WBEZ | Politics http://www.wbez.org/news/politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is an artificial tree part of the solution to climate change? http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-08-31/artificial-tree-part-solution-climate-change-112776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chemtree.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Here&#39;s the skinny: CO2 traps heat. There&rsquo;s about 40 percent&nbsp;more of it in the atmosphere today than there was in the millennia of human history before the Industrial Revolution, and that number is rising fast, since we just can&rsquo;t seem to curb our thirst for fossil fuels.</p><p>So what if there were a simple solution? What if we had a way to suck that excess&nbsp;CO2 right back out of the sky?</p><p>Well, actually, we do, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chbe.gatech.edu/faculty/jones" target="_blank">Chris Jones</a>, a chemical engineer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.</p><p>&ldquo;These are our best ways of capturing CO2 from the air,&rdquo; Jones says as he walks under a canopy of trees on the school&rsquo;s campus. &ldquo;Trees evolved over millions of years to do this very efficiently.&rdquo;</p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/xIMG_2101b%20crop.jpg?itok=cbzXoNg1" style="height: 333px; width: 500px;" title="Physicist Klaus Lackner stands beside a miniature greenhouse in his lab at ASU's Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, in which he's testing out the properties of his &quot;artificial tree. Lackner says he expects a square mile of artificial trees could suck as much as ten million tons of CO2 a year out of the atmosphere.(PRI/Ari Daniel)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><p>Thing is, we just don&rsquo;t have enough trees to fix our CO2 problem. In fact, the earth has fewer acres of trees every year. But Jones says that even if we planted trees everywhere we could, they still wouldn&rsquo;t be able to pull enough CO2 out of the air to offset our emissions.</p><p>Which for Jones means one thing. &ldquo;We have to come up with a chemical tree that can effectively extract CO2 out of the air,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Essentially mimic nature, only do her one better. The technical name for the idea is direct air capture. And it is a tall order &mdash; to improve on trees, which have been honed by millions of years of evolution. In fact, some say the technology will never be efficient or cheap enough. To which Jones and some of his colleagues reply, that&rsquo;s ridiculous.</p><p>&ldquo;People in the past said heavier than air flight is impossible, and all you needed to do is look at a bird and you know that&rsquo;s wrong,&rdquo; says&nbsp;<a href="http://engineering.asu.edu/cnce/klaus-lackner/" target="_blank">Klaus Lackner</a>, the director of the&nbsp;<a href="http://engineering.asu.edu/cnce/" target="_blank">Center for Negative Carbon Emissions</a>&nbsp;at Arizona State University in Tempe.</p><p>&ldquo;Capture from air is not impossible. All you need to do is look at a tree and you know it&rsquo;s possible.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Prototypes and pasta cutters</span></strong></p><p>Chris Jones&rsquo; approach to the challenge is a ceramic cube about half the size of a loaf of bread and almost as light, hollowed out by hundreds of tiny square tunnels. If you hold it up to the light, you can see through it.</p><p>&ldquo;All of us who own a car own one of these,&rdquo; Jones says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re in the catalytic converter in our car. Normally, these are used to clean up the exhaust coming out of our engine.&rdquo;</p><div><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/xIMG_3930b.JPG?itok=7NI6Mj6W" style="float: left; height: 224px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The artificial trees Georgia Tech chemical engineer Chris Jones is working on look nothing like actual trees. They're ceramic cubes full of tiny corridors, similar to the catalytic converter of a car, but coated with a material that absorbs carbon dioxide instead of carbon monoxide. (PRI/Ari Daniel)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><p>The ones in our cars are designed to hold onto pollutants like carbon monoxide. The tunnels of Jones&rsquo;s cube are coated with a material his team has developed that grabs onto carbon dioxide. As air flows through it, the lattice gradually fills up with CO2.</p><p>Jones has a pilot plant in California where he has 600 of these bricks stacked together into a block about the size of a semi-tractor trailer stood up on its end. The system uses fans to blow air onto the bricks, and steam to remove the captured CO2 so the bricks can be reused. The prototype sucks down about 1,000 tons of CO2 per year.</p><p>By itself, that&rsquo;s an inconsequential amount. But it is a start. Klaus Lackner&rsquo;s group at Arizona State is taking a different approach. It starts with a cream-colored piece of fabric that Lackner&rsquo;s colleague&nbsp;<a href="http://engineering.asu.edu/cnce/allen-wright/" target="_blank">Allen Wright</a>&nbsp;describes as almost &ldquo;leathery &hellip; kind of like a very, very dense sponge.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s a material that bonds with CO2, and is usually used to purify liquids like wine and beer. Wright and Lackner used a pasta cutter to cut some of the fabric into thin strips &mdash; angel hair size &mdash; then wove the ribbons into a central rod. What they ended up with looks like a duster.</p><div><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/961646068%281%29.jpg?itok=o-b9CF4X" style="float: right; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 450px;" title="This pilot plant in California holds 600 of Jones's bricks. He says the prototype sucks down about 1,000 tons of CO2 per year. (Global Thermostat)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><p>&ldquo;These are nature-inspired shapes &mdash; pine-tree looking pieces,&rdquo; Lackner says, &ldquo;where contact with the wind is very, very natural.&rdquo;</p><p>Lackner says the eventual goal is to build devices much like a tree that would stand passively in the wind and absorb CO2 as the air blows over them.