WBEZ | Politics http://www.wbez.org/news/politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Rauner v. Rauner? The fight over child care http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-v-rauner-fight-over-child-care-112525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RAUNER VID.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Ounce of Prevention, an organization headed by Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner, is asking the state&rsquo;s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to look at the new child care requirements.</p><p>On July 1<em>,</em> Gov. Bruce Rauner drastically restricted the number of families who can get child care assistance, as the budget impasse continues. Ounce of Prevention has criticized the rule since.</p><p>&ldquo;As many as 90 percent of people who are going to apply for childcare are not going to be eligible and that&rsquo;s really creating a disincentive for low income families to find employment,&rdquo; said Ounce&rsquo;s Ireta Gasner.</p><p>Ounce of Prevention, along with four other advocacy organizations, wrote the letter to JCAR. Gasner says Diana Rauner is aware of everything that Ounce has done and &ldquo;the work moves forward, so I think that kind of speaks for itself.&rdquo;</p><p>The governor&#39;s office did not provide a comment.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h"> @shannon_h </a></em></p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-v-rauner-fight-over-child-care-112525 #TheEmptyChair amplifies conversation about sexual assault http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/theemptychair-amplifies-conversation-about-sexual-assault-112522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CK9bKN8WUAE47aV.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/07/35-women-and-theemptychair.html">cover story</a> of this week&#39;s <em>New York</em> magazine is getting a lot of attention.</p><p>It features 35 women seated in chairs and one empty chair. The women are all dressed in black, looking straight ahead with both hands resting on their knees. It is a stark image, and all the more compelling because each of them is openly and by name accusing Bill Cosby of horrendous acts. Some say they were drugged and raped; others recount stories of narrowly escaping sexual assault.</p><p>But what has really hit a nerve is the empty chair in the photo. The chair has sparked a powerful conversation online, including a viral hashtag <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TheEmptyChair&amp;src=tyah">#TheEmptyChair</a>.<br /><br />NPR&#39;s Renee Montagne spoke to <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/authors/137975988/hanna-rosin">Hanna Rosin</a>, author of <em>The End of Men: And The Rise of Women</em>, about the significance of the hashtag and how it&#39;s shedding light on a movement of people speaking publicly and frankly about experiences with sexual assault.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>On the symbolism of the empty chair</strong></p><p>It serves so many purposes. First, it&#39;s a rebuke, like a classic rebuke. You know, here ... history, America, the patriarchy, whatever you want to call it, has made it difficult for women to speak their truth. So there&#39;s a chair that represents silence, something that didn&#39;t happen. It&#39;s also the opposite of that, which is an invitation, you know: &quot;Come sit in this chair.&quot; ... Social media, the hashtag &quot;EmptyChair&quot; basically is saying, &quot;All of you, it&#39;s time to speak up now. Walk up to this chair, sit down like the rest of us. There&#39;s a sisterhood here, waiting to greet you and share your stories.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the visual effect of the cover</strong></p><p>This is technically a story about Bill Cosby, but when you look at the cover, visually it transmits something different. There are women of all ages, ranging from 40 to 80; there are women of all races on this cover. There are women of all visual styles; they&#39;re all wearing black, but they&#39;re not wearing the same dress. ... So what this is saying is assault can happen to anyone. Here&#39;s a historical archive, not just of Bill Cosby&#39;s actions, but of women who have been assaulted generally.</p><p><strong>On what struck her about the hashtag</strong></p><p>I guess what struck me is the phenomenon that you can trace people&#39;s stories back to them. You know, Twitter is completely public. This is not a private forum for women to gather together. This is not one woman sort of clearing her throat and bravely coming forward. This is people under their own names, under their Twitter handles, saying this happened to me or a version of this happened to me or even just cheering the women on.