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”


Illinois Update 1-20-18

Illinois Update, updated: Peoria’s new program for homeless men

Earlier this week, in our post of 1-16-18 (“Cairo, Illinois: Our Nation Writ in Miniature”), we concluded with a discussion of the purchase by OSF (Peoria’s largest healthcare provider and the fourth-largest provider in Illinois) of an historic nine-story commercial property in the urban core of the city for its new mission headquarters. The property had belonged to a series of department stores and banks over the course of its century and more of life (built 1905), and had been purchased by Caterpillar for conversion to the corporation’s new headquarters. Continue reading “Illinois Update 1-20-18”

HEJE Overview 1-19-18: Health Care

About that Medicaid Work Requirement …


My question is this: Who doesn’t deserve dignity and respect? Why should you have to pass a wallet biopsy before a health care provider determines she can talk to you, order a test, figure out what is wrong or decide how to treat you? This is our issue.”

–Dr. Claudia Fegan, speaking on the occasion of MLK’s birthday in Louisville, Kentucky (2011) Continue reading “HEJE Overview 1-19-18: Health Care”

HEJE Overview 11-20-17: Healthcare


“… [I]t’s important to provide publicly funded treatment and comprehensive services to both rural and urban communities. Practically speaking, many people in need of opioid treatment are able to access treatment only using public health insurance programs like the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and block grant programs.”

–“The Opioid Crisis Is at its Worst in Rural Areas: Can Telemedicine Help?”

Our regular HEJE Overview returns to Healthcare after a bit of a break. On the Rx list today: Why everybody will love single-payer (once it’s law); the new nominee to become Sec of HHS (hint: he’s from Eli Lilly); eliminating the individual mandate—in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (aka, tax cut bill); rising obesity among children and the health risks obesity entails, brought to a close by Big Hospital consolidations and closures in rural America (with the Mayo Clinic as chief exemplar), and finally, a cheaper (but not cheap enough to be affordable to many sufferers) approach to opioid addiction: telemedicine. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-20-17: Healthcare”

HEJE Overview 11-18-17: Environment


We are entering a period of consequences and are in danger of being too late… I have come to note that greenhouse gas climate forcings are accelerating, not decelerating, and sea-level rise and ocean acidification are accelerating. We confront a mortal threat, now endangering the very existence of island and low-lying nations in the Pacific and around the planet. Accordingly, ambition must be increased and enforced.”

–former NASA scientist James Hansen

It’s been another bad week for the environment, the mother of us all.

In today’s HEJE Overview-Environment: conclusions from COP23 (three links/excerpts); pipelines (DAPL, Keystone XL, Dominion Energy’s proposed pipeline expansions in Appalachia, drilling in the ANWR), and environmental injustice (two links, including one that provides handy charts and data on the most polluted states/counties/cities in the U.S.). We conclude with “Today in ‘we can’t believe we’re reading this’”: the Interior Department’s proposed lifting of the ban on importation of big game/wild animal “trophies” from Zimbabwe and Zambia, plus the president’s yesterday-evening decision to retain the ban, issued via tweet. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-18-17: Environment”

HEJE Overview 11-4-17: Health/care

Looking at health/care and poverty: three cases

What do a paralyzed bull rider from Oklahoma, at least 29 victims of the Las Vegas shooting, and many opioid addicts on methadone/buprenorphine have in common?

Right, you guessed it: they’re too poor to pay for medical treatment. Accordingly, in lieu of our QOTD, we begin this Overview by linking to U.S. POVERTY STATISTICS (2016) Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-4-17: Health/care”

HEJE Overview 11-1-17

Today’s 11-1-17 HEJE Overview: in HEALTHCARE, Bernie Sanders’ visit to Toronto, Canada to inspect the Canadian healthcare system up close, and the state-of-play of the Affordable Care Act as of the end of October; in ENVIRONMENT, Puerto Rico’s contract with Whitefish Energy, Inc. (now cancelled) from several vantage points, and in EDUCATION, more bad Illinois news as charter schools seem to have hired people placed on the CPS “Do Not Hire” list. Also, student stress and anxiety levels have been rising since January 2017. BONUS: A look at two recent long-form pieces on the Secretary of Education. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 11-1-17”