</p><p>No fans are necessary with their approach.</p><p>The material sheds the CO2 when it gets wet, so Lackner and his colleagues have also been working on ways to discharge the gas so it can be stored or reused later.</p><p>He says a full-scale version of the system &mdash; one with tree-like structures spaced out like a forest &mdash; is still 20 or 30 years away, but that initial results show real promise. Eventually, he believes, a square mile of artificial trees could suck up as much as ten million tons of CO2 per year.</p><p>That&rsquo;s still a far cry from the 1.5 trillion tons or so that we need to take out of the air to reset our atmosphere, but again, it is a start.</p><p>And lots of other people around the world are barking up the same artificial tree.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Daring to dream</span></strong></p><p>The biggest hurdle right now is engineering these and other materials so they can grab enough CO2.</p><p>&ldquo;The technical challenge&rdquo; says Chris Jones at Georgia Tech, is &ldquo;to make it more efficient and optimize the process so that we can reduce the overall costs.&rdquo;</p><p>Jones says it&rsquo;s his job to get the cost down to the point where policymakers have no choice but to say yes to the technology.</p><p>That could take a long time &mdash; remember Klaus Lackner&rsquo;s estimate of 20 to 30 years to perfect his artificial tree.</p><p>But Lackner says costs are likely to fall dramatically. He points to the examples of wind turbines, which are 40 times cheaper today than 50 years ago, and photovoltaic panels, which are 100 times cheaper than they were half a century ago.</p><p>The first step was to show that direct air capture of CO2 was possible, and that&rsquo;s been done.</p><p>&ldquo;We can reverse the CO2 concentration in the air,&rdquo; Lackner says. &ldquo;We cannot reverse the melting of a glacier. We&rsquo;re already way too late. But we will do it.&rdquo;</p><p>And the carbon dioxide will be waiting for us when we do.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-08-30/artificial-tree-part-solution-climate-change-these-guys-think-so" target="_blank">The World</a></em></p></p> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 08:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-08-31/artificial-tree-part-solution-climate-change-112776 Saudi Arabia escalates attacks in Yemen http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-28/saudi-arabia-escalates-attacks-yemen-112764 <p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Sheila Carapico says Saudi Arabia seeks hegemony over Yemen</strong></span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d5363326-7617-f9aa-ab49-4abce8b3e762">News coming out of Yemen seems to indicate that Saudi Arabia is making bold moves to establish a foothold in the country to counter its rival, Iran. Reports suggest that the Saudis now have boots on the ground in Yemen as it continues bombing raids against Shiite Houthi rebels. But many observers, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, feel more attention must be paid to the &ldquo;catastrophic&rdquo; humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict. Sheila Carapico, political science professor at the University of Richmond, will tell us why she thinks most of the news coming out of Yemen is Saudi propaganda meant to take the eye off the slaughter of civilians.</span></p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-d5363326-761e-9a34-8bd2-6b4c2e091faa"><a href="http://polisci.richmond.edu/faculty/scarapic/">Sheila Carapico</a> is</span>&nbsp;professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221328803&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Hubert Sauper&#39;s film &quot;We Come as Freinds&quot; is on Western exploitation of Sudanese</strong></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a7cf3a61-7619-6732-9b31-05a4a66f2aa3">This week, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed a peace accord aimed at ending nearly two years of conflict. Since the start of the civil war in 2013, at least eight peace deals have collapsed before ever taking effect. &nbsp;The conflict began as power struggle between Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar. &nbsp;The latest film by director &nbsp;Hubert Sauper, &#39;<a href="http://www.wecomeasfriends.com/us/">We Come as Friends</a>&#39;, explores the moment when Sudan was being divided into two nations. &nbsp;Film contributor Milos Stehlik and Hubert Sauper join us to discuss the film and what is happening in South Sudan.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span>Guests:&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a7cf3a61-761d-e247-4199-2453815fb63b">Hubert Sauper is the director of the film &quot;We Come As Friends&quot;.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">Milos Stehlik is the director of Facets Multimedia and WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221330807&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Weekend Passport: Ania Jaworska exhibit,&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761a-f718-862c-aaae0b0fadfa">Chicago Dancing Festival</span>, Ugandan Kid&rsquo;s Choir and &#39;Art&#39; by Gorilla Tango</strong></span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761b-5d85-394b-248ab47f0f16"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8ac0c89c-761c-7da3-4017-dfd5477d27a8">Each week, global citizen, Nari Safavi, helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week, we&rsquo;ll hear about an <a href="http://www2.mcachicago.org/exhibition/bmo-harris-bank-chicago-works-ania-jaworska/">exhibit</a> featuring the work of Polish artist Ania Jaworska.</span></span></p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> Nari Safavi is co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221330807&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-28/saudi-arabia-escalates-attacks-yemen-112764 Comptroller: Illinois on pace to rack up $5B deficit http://www.wbez.org/news/comptroller-illinois-pace-rack-5b-deficit-112723 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash;&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;Comptroller Leslie Munger&#39;s office says required payments by the state are putting it on pace to rack up a $5 billion deficit.