WBEZ | repeal http://www.wbez.org/tags/repeal Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Marine general who opposed 'Don't Ask' repeal says ending ban was 'a non-event' http://www.wbez.org/story/marine-general-who-opposed-dont-ask-repeal-says-ending-ban-was-non-event-94400 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/AP101203038183.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Marine Gen. James F. Amos, the face of opposition in the military to lifting the ban on gays serving openly, now acknowledges his concern has proven unfounded that repeal would undermine the war effort. In fact, he says, Marines have embraced the change.</p><p>In an Associated Press interview, Amos called the repeal in September "a non-event."</p><p>That is in contrast to his cautionary words to Congress in December 2010, shortly before President Barack Obama signed the repeal legislation. The ban was not lifted until this year to allow the Pentagon to prepare troops for the change.</p><p>"Successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat," Amos testified. Still, he said at the time that if the law were changed, it would be faithfully followed by Marines.</p><p>He now sees no sign of disruption in the ranks — even on the front lines.</p><p>"I'm very pleased with how it has gone," Amos said during a weeklong trip that included four days in Afghanistan, where he heard nary a word of worry about gays. During give-and-take sessions with Marines serving on in Helmand province, he was asked about a range of issues, including the future of the Corps — but not one about gays.</p><p>In the interview, he also offered an anecdote from the home front to make his point that the change has been taken in stride.</p><p>He said that at the annual ball in Washington this month celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps, a female Marine approached Amos' wife, Bonnie, and introduced herself and her lesbian partner.</p><p>"Bonnie just looked at them and said, 'Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you,'" Amos said. "That is happening throughout the Marine Corps."</p><p>Looking back, Amos said he had no regrets about publicly opposing repeal during wartime. He said he had felt obliged, as commandant of the Corps, to set aside his personal opinions and represent the views of the 56 percent of combat Marines who told a Defense Department survey last year that repeal could make them less effective and cohesive in combat.</p><p>"I think I did exactly what I should have done," Amos said. "I've never looked back on it and said it (his concern) was misplaced."</p><p>Not only did Amos hear no talk about the repeal's impact during his visit to Afghanistan, the subject also did not arise when he fielded questions from Marines on board the USS Bataan warship in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday.</p><p>In Bahrain on Sunday, one Marine broached the topic gently. He asked Amos whether he planned to change the Marines' policy of leaving it to the discretion of local commanders to decide how to handle complaints about "homosexual remarks or actions." Amos said no.</p><p>He said he is aware of only one reported incident in Afghanistan thus far, and that turned out to be a false alarm. He said a blogger had written of a gay Marine being harassed by fellow Marines for his sexual orientation. In an ensuing investigation, the gay Marine denied he had been harassed.</p><p>A Defense Department spokeswoman, Cynthia O. Smith, said implementation of the repeal of the gay ban is proceeding smoothly across the military.</p><p>"We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program, combined with the continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders at all levels," Smith said.</p><p>In the months leading up to Congress' repeal, there were indications that the change might not be embraced so readily.</p><p>During a visit to a Marine combat outpost in southern Afghanistan in June, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was confronted by an enlisted Marine who clearly objected to the repeal. He told Gates that the Marine Corps had "a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector," and that repeal of the gay ban had "changed those values."</p><p>He asked Gates whether Marines who object to serving with gays would be allowed to opt out of their enlistment. Gates said no and predicted that if pre-repeal training was done right, "nothing will change" with regard to rules of behavior and discipline.</p><p>That Marine was not alone in making known his doubts about the wisdom of allowing gays to serve openly in uniform. In a survey of military members last year, 45 percent of Marines viewed repeal negatively in terms of how it could affect combat readiness, effectiveness and cohesion. Among those Marines who serve in combat roles, 56 percent expressed that view.</p><p>The issue split the military. Gates and other senior military leaders supported lifting the restrictions, pointing to a Pentagon study showing that most people in uniform don't object to serving with gays.</p><p>But Amos and his Army counterpart bucked their bosses to recommend against lifting the ban during wartime.</p><p>"I don't want to lose any Marines to the distraction," Amos said then.</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/marine-general-who-opposed-dont-ask-repeal-says-ending-ban-was-non-event-94400 Emanuel plans to repeal city head tax http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-plans-repeal-city-head-tax-92883 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//rahm hearing.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The mayor introduced a measure to the city council this week that will cut the head tax in half next year and do away with it by 2014.</p><p>If a company in Chicago employs more than 50 people, it has to pay four dollars a month for every employee. Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls this head tax a "job killer."</p><p>He says cutting the head tax has already made Chicago more attractive to businesses such as Ford - which recently announced it wants to add jobs to its South Side plant.