this data came have already discovered that income segregation has actually risen faster than inequality. So that’s not the end of the story. Anyway, here you go: the disappearance of Chicago’s middle-class and mixed-income neighborhoods since 1970, measured by each Census tract’s median family income as a percentage...


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