</p><p>Munger&#39;s office said Tuesday it doesn&#39;t have enough money to write timely checks to service providers even on court-ordered payments.</p><p>The comptroller writes&nbsp;Illinois&#39; checks but has been hamstrung because Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers are deadlocked on a budget.</p><p>Munger spokesman Rich Carter says the Republican is managing the cash shortage and paying nonprofits first.</p><p>One consent decree involves 10,000 developmentally disabled residents who live in community homes or larger facilities. A federal judge ordered a payment by Aug. 21 but the state couldn&#39;t pay it all.</p><p>Barry Taylor of Equip for Equality represents some of the groups. He says they&#39;re evaluating legal options.</p></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/comptroller-illinois-pace-rack-5b-deficit-112723 Cook County Democrats choose not to endorse in two big races http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-democrats-choose-not-endorse-two-big-races-112687 <p><p>Anybody who thinks the old way of Chicago politics is fading, hasn&rsquo;t been by the Erie Cafe this week.</p><p>All day Tuesday, and most of the day Wednesday, 80 Cook County Democratic heavyweights &mdash; including familiar names like Burke, Madigan and Berrios &mdash; came together to eat donuts, drink coffee and battle it out over which candidates deserve the party&rsquo;s endorsement&nbsp;for the upcoming March 2016 primary.</p><p>This time around, the party decided not to endorse in two big races: Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney and the U.S. Senate, currently occupied by Republican Senator Mark Kirk.</p><p>The committeemen set up shop in an actual back room at the Erie Cafe, after many years at Hotel Allegro &mdash; word is, the old spot raised its rates. The leaders of the party sit at a table covered with a white tablecloth, with procedural books on Robert&rsquo;s Rules of Order and the Chicago election code in arm&rsquo;s reach.</p><p>The room was smoke free, though someone passed around wrapped cigars at one point.</p><p>Candidates sit outside the meeting room like students waiting outside the principal&rsquo;s office. They&rsquo;re called to the podium one by one, where they stump for jobs like Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner.</p><p>The names on this years ballot range from the not-very-well known, like Wallace Davis III, to the incredibly familiar, like former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who is now running for a two-year term as a water district commissioner.</p><p>A few committeemen stood up to praise Stroger &mdash; Alderman Walter Burnett said Stroger had received a &ldquo;bum wrap and deserves another opportunity&rdquo; &mdash; but in the end, the party decided to endorse tech entrepreneur Tom Greenhaw instead.</p><p>It&rsquo;s no secret that a lot of committeemen already know who they&rsquo;ll back before they walk into the slating meeting, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean the candidates don&rsquo;t take the process seriously.</p><p>On Tuesday, one candidate arrived at the podium, red in the face with nerves. Another brought up a bright magenta note card with a huge smiley face on it, to correct what she called her &ldquo;Resting B-face. I have a not-friendly resting face.&rdquo;</p><p>But a lot of the real action happens after the speeches, behind a thick wooden door, where committeemen defend their picks to their colleagues. One aldermen left Tuesday&rsquo;s closed session muttering under his breath that he fought like hell.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219999051&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>This year, much of the back and forth was about the candidates for Cook County&rsquo;s State&rsquo;s Attorney and U.S. Senate. While there are four candidates for State&rsquo;s Attorney, committeemen said the room was split between incumbent Anita Alvarez and Kim Foxx, former Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>In the Senate race, five candidates were vying for the party&rsquo;s endorsement. U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth tried to convince members that she was their best hope at unseating Republican Senator Mark Kirk.</p><p>&ldquo;I take a lot of his positives off the table and focus it on the issues. He&rsquo;s not going to be able to rest on his military record with me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not gonna be able to play the sympathy vote and say &lsquo;you know, because I recovered from my illness, I understand better what it&rsquo;s like for people to recover.&rsquo; Well, I can talk about recovery and I can say then, &lsquo;why do you want to cut back on Medicaid and Medicare?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Another familiar candidate, Andrea Zopp, former head of the Chicago Urban League, told committeemen that she had the best chance of reaching voters all across the state.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m the only candidate with the resources that will be there to bring out minority voters, to get them excited into this race we need them for all of our ticket,&rdquo; Zopp said.</p><p>But in the end, the party decided not to endorse anyone in the Senate race. A party spokesman said that&rsquo;s become more common lately, as more and more candidates figure out the best ways to lobby committeemen before the meetings begin.</p><p>But one Chicago ward committeeman said he&rsquo;s concerned over the trouble this could cause for Democratic fundraising for the upcoming primary, as he said there is a very large &ldquo;elephant in the room&rdquo; through all of these election discussions: The seemingly infinite financial resources of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Full Cook County Democratic Party Slating</span></p><p><strong>For President of the United States</strong>: the party endorsed Hillary Clinton</p><p><strong>For Illinois State Comptroller</strong>: the party endorsed Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza</p><p><strong>U.S. Senate</strong>: No endorsement, party votes in favor of open primary</p><p><strong>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney</strong>: No endorsement, party votes in favor of open primary</p><p><strong>Clerk of the Circuit Court: </strong>the party endorsed incumbent Dorothy Brown</p><p><strong>Recorder of Deeds:</strong> the party endorsed incumbent Karen Yarborough</p><p><strong>Metropolitan Water Reclamation District</strong>: the party endorsed Barbara McGowan, Mariyana Spyropoulos and Josina Morita for six-year terms, and Tom Greenhaw for a two-year term.