</p><p><strong>On whether #TheEmptyChair moment will last</strong></p><p>I think this moment is going to last. ... [It] is unresolved and very interesting and, right now, intention. I&#39;m not talking about the Bill Cosby story anymore. ... The way this story has come out, apart from the Cosby story, is sexual assault on campus. And right now I think you have this moment where woman feel simultaneously very vulnerable. ... There&#39;s been so much news about sexual assault on campus. That&#39;s a story that really has invigorated the feminist movement in the last couple of years. On the other hand, women also feel empowered. ... The best <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/columbia-student-who-carried-mattress-everywhere-ends-protest/">example of this is Emma Sulkowitz</a>, a recent graduate of Columbia University. ... She wants people to pay attention to her abuse. ... She&#39;s also owning her abuse, turning it into art, really identifying herself with it and using it to make a statement.</p><p><strong>On how #TheEmptyChair connects to issues of sexual assault on campus</strong></p><p>The cover and the empty chair tie this whole story together. Because the cover is historical &mdash; you see that the women are a bit older. And then the empty chair ties into social media &mdash; that taps into the sexual assault on campus movement. So you&#39;ve got ... a kind of feminist history put together from beginning to right now.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/theemptychair-amplifies-conversation-about-sexual-assault-112522 Planned Parenthood controversy proves complicated for Democrats http://www.wbez.org/news/planned-parenthood-controversy-proves-complicated-democrats-112501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/gettyimages-482208094_wide-d6b4bf495f6d8dddc7f8c85a0d3e2b3a7ad8aaf7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw2xi9mhmuo">latest</a>&nbsp;in a series of undercover sting videos features a woman who says she worked for a company that harvested organs from fetuses aborted at Planned Parenthood.</p><p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZUjU4e4fUI">Planned Parenthood leaders say</a>&nbsp;the videos are heavily edited and that they&#39;re not making money from facilitating fetal tissue donation for medical research. But the controversy over the videos is becoming a campaign issue &mdash; for both Democrats and Republicans.</p><p>At an anti-Planned Parenthood rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Kentucky senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rand Paul referred to a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjxwVuozMnU">video</a>&nbsp;released earlier this month by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. It shows a Planned Parenthood doctor meeting over lunch with activists posing as representatives of a company that handles fetal tissue donations.</p><p>&quot;This callous disregard expressed over wine and cheese should inflame and infuriate us all, and we should stop once and for all any penny of money going to Planned Parenthood,&quot; Paul said.</p><p>Paul is proposing legislation to cut funds to Planned Parenthood. Federal funding for abortions already is illegal in most cases, but the organization receives public money for services like health screenings for low-income women.</p><p>Also taking the mic at the rally was Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz directed his jabs at the Democratic frontrunner.</p><p>&quot;I call upon our friends in the mainstream media to ask Hillary Clinton if she is pleased that she has so much passionate support from Planned Parenthood, an entity that appears to be a national criminal enterprise,&quot; Cruz said.</p><p>Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has insisted that the organization has broken no laws. She told&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/cecile-richards-undercover-video-controversy-32692756">ABC News</a>&nbsp;this weekend that the videos are a product of a &quot;three-year effort to entrap doctors.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important ... element of health care research in this country,&quot; Richards said.</p><p>As the videos have been released online, Clinton has largely defended Planned Parenthood as a longtime provider of health care for low-income women.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-defends-planned-parenthood-amid-video-controversy/">At a campaign stop</a>&nbsp;in South Carolina on July 23, Clinton said the attacks on the organization are an attack on women&#39;s Constitutional right to an abortion.</p><p>&quot;And I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,&quot; she said.</p><p>After a third sting video was released Tuesday, Clinton said in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150729/NEWS0605/150729073">interview</a>&nbsp;with the New Hampshire&nbsp;Union Leader&nbsp;newspaper that she had seen pictures from the videos and found them &quot;disturbing,&quot; but reiterated her support for Planned Parenthood&#39;s record as a provider of family planning and health services.