HEJE Overview 10-16-17

DSO: Today we review four long-form pieces, focusing on one per area: Healthcare (Why Medicare for All means freedom); Environment (A just rebuilding in the wake of Harvey, Irma, and Maria); Justice (How Chicago gets a few of its guns); Education (The demise of Midwestern flagship Research I universities).

Selections from Jacobin (Healthcare), The Center for American Progress (Environment), ProPublica Illinois (Justice), and The Atlantic (Education).

Oh, and a bonus piece in “Health” (courtesy Mother Jones) on the opioid epidemic as it plays out on a daily basis in northeastern Ohio.

Enjoy! Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-16-17”


HEJE Overview 10-14-17

Is Anybody Still Listening?

As a citizen, voter, and human being, I am writing this message to anybody who’s still listening to express my grave concern over a great many issues arising in the past few weeks/days/hours.

These include—but are not limited to—the following. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-14-17”

Coffee Break 10-12-17: Illinois Update

Illinois’s political dysfunction as America’s political dysfunction

One thing that’s crystal clear about Rauner is that he is a true believer in pro-business fiscal policies. A free-market conservative, he wants lower taxes, less spending, less government interference in private business, and more business in government. His belief in the superiority of charter schools to Chicago’s public schools, his antipathy toward the Chicago Teachers Union, and his support of vouchers are real and deeply felt.”

–Carol Felsenthal, “Will the Real Bruce Rauner Please Stand Up?” Chicago Magazine, Sept. 15, 2014 

Ah, Illinois. If you’re not a native of the 5th-largest state (and 5th-largest economy – Illinois is a financial services and agricultural powerhouse), you probably won’t understand why natives like DSO feel so disheartened by the latest shenanigans in Chicago (the state’s de facto capital) and Springfield (the state’s de jure capital).

Below the fold, a primer … Continue reading “Coffee Break 10-12-17: Illinois Update”

HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Justice

Decimating Public Employee Unions: Janus v. AFSCME


“The Supreme Court’s decision to take Janus’ case has generated headlines across the country, with union leaders asserting that a decision in Janus’ favor will hurt government-worker unions. But that’s a distortion of what the case is about. Janus is about restoring First Amendment rights to government workers, giving them a choice whether to support a union. It’s about ensuring their ability to exercise the same rights as every other person in this country. And it does not mean the end of government-worker unions in Illinois.”

–Mailee Smith, “Janus v. AFSCME could mean more freedom for Illinois’ government workers,” Illinois Policy Institute (October 9, 2017)

Two words to watch out for in the title: “freedom” and “government”.  They have different meanings from those we were taught. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Justice”

HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Environment

Puerto Rico Three Weeks On: A Compendium

Weeks after a Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Puerto Rico, it was reported that 95 percent of residents on the island were without power, 35 percent of grocery stores were closed, 50 percent of roads needed to be cleared of debris, 86 percent of cellphone towers were not functioning, and 25 percent of shipping ports were closed.”

From Harper’s Weekly Review, by Joe Klein

The president has not yet responded to Mayor Cruz’ most recent assessment of Puerto Rico and the response from the U.S. government. The White House press pool said he was golfing at another of his properties on Saturday.” (October 8)

We stand by everything we proposed in our September 29 post, “A Progressive Shock-Doctrine for Puerto Rico“. Every. single.word.


Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-11-17: Environment”

HEJE Overview 10-9-17: Healthcare

 The Bleak Future of the ACA


Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) spoke to a group of high-school students near Milwaukee on Friday morning, and he heard from one student who asked, “Do you personally consider health care as a privilege or a right?” The far-right senator replied:

“I think it’s probably more of a privilege. Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right? What we have as rights is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Past that point, we have the right to freedom. Past that point everything else is a limited resource that we have to use our opportunities given to us to afford those things.”

responding to a student at West Berlin High School near Milwaukee, Sept. 29, 2017 Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-9-17: Healthcare”

HEJE Overview 10-8-17: Education

Structural Racism within and outside the Classroom


These deeper parts (of the system) are the mental models and values of people perpetuating the system ― the rules that govern our districts and how dollars are allocated are created from the mental models of our region’s leaders. These are the racial biases we have about sending our children to school with kids who don’t look like us or the worries voiced about children being bused to our neighborhoods when their schools are failing. Without understanding the system structure that creates these problems in the first place, we will forever be addressing the events we can see and rarely solving the problem that causes them.

Saras Chung, “Segregated Schools in St. Louis are not an Accident”

The “deeper parts” of this system are everywhere, provided we’re willing to open our eyes and look around us. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 10-8-17: Education”