</p><p><strong>Appellate Court: </strong>the party endorsed Justice Bertina Lampkin and Judge Eileen O&rsquo;Neill Burke. Those selected as alternates were: Associate Judge William Boyd, Judge Raul Vega and Associate Judge Leonard Murray.</p><p><strong>Cook County Board of Review, 2nd District: </strong>the party endorsed Incumbent Commissioner Michael Cabonargi</p><p><strong>Circuit Court Judge</strong>: the party endorsed Judge Alison Conlon, Judge Daniel Patrick Duffy, Judge Rossana Fernandez, Judge Alexandra Gillespie, Maureen O&rsquo;Donoghue Hannon, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Brendan O&rsquo;Brien and Judge Devlin Joseph Schoop. Selected as alternates were: Fredrick Bates, Sean Chaudhuri, Patrick Heneghan, Nichole Patton and Peter Michael Gonzalez.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her</em> <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"><em>@laurenchooljian.</em></a></p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-democrats-choose-not-endorse-two-big-races-112687 Bangkok Manhunt for Erawan Shrine Bombers http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-19/bangkok-manhunt-erawan-shrine-bombers-112686 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219977619&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Manhunt is on for Bangkok bombings suspects</span></strong></p><p>News is moving quickly on Monday&rsquo;s terrorist bombing at Bangkok&rsquo;s Erawan shrine. So far, the attack killed at least 22 people and wounded over 100. A suspect was identified through CCTV footage. Reports now say there may be two more bombing suspects. As Thai citizens tried to make sense of Monday&rsquo;s attack, yesterday, another bomb was thrown from a bridge in Bangkok. There were no injuries reported in the second incident, but police say the bombings were similar. Thailand&rsquo;s Police Chief stated he believed the bombs were part of a coordinated attack by a terrorist network. We&rsquo;ll get the latest from Pailin Wedel, an independent journalist, based in Bangkok.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <a href="http://www.pailinwedel.com/">Pailin Wedel</a>&nbsp;is an independent journalist, based in Bangkok, Thailand<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219978523&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="942px"></iframe></p><p><strong><span style="font-size: 24px;">Iraq Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, cuts his cabinet</span></strong></p><p>Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has cut his cabinet, culling it down from 33 to 22 members. &nbsp;Positions cut mean the elimination of certain ministries - including the one that governs human rights and humanitarian affairs. &nbsp;The prime minister says the cuts are meant to weed out corruption and provide better services. Iraqis have been protesting against what they say is mass corruption in the government. We&rsquo;ll talk about the changes with Laith Saud, a visiting assistant professor of religious studies at DePaul University.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong>Laith Saud is a visiting assistant professor of religious studies at DePaul University</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219983865&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Global Notes: Controversy over Tango&#39;s African roots</span></strong></p><p>The documentary, &ldquo;Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango&rdquo; details the African roots of Tango, the famed Argentinean music/dance genre. Music journalist and host of <em>Beat Latino</em>, Catalina Maria Johnson, will tell us about the film, &nbsp;play some Tango for us and talk about some of the racial and cultural controversies surrounding its origins. We&rsquo;ll also hear about some lesser known Afro Latin music such as Boogaloo (USA), Candombe (Uruguay) and Saya (Ecuador).</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong> <a href="http://catalinamariajohnson.com/">Catalina Maria Johnson</a> is a music journalist and the host of Beat Latino on Vocalo.</p><p><strong>Event:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facets.org/cinematheque/films/aug2015/tango-negro.php">Tango Negro</a>&nbsp;plays at Facets Multimedia through 8/20/15</p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-19/bangkok-manhunt-erawan-shrine-bombers-112686 Into second month of budget impasse, Rauner says he's willing to negotiate http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-18/second-month-budget-impasse-rauner-says-hes-willing-negotiate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP752611567752.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois is in month two with no budget. Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders remain locked up.</p><p>The governor introduced a bill Monday with multiple components, including a property tax freeze and a new formula to help funnel funds to financially struggling school districts. The bill included a provision that would force teachers, rather than the district, to pick up their pension contributions. Both Rauner and the Democrats will have their chance to pitch their ideas to residents this week at the Illinois State Fair.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s <em>Morning Shift&rsquo;s </em>Jason Marck spoke with Gov. Rauner about his proposal. The Governor says the bill would pump money to Chicago Public Schools to help get it out of its pension crisis. That money would come in exchange for a property tax freeze and stripping unions of their collective bargaining rights.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Interview highlights</strong></span></p><p><strong>Morning Shift:</strong> You&rsquo;re essentially proposing the same things that Democrats have refused already many times before. Do you think that by sweetening the pot, so to speak, with CPS money, they&rsquo;re going to abandon key constituencies and principles?