Coffee Break 3-8-18: A Tale of Two Stories

A Tale of Two (News) Stories


“Nearly a month ago, Rauner infamously declared that he ‘would not do anything different’ in the aftermath of a Legionnaires’ outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. Since then four residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ and new reports keep raising questions about Rauner’s response to the crisis.

Yesterday, Rauner’s administration dodged a legislative committee who wanted to know why the state never acted on a recommendation to replace water pipes back in 2016. After a WBEZ investigative report into the home, which prompted a Rauner stay at the home, his team requested an updated report. And they asked for the plumbing replacement as an ‘emergency project’ since ‘frail, elderly residents at the home (are) still becoming sickened.’

Rauner told Crain’s Chicago this month, ‘We’ve handled it exceptionally well and we would not do anything different.’”

–DGA, quoted in Capitol Fax 2-21-18

There’s plenty of news circulating these days, but not all of it is making front-page headlines in the MSM—or at least, not until the stories themselves are played out.

Below the fold, we consider two stories we’re following, one out of West Virginia, and the other out of Illinois. The first was the West Virginia teachers and service personnel strike, the other is a mystery-tragedy in Quincy, Illinois.  Both serve to illustrate separate-but-related facets of the trend towards “small government”—small in terms of citizen services, that is. Continue reading “Coffee Break 3-8-18: A Tale of Two Stories”


Coffee Break 2-26-18: Janus v. AFSCME

Oral arguments today in Janus v. AFSCME


Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity.

The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

–excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” delivered April 3, 1968, one day prior to his assassination during the Memphis public sanitation workers’ strike

Today is a historic day for public unions: oral arguments are scheduled before the Supreme Court on Janus v. AFSCME. Continue reading “Coffee Break 2-26-18: Janus v. AFSCME”

Coffee Break 2-5-18: Public Education

Lest We Forget

DeedSpeakOut has recently joined a Facebook group called “Abandoned Images of Illinois.” Yesterday members posted photos of two abandoned early 20th-century schoolhouses, the Time School in Pike County and another near Clinton (Galilee Road off Rte. 51) in Dewitt County. Continue reading “Coffee Break 2-5-18: Public Education”

Coffee Break 1-29-8: On Public Education

Why I Believe in Public Education


No quotes today; rather, we dedicate this post to two education writers who have in the past few days written or delivered testaments to public education without glossing over the problems public schools are facing:

Jan Ressenger, “Why We Chose Public Schools”

Peter Greene, “For Some Reason” Continue reading “Coffee Break 1-29-8: On Public Education”

HEJE Overview 1-27-18: Environment


Children playing feet away from open pools of raw sewage; drinking water pumped beside cracked pipes of untreated waste; human faeces flushed back into kitchen sinks and bathtubs whenever the rains come; people testing positive for hookworm, an intestinal parasite that thrives on extreme poverty.”

Thinking Haiti, or El Salvador, or some random African country?

Well, you’d be wrong. Today’s quote characterizes a county in Alabama, U.S.A.

Today’s HEJE Overview returns to environmental issues. Of note: Puerto Rico, four months after Hurricane Maria, is privatizing its power system; the richest men in the U.S. want to “save” the Rust Belt, their way; Pueblo, Colorado is contemplating going 100% green, but can a poor city afford environmental awareness?; dicamba update in advance of the 2018 planting season; the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, IN: environmental justice advocate Catherine Flowers fights for water and sewage justice in rural Alabama, and finally (whew), some good environmental news for Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

There’s a wealth of environmental injustice recounted below the fold. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 1-27-18: Environment”

Coffee Break 1-23-18

A Question for our Readers


“Let’s think about Section 8 housing. If word got out that the government was planning to build a housing project for the poor in your neighborhood, how would you feel about it? Be honest with yourself. Nobody would consider this good news. You wouldn’t consider it good news because you don’t want the destructive culture of the poor imported into your neighborhood. Drive over to the poor part of town, and see what a shithole it is. Do you want the people who turned their neighborhood a shithole to bring the shithole to your street? 

No, you don’t. Be honest, you don’t.”

–Rod Dreher, “Of Sh*tholes and Second Thoughts,” The American Conservative (blog), 1-19-18 Continue reading “Coffee Break 1-23-18”

Author’s Note 1-20-18

Oh, and by the way …

DeedSpeakOut isn’t always able to publish lengthy HEJE Overviews or original pieces on a daily basis, although we hope that we’ll get back to near-daily posting in the not-too-distant future.

But in case you’re interested to learn what we’re reading–because even if we don’t post, we’re still reading every day, all day–we have a Facebook page, where we typically post the most interesting, or relevant, or alarming pieces we’ve encountered.

Comments tend to be fairly brief, but a little more pointed (shrill, perhaps) than they are on the blog itself.

You can find us at

All day, (nearly) every day, posting links of interest to health care, the environment, and education, with a hefty helping of injustice thrown in.

P.S. Comments on FB posts are very welcome–we read them, and we respond!