</p><p>"This has been a significant piece in our ability to win those jobs at that Ford plant and add a third shift in the Ford plant in the city of Chicago," he said.</p><p>Eliminating the head tax will drop the city's annual revenue by $23 million. His administration said in a press release that the lost revenue will be offset by other reductions in the 2012 budget. The mayor will present his full budget proposal next week.</p></p> Thu, 06 Oct 2011 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-plans-repeal-city-head-tax-92883 Durbin defends health care bill http://www.wbez.org/story/health-care/durbin-defends-health-care-bill <p><p>The new U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on repealing President Barack Obama's health care law Wednesday.</p><p>Republicans now control the House. Many of the new Republican congressmen campaigned on repealing the law.</p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says there's a big hole in the Republicans' arguments against the health care bill.</p><p>&quot;This kind of mindless, 'Let's repeal it and walk away from it' just ignores the obvious: We need to make health care more affordable and more accessible for everybody,&quot;&nbsp;Durbin said.</p><p>The repeal effort is not expected to move beyond the House of Representatives because Democrats still control the Senate. The law aims to provide coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people.</p></p> Wed, 19 Jan 2011 13:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/health-care/durbin-defends-health-care-bill Illinois House passes repeal of death penalty http://www.wbez.org/story/60-votes/illinois-house-passes-repeal-death-penalty <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//prisoner and bars_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 6:45pm on 01/06/2011</em></p><p>In a whirlwind reversal, the Illinois House voted to repeal the state's death penalty hours after an initial attempt failed.</p><p>The repeal measure came up one vote short during a 59-58 tally earlier Thursday. But a second vote yielded the required 60 votes.<br />The measure passed 60-54.</p><p>The state Senate has yet to vote on the measure.</p><p>Supporters said it was time to end a sad history in Illinois in which 20 people condemned to death have been freed after exoneration or new evidence surfaced which cast doubt on their convictions.</p><p>Three Illinois governors have observed a moratorium on capital punishment for a decade. But critics of abolition said the ultimate<br />punishment has been fixed, remains a deterrent and should remain an option for families seeking justice.</p><p>Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz and Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons had said the effort to eliminate the death penalty was a politically motivated effort to circumvent the will of the people.</p><p>No one has been executed in Illinois since 1999. Former Gov. George Ryan suspended executions in 2000 because 13 condemned men were later exonerated or evidence against them was ruled improper. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 22:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/60-votes/illinois-house-passes-repeal-death-penalty Illinois House begins death penalty debate http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/illinois-house-begins-death-penalty-debate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//prisoner and bars.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois House has begun debate on a repeal of the death penalty.</p><p>Former Gov. George Ryan suspended executions in 2000 because 13 condemned men were later exonerated or evidence against them was ruled improper. No one has been executed in Illinois since then.</p><p>Proponents of repealing the death penalty say it doesn't deter crime, is expensive and the system is long and tortuous.</p><p>Several Illinois prosecutors have voiced support for continued use of capital punishment.</p><p>Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz and Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons have said the effort to eliminate the death penalty is a politically motivated effort to circumvent the will of the people.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 22:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/illinois-house-begins-death-penalty-debate Film shows human side of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' debate http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-shows-human-side-don%E2%80%99t-ask-don%E2%80%99t-tell-debate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//marine story movie resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week&rsquo;s election results cast doubt on what once seemed close to a mission accomplished: The repeal of &quot;don&rsquo;t ask, don&rsquo;t tell.&quot;<br /><br />The military policy bans gay soldiers from serving openly. Since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly called for its repeal but under a new Congress that&rsquo;s unlikely to happen anytime soon.</p><p>A new film attempts to take the debate over &quot;don&rsquo;t ask, don&rsquo;t tell.&quot; out of the political arena and into everyday life. &quot;<a href="http://www.amarinestorymovie.com/#" target="_blank">A Marine Story</a>&quot; follows Alexandra Everett as she returns home after being discharged under the policy.</p><p>The film screens tonight as part of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reelingfilmfestival.org/">Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian &amp; Gay International Film Festival</a>. The protagonist is played by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dreyaweber.com/bio.html">Dreya Weber</a>. She and her husband, the film&rsquo;s director, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nedfarr.com/">Ned Farr</a>, joined Eight Forty-Eight to discuss the film and its commentary on the controversial policy.</p></p> Tue, 09 Nov 2010 15:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-shows-human-side-don%E2%80%99t-ask-don%E2%80%99t-tell-debate