</p><p><strong>Rauner: </strong>You&rsquo;re raising a really important point because the Speaker [Speaker Michael Madigan] has said, &lsquo;Governor, your policies are extreme and they go against the core beliefs of the Democratic party.&rsquo;</p><p>Let&rsquo;s talk about those two criticisms for a second. First of all, our reforms are not extreme whatsoever. The federal government limits what can get collectively bargained and the federal government is not a Republican-controlled entity.</p><p>The Democrats put in the restrictions on collective bargaining in the federal government. Most states limit collective bargaining in government to some degree. Many outlaw it completely, and I&rsquo;m not advocating that.</p><p>And when he says, &lsquo;you&rsquo;re violating the core beliefs of the democratic party,&rsquo; I can say this: I&rsquo;ve got a lot of Democratic support in our agenda. A lot of Democrats voted for us, many Democrats support the reforms and many Democrats understand that if government costs are out of control, if the cost of pensions, and work rules and pay scale is unaffordable inside government, that&rsquo;s money that can&rsquo;t go to social services to help our most vulnerable families.</p><p><strong>Morning Shift:</strong>&nbsp;Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has ripped your plan and he&rsquo;s ripped the Democrats&rsquo; plan. His criticism of the Dems is that they&rsquo;re spending money that isn&rsquo;t there. His criticism of you is that your budget plan relies on over $2 billion in savings from cutting pension benefits that right now does work with the state Constitution. So what do you say when independent sources believe that neither side&#39;s proposals are grounded in reality?</p><p><strong>Rauner: </strong>I believe the point that he has raised is valid. We proposed our budget before the Supreme Court ruled on pension reform. Now that we understand what the court recommends is constitutional and what&rsquo;s not, we&rsquo;ve updated our pension reform recommendations, we&rsquo;ve put that forward in a pension reform bill, and we believe we can save close to $2 billion per year with our pension reform proposal if the legislature would take it up to pass it. And as a result, our proposed budget from last February would only be maybe about a half billion dollars out of balance and that would require some modifications on tax reform. That&rsquo;s very doable.</p><p>We could work that all out with the general assembly if they would negotiate in good faith on reforms. We need term limits, we need redistricting reform, we need real property tax relief and reform. We need those things as part of the budget negotiations so we can get real value for taxpayers and better government that works for the people again.</p><p><strong>Morning Shift:</strong>&nbsp;You and the largest state employees union agreed to a two-month contract extension at the end of July while negotiations continue on a new contract. The bill would send things to arbitration if both sides can&rsquo;t come up with a deal. It&rsquo;s being pushed by the union and its allies because they believe you want to create a crisis by forcing a strike. What is your response to that?</p><p><strong>Rauner: </strong>Boy, I say that&rsquo;s completely wrong, that is just ridiculous.</p><p>You know, this is the first time I can find anywhere in American history where a big government union has wanted to take away their collective bargaining. They want to take it away and they want to turn the negotiation over to an unelected, bureaucratic arbitrator to decide. To have an arbitrator, unelected and unaccountable, decide on 20 percent of our overall spending, $7 billion, that is just fundamentally wrong.</p><blockquote><p><strong>LISTEN</strong>: <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-18/labor-union-afscme-reacts-rauners-proposal-112674">Anders Lindall&rsquo;s, spokesman for AFSMCE, responds to the Gov. Rauner&#39;s claims</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>They&rsquo;re doing it because AFSCME has an incredible deal, the government union has an incredible deal, on pay and benefits and work rules. And...I&rsquo;m the first governor in Illinois history who hasn&rsquo;t taken campaign contributions from AFSCME, so they don&#39;t have leverage over me. They don&rsquo;t have control over me the way they&rsquo;ve had with virtually all our prior governors. I&rsquo;m an independent. I&rsquo;m battling hard to protect the taxpayers of Illinois. That concerns AFSCME and rather than negotiate with me in good faith, they&rsquo;d rather strip away my negotiating ability and turn it over to a labor union-friendly arbitrator. That is wrong. That could end up costing Illinois taxpayers billions of dollars unnecessarily.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve already committed two things: I will not lock them out. I have no interest in locking out the employees. They can strike if they want to, that&rsquo;s their right, I respect that. But we&rsquo;ll keep the government working. We won&rsquo;t lock them out and...I won&rsquo;t reduce anybody&rsquo;s salary. No salary cuts, but we&rsquo;re going to negotiate a fair deal.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-18/second-month-budget-impasse-rauner-says-hes-willing-negotiate Sri Lanka elections mark Rajapaksa's return http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-14/sri-lanka-elections-mark-rajapaksas-return-112660 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219279946&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Sri Lanka Elections</span></strong></p><p>Sri Lankans will elect a new parliament next week. The big news out of this election cycle has been the decision by the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to run in this election. Rajapaksa was voted out of office earlier this year, when he was seeking a third term as president. He&rsquo;s been accused of corruption and war crimes and says he&rsquo;s decided to re-enter politics as the behest of the people. This time around he is looking at the position of prime minister. Alan Keenan, the Sri Lanka Project Director at the International Crisis Group joins us to discuss Rajapaksa&rsquo;s return and next week&rsquo;s vote.