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”

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”

Coffee Break 1-13-18

The Future of Rural America


These leaders have not only witnessed cultural and economic shifts over time, but they have also prevailed on the front lines of recent political battles by addressing the real concerns of their constituents.

Those interviewed said national Democrats must acknowledge and stay focused on the bread-and-butter challenges facing hardworking families. Too often, they said, Heartland voters view national Democrats as fixated on siloed messages to specific groups that don’t include them or are too focused on controversial social issues to the exclusion of economic concerns.

Instead, they urge national Democrats to stay focused on championing new policy solutions in infrastructure, education and small business that will elevate the economic fortunes of all voters, especially those in rural areas and small towns who feel their concerns aren’t being addressed. When they open the paper in the morning or flip on the news at night, too often they see Democrats talking about things that don’t directly relate to them.”

“Hope from the Heartland: How Democrats Can Better Serve the Midwest by Bringing Rural, Working Class Wisdom to Washington,” Executive Summary Continue reading “Coffee Break 1-13-18”

Coffee Break 1-9-18: Questions for 2018

Questions We’re Asking Ourselves

It’s 2018. The order of the day is “Happy New Year,” but we’re not feeling all that upbeat.

Here are some questions we’ve been asking ourselves – perhaps the questions and their absence of at-hand solutions go some way to explain our not-so-chipper mood. Continue reading “Coffee Break 1-9-18: Questions for 2018”