</p><p>Other Democratic presidential hopefuls aren&#39;t exactly lining up to defend the organization. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has said that Richards was right to apologize for the &quot;tone&quot; of a Planned Parenthood doctor featured in one of the videos.</p><p>It&#39;s a tricky issue for the left, says political scientist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.drake.edu/polsci/facultystaff/rachelcaufield/">Rachel Caufield</a>&nbsp;of Drake University in Des Moines.</p><p>&quot;It creates an environment where the pro-choice supporters have to be in a position to justify some of the practices of Planned Parenthood,&quot; she said. &quot;[Sanders] took a more measured tone and was less willing to defend Planned Parenthood outright, [and] recognized that this is not a practice that Americans are accustomed to hearing about and not something that they&#39;re particularly comfortable with.&quot;</p><p>Regardless, Americans are going to hear more about it. Paul has promised the Senate will take up his proposal to defund Planned Parenthood before leaving for the August recess. The issue also is likely to come up in next week&#39;s Republican debate in Cleveland.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/planned-parenthood-controversy-proves-complicated-democrats-112501 NATO says it stands with Turkey in fight against ISIS http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap_295749276065_custom-d817a4135a6c5f79f33a8079a30e9add34cc3101-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>During a meeting with all 27 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday, Turkey said it wanted to give the members a heads up that at some point it may need their help fighting against the self-declared Islamic State.</p><p>Turkey called a rare&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49187.htm">Article 4 meeting</a>&nbsp;of the NATO allies after it began an air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria.</p><p><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/nato-holding-rare-emergency-meeting-turkeys-request-174542971.html">As <em>The Associated Press</em> reports</a>, Turkey has been reluctant to join the U.S.-led war against ISIS, but recently an ISIS suicide bombing near the Turkish border with Syria left 32 people dead. Last week, Turkey decided to let the U.S. launch airstrikes from a base in the country and also began launching its own strikes.</p><p>&quot;If a NATO member country comes under attack, NATO would support it in every way,&quot; Turkey&#39;s president, Tayyip Erdogan, said,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-mideast-crisis-turkey-nato-idUSKCN0Q20RQ20150728">according to Reuters</a>. &quot;At the moment,<a href="http://www.reuters.com/places/turkey">Turkey</a>&nbsp;has come under attack and is exercising its right to defend itself and will exercise this right until the end ... but what we&#39;re saying is that there could be a duty for NATO, and we ask NATO to be prepared for this.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-meets-at-turkeys-request-to-discuss-crisis-in-syria-iraq-1438078682"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reports</a>&nbsp;that during and following the meeting, NATO offered political support to Turkey:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Following the meeting, NATO issued a statement condemning the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDMQFjAFahUKEwiTmsaW2f3GAhUBGxQKHQ34Cbo&amp;url=http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkish-town-of-suruc-hit-by-deadly-blast-1437388272&amp;ei=E2S3VdPEOoG2UI3wp9AL&amp;usg=AFQjCNGHkhEp-bINhc_P_eJX_2wEWYNp9w&amp;bvm=bv.98717601,d.ZGU" target="_blank">attacks against Turkey</a>, adding that terrorism is &#39;a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.&#39;</p><p>&quot;Both before and after the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly mentioned that the alliance stood with Turkey, brushing off questions about divisions within the allies over Ankara&#39;s approach.</p><p>&quot; &#39;All allies stand in solidarity with Turkey, we strongly condemn the terrorist attacks,&#39; Mr. Stoltenberg said.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/28/427032292/nato-says-it-stands-with-turkey-in-fight-against-isis">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 Without a budget, courts step in to force state to pay bills http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/4397586040_c9c4b84976_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers remain at an impasse over the state budget.</p><p>But over the last few weeks, the courts have repeatedly stepped in&mdash;telling the state, budget or no budget, it has to pay for certain things, pay some bills.</p><p>The result of that: The state is, bit by bit, forcibly reverting back to some of its budget from last fiscal year -- which happens to be a budget that nobody wants.