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong><a href="http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/about/staff/field/asia/keenan-alan.aspx">&nbsp;Alan Keenan</a>, the Sri Lanka Project Director at the International Crisis Group joins us to discuss Rajapaksa&rsquo;s return and next week&rsquo;s vote.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219280610&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Milos Stehlik interviews Christian Petzold on his film, &#39;Phoenix&#39;</span></strong></p><p>Director Christian Petzold&rsquo;s latest film, &ldquo;Phoenix&rdquo; has been described as &ldquo;a haunting portrait of identity, loss and the search for answers in post-WWII Berlin. &ldquo; &ldquo;Phoenix&rdquo; tells the story of Nelly Hoss, a Jewish cabaret singer who survived Auschwitz, only to be shot in the face in the last desperate days before liberation. Film contributor Milos Stehlik and Christian Petzold join us to discuss the film.</p><p><em>Phoenix is now showing at Music Box Theatre</em></p><p><strong>Guests: </strong></p><p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0678857/">Christian Petzold</a>, filmmaker. Director of the film &#39;Phoenix&#39;</p><p>Milos Stehlik, director of <a href="http://www.facets.org">Facets Multimedia</a></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219281359&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Weekend Passport: K-von Moezzi on his film &#39;Nowruz: Lost and Found&#39;</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-db08feab-2e43-370f-b4a4-869d13f72890">Each week, global citizen, Nari Safavi, helps listeners plan their international weekend. &nbsp;This week he&rsquo;ll tell us about a screening of a new film about the Persian New Year, Nowruz. The film was directed by comedian K-von Moezzi, who joins us in studio to talk about his comedy and his attempt to explain Nowruz to people who have never heard of it.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-db08feab-2e43-370f-b4a4-869d13f72890">Guests:</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-db08feab-2e43-370f-b4a4-869d13f72890">Nari Safavi is co-founder of <a href="http://www.pasfarda.org/">Pasfarda</a> Arts and Cultural Exchange</span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-db08feab-2e43-370f-b4a4-869d13f72890"><a href="http://www.k-voncomedy.com/">K-von Moezzi</a> is a comedian and the director of Nowruz: Lost and Found</span></p></p> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-14/sri-lanka-elections-mark-rajapaksas-return-112660 Rauner signs police guidelines for body cameras http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-police-guidelines-body-cameras-112641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/body-cameras_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois has become one of the first states nationwide to establish wide-ranging law enforcement rules for body cameras, bias-free policing and more data collection on arrests under a measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.</p><p>The plan beefs up reporting guidelines for officers making pedestrian stops and arrests, largely prohibits chokeholds and adds guidelines for training to help officers become aware of bias and cultural competency. The new law doesn&#39;t mandate body cameras, but does specify how they should be worn, when they have to be turned on and how long recorded videos should be kept. Illinois would help departments pay for the cameras and training for officers with grants funded by a $5 increase in traffic tickets.</p><p>&quot;We are taking steps to strengthen the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the public they protect,&quot; Rauner, who signed the bill in private, said in a statement. &quot;It will have a lasting and positive impact on the people of Illinois.&quot;</p><p>Dozens of U.S. states have passed police reform measures in the wake of two fatal police encounters last year: the shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a black man in New York who died after being placed in a white officer&#39;s chokehold.</p><p>But only three states &mdash; Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut &mdash; have approved comprehensive plans, according to a recent Associated Press analysis. Supporters said the Illinois law could be a model for other states as police practices come under heightened scrutiny.</p><p>The Illinois measure had strong bipartisan support as well as backing from police unions, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. Members of those groups attended a closed-to-reporters bill signing at Rauner&#39;s state Capitol office. The legislation takes recommendations offered by President Barack Obama&#39;s police task force.</p><p>State Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, was one of the bill sponsors.</p><p>&quot;Illinois has set the standard, set the standard nationally,&quot; he said at a news conference in Springfield.</p><p>The law, which fully takes effect in January 2016, also calls for independent reviews of all police-involved deaths and creates a database to help track officers dismissed for misconduct. Effective immediately is the forming of a commission that will review training requirements and other issues and report to legislators and the governor by the end of January.</p></p> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 08:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-police-guidelines-body-cameras-112641 25 years too early: How mental illness kills http://www.wbez.org/news/25-years-too-early-how-mental-illness-kills-112635 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/25 years early Jeanette Hanson .jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Andrea Cooke and Jeanette Hanson were best friends. They both lived on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side, both loved music and thrift stores. And they both had schizophrenia.</p><p>Cooke says the two of them took good care of each other. They brought each other little gifts. Cooke went to Hanson&rsquo;s family picnics and Hanson sent Cook&rsquo;s mother a get well card when she got sick.