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 1-20-18: Education


Ed reforms = failed reforms

What is the ultimate goal of public education? Do we genuinely want our citizens to be able to embrace an active role in American civic life, from neighborhood watch volunteers to Congressional representatives? Is every child in America equally deserving of a good education?

If the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then we’re doing something terribly wrong.


We’re back to our regular HEJE coverage, and today review recent education developments, including: ESSA/NCLB (hint: they’re not all that different); Michigan charters and their funding; rural/urban low minority college attendance; Freezing Baltimore public schools suggest neglect, structural racism and classism; California private schools are subject to zero oversight. Bonus: another piece of poorly-thought-out education legislation from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s BTIATM. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 1-20-18: Education”

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”

Illinois Update 1-16-18

Cairo, Illinois: Our Nation Writ in Miniature

We have become a society that seems to revel in the shaming of others. How great it would be if we could learn to speak or acknowledge the hurt we feel and have caused, and then show the love and understanding, and extend the forgiveness and ability to change, to others that we seek for ourselves. What if we spent less time blaming and more time asking — personally and collectively — how do we atone for our past mistakes? And how do we move forward?”

–Molly Parker of The Southern Illinoisan Continue reading “Illinois Update 1-16-18”

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”

Illinois Update 1-11-18

Chicago is gentrifying, and Chris Kennedy has raised a ruckus

“Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy on Wednesday accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of being part of a ‘strategic gentrification plan being implemented by the city of Chicago to push people of color out’ of the city. […]

“Asked about minorities moving from the city to the suburbs, Kennedy said: ‘My belief is they are being pushed out. This is involuntary. We’re cutting off money for schools, cutting off money for police, allowing people to be forced to live in food deserts, closing hospitals, closing access to mental health facilities.’

“’What choice do people have but to move, to leave, and I think that’s part of a strategic gentrification plan being implemented by the city of Chicago to push people of color out of the city?’” Continue reading “Illinois Update 1-11-18”

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”