</p><p>Hanson went to a mental health clinic run by the City of Chicago, and she went there all the time &mdash; not just for therapy, but for help finding jobs, filling out paperwork and making appointments. &nbsp;</p><p>In 2012&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-city-mental-health-clinic-closings-hearing-20140819-story.html">the city shut down that clinic along with six others</a>. Cooke says it was clear that Hanson had lost something important. She still had a therapist, but it was harder to schedule regular appointments. Cooke says Hanson especially missed the group therapy sessions at the clinic and having a place she could drop into if she felt out of control.</p><p>&ldquo;Jeanette really depended on that clinic,&rdquo; said Cooke. &ldquo;And she stopped taking very good care of herself when it closed.&rdquo;</p><p>Hanson&rsquo;s family says that after 30 years without a hospital visit, Hanson began cycling in and out of hospitals. One night Hanson ended up on Cooke&rsquo;s doorstep after airport security was called when Hanson went to the airport, dragging along luggage and her cat, with plans to travel, but no plane ticket. Cooke took Hanson in and for a while she made her food and gave her a place to sleep.</p><p>But it was not easy. Hanson had stopped taking her psychiatric medication and started to think that Cooke should not take medication either.</p><p>&ldquo;She told me she didn&rsquo;t believe I had schizophrenia. So she went into my room and took all my medication and hid it,&rdquo; said Cooke.</p><p>Cooke says eventually Hanson ended up back at her own apartment. She was later found dead from hypertensive cardiovascular disease at age 66.</p><p>Family and friends believe it could be because Hansen had stopped managinger her heart condition. They think she because she was in the the throes of mental illness, she may have been isolating herself from doctors, not consistently taking her blood pressure medication, or following medical instructions.</p><p>&ldquo;I think Jeanette would be alive today if she had someone monitoring all of her conditions &mdash; mental and physical,&rdquo; said Cooke.</p><p>It is impossible to know what would have happened if the clinic had not closed. Hanson may still have died. When it comes to individual stories, it is hard to say with any certainty if things could have been different.</p><p>But what we do know is this:&nbsp;<a href="http://psbqi.dmh.lacounty.gov/QI/Report_Final/Sixteen%20State%20Study%20on%20Mental%20Health%20Performance%20Measures%202003.pdf">According to one stud</a><u>y,</u>&nbsp;people with severe mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than the rest of the population, and the majority of those deaths are from physical ailments.</p><p>Aaron Stuewe was surprised at just how much he ended up dealing with preventable illness when he started working at Thresholds. It is a mental health agency and for over two years he has worked with people who need the highest level of support.</p><p>&ldquo;I was looking at a list of people that have passed away while I&rsquo;ve been here, and it really struck me. God, it&rsquo;s like seven out of eight of them passed away from preventable illness. And we haven&rsquo;t had any people die of suicide,&rdquo; said Stuewe.</p><p>Other mental health case managers tell eerily similar stories, about how they find people dead in their 40s and 50s from physical problems like diabetes.</p><p><a href="http://www.nasmhpd.org/sites/default/files/Mortality%20and%20Morbidity%20Final%20Report%208.18.08.pdf">There are different theories on why this happens</a>. Some psychiatric medications are rough on the body. But people with mental illness are more likely to be homeless, tend to have poor access to healthy food and smoke more. Some people with mental illness may also have more trouble complying with medical instructions or getting medical attention at all.</p><p>The thing that makes Stuewe so upset is that most of those problems are preventable with early and consistent services.</p><p>&ldquo;When you lose a member it is hard. But when you lose somebody to something that you can look back and say if this was changed for this person earlier in their life it would have been really different,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But Stuewe says when it comes to those with mental illness, it seems like people do not actually believe there is a chance for a good long life: &ldquo;I think a lot of people think of it as a forgone conclusion. Like &hellip; all these things were wrong with this person so of course they died early.&rdquo; Stuewe says that&rsquo;s flawed thinking because if services are &nbsp;there early and consistently &nbsp;in someone&#39;s life, conditions could be manageable.</p><p>Patrick Corrigan, Professor of Psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology, has worked on psychiatric recovery. He points to a number of services that directly tackle the problem of physical health for people with mental illness. &nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><strong>LISTEN:&nbsp;Patrick Corrigan discusses addressing physical health and mental illness on WBEZ&#39;s Morning Shift&nbsp;</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/218931930&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></blockquote><p>He says traditionally, physical and mental health have been provided separately, so a psychiatrist might not be in conversation with a person&rsquo;s primary care physician. But there has been a new movement towards integrated care, where someone may receive both services from the same provider.</p><p>He also says programs that match people with peers who are in recovery from mental illness can be helpful. Those peers can help a person develop strategies and plans.</p><p>&ldquo;The issue is one of practicality. Help them get to&hellip; see a primary care physician. Help them regularly take their meds,&ldquo; Corrigan said.</p><p>But Corrigan adds that an &ldquo;equally, if not greater, part of this is health disparities.&rdquo; People with mental illness are more likely to live in poverty. That can mean challenges in accessing food, housing and health care-- basic needs for maintaining physical health. Improving those conditions costs cash. And if there is one thing everyone knows about Illinois, it is that it has big money problems.</p><p>Democratic State Rep.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gregharris.org/">Greg Harris</a>&nbsp;says that is not an argument against investing in these services, it is why we should.</p><p>&ldquo;Just from a financial view from the state, if we were to provide assertive mental health treatment to people with severe mental illness, we could do it for about $20,340 a year. The most regular users of the hospital cost an average of 45,000 dollars a year. So we are paying double,&rdquo; said Harris.</p><p><a href="http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/smha-expenditures-per-capita/">Illinois still lags below the national average</a>&nbsp;for investing in mental health, a funding issue that precedes this budget impasse. In written statements Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois doesn&rsquo;t have the money to spend on important services because Democrats mismanaged the budget. And Democrats say it&rsquo;s because Republicans are shortsighted.</p><p>So as yet another budget is caught up in politics, people wait. And life and death move on.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;</em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/25-years-too-early-how-mental-illness-kills-112635 Obama hopes to seize momentum for criminal justice reform http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-hopes-seize-momentum-criminal-justice-reform-112627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/potus_stills_20150806_003_wide-77891031321e4e42f386a350a8c01d299cf55fec-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama&#39;s perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That&#39;s where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.</p><p>The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he&#39;s pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.</p><p>Some of his supporters feel the president finally found his voice. But in an interview with NPR, Obama says many of the issues he&#39;s now getting attention for, like criminal justice reform, are ones he&#39;s been working on all along.</p><p>&quot;I think that one of the things I&#39;ve learned about being president is that we&#39;ll work on issues for long periods of time, sometimes in obscurity,&quot; he says.</p><p>And though he had strong words for Republicans in Washington for their opposition to the Iran deal, he says criminal justice reform is one area where he envisions bipartisan support. &quot;I mean, there are some sincere efforts on the part of some Republicans in Congress to deal with the problems of mandatory minimums in sentencing and rehabilitation,&quot; he tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. &quot;I think that, wherever I see an opportunity these days, with only 18 months to go, I intend to seize it.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Interview Highlights</span></p><p><strong>On whether he is talking more forcefully about race now</strong></p><p>I think I&#39;ve been pretty consistent, if you look at my statements throughout my presidency. Some of it, I think, is events. ...</p><p>What is true is that there has been an awakening around the country to some problems in race relations, in police-community relations, that aren&#39;t new &mdash; they date back for decades &mdash; because of smartphones and cameras and, you know, social media. I think people have become more aware of them, both black and white.</p><p>And that gives me an opportunity, I think, then, to try to help to constructively shape the debate.</p><p><strong>On criminal justice reform</strong></p><p>I think that one of the things I&#39;ve learned about being president is that we&#39;ll work on issues for long periods of time, sometimes in obscurity.</p><p>For example, on the issue of criminal justice reform, I had a conversation with [former Attorney General] Eric Holder when I came into office ... about how could we address the issue of these ridiculous mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses that are filling up our jails, and we did a whole bunch of work without getting a lot of attention, with U.S. attorneys around the country changing incentives so that they didn&#39;t feel as if being a good prosecutor meant always slapping the longest sentence on people.</p><p>And, in part because of some of those changes in practices, we saw, last year, for the first time in 40 years, a drop in both the number of people incarcerated and the crime rate.</p><p>I think what we&#39;ve seen is the possibility, now, of having a &mdash; a broader public conversation, and this is one area where I&#39;ve been pleasantly surprised to see some bipartisan interest.</p><p>I mean, there are some sincere efforts on the part of some Republicans in Congress to deal with the problems of mandatory minimums in sentencing and rehabilitation and ... I think that, wherever I see an opportunity these days, with only 18 months to go, I intend to seize it.</p><p><strong>On feeling an &#39;urgency&#39; to keep moving in his final year and a half</strong></p><p>I think it&#39;s fair to say that if, in my first term, Ferguson had flared up, as president of the United States, I would have been commenting on what was happening in Ferguson.</p><p>So here&#39;s one thing I will say, is that I feel a great urgency to get as much done as possible, and there&#39;s no doubt that, after over six and a half years on this job, I probably have an easier time juggling a lot of different issues, and it may be that my passions show a little bit more, just because I&#39;ve been around this track now for a while. ...</p><p>And frankly, we&#39;ve done a pretty good job on some big pieces of business, which then allows me also to focus on some issues that we might have been working on quietly, but weren&#39;t getting as much attention.</p><p>But ... the main thing that may have changed is instead of having a year and a half behind me and six and a half years in front of me, I now have six and a half years behind me and a year and a half in front of me, so I gotta &mdash; I gotta keep moving.</p><p>I &mdash; you know, it&#39;s like, what&#39;d Satchel Paige say? &quot;Don&#39;t look &mdash; don&#39;t look behind you; you don&#39;t know what might be catching up.&quot; Yeah, you know, you just wanna keep on &mdash; keep on running.</p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-hopes-seize-momentum-criminal-justice-reform-112627