</p><p>Without a budget, here&rsquo;s Illinois&rsquo; situation: Money can come in. But the rules about how the state can spend it are unclear.</p><p>When last year&rsquo;s state budget expired on July 1, everyone knew certain state business wouldn&rsquo;t stop: There are laws that say prisons can&rsquo;t close and the state police can&rsquo;t call it quits.<br />But there were lots of other things that nobody knew whether the state could continue to fund.</p><p>Can the state still fund foster care without a budget? What about state parks or the DMV?</p><p>Over and over again these last few weeks, the state has been in court to sort these things out.</p><p>Foster care, for example, the courts said the state had to pay. Same for treatment for adults with developmental disabilities.</p><p>This week it was Medicaid, funding healthcare for the poor. And singling out how this Medicaid situation played out is important--because it&rsquo;s a good example of how having no budget is hurting the state; how it&rsquo;s making a bad situation even worse.</p><p>Medicaid is one of the biggest budget lines in Illinois: More than $7 billion. Hospitals, clinics and patients all over the state depend on that money.</p><p>So, it&rsquo;s not surprising that lawyers <a href="http://www.wbez.org/judge-orders-state-pay-cook-county-medicaid-providers-during-budget-impasse-112465">went to court</a>&mdash;wanting a judge to force the to state to keep Medicaid going in Cook County.</p><p>&ldquo;We need to increase access to care not decrease it,&rdquo; said John Bouman, an attorney with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, who brought the lawsuit against the state, hoping to force Medicaid payments.&nbsp;</p><p>Bouman and others argued that if the funding didn&rsquo;t come through, hospitals would close. People couldn&rsquo;t get treated.</p><p>&ldquo;You have to keep the whole system going as if there&rsquo;s no budget impasse in order to ensure that the children have access to care,&rdquo; Bouman explained.</p><p>The court agreed: A federal judge ordered the state to continue paying Medicaid in Cook County.</p><p>Because there&rsquo;s no current budget to guide Medicaid spending, the state was has been ordered to keep spending on Medicaid according to last year&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>And the thing about that is last year&rsquo;s budget was widely accepted to be awful.</p><p>&ldquo;Cobbled together. It was in overdraft,&rdquo; said Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield.</p><p>Last year&rsquo;s budget was complicated, in part, because halfway through, when Rauner won the governorship, he let the income tax rate go down. Meaning: lower taxes for residents, and less money for the state.</p><p>Nobody in Springfield thinks last year&rsquo;s budget process should be used as a guide for how the state spends money now. But with each of these court interventions, that&rsquo;s exactly what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p>Simply put: because leaders can&rsquo;t make a new spending plan, the state has to use last year&rsquo;s faulty one--which appears to make things tumultuous on pretty much all fronts.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, the whole thing sucks,&rdquo; Mooney said.</p><p>He remains convinced that Rauner and Democrats will reach a budget...there just might be snow on the ground by the time it&rsquo;s decided.</p><p>Meanwhile, the court interventions, like the Medicaid one, keep piling up: DCFS, foster care and a bunch of other things -- are all being funded according to an outdated budget that everyone thinks is trouble.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/without-budget-courts-step-force-state-pay-bills-112477 Obama Visits Kenya http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Obama pic 3.jpg" title="U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being greeted by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, on his arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, July 24, 2015. Obama began his first visit to Kenya as U.S. president Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187008&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 style="font-size: 24px;">Obama Vists Kenya as President</strong></p><p>President Obama heads to Kenya today. This is the first time he will visit his father&rsquo;s home country since he was elected president. The visit is filled with anticipation. There was discussion of making the visit a national holiday. In the town of Funyula in Busia County, which by borders Siaya County, the home area of President Obama&#39;s late father, the radio station there is calling today &ldquo;Obama Day.&rdquo; We&rsquo;ll check in with Phylis Nasubo Magina who is in Funyula. She&rsquo;s the managing director of The ABCs of Sex Education, where she leads a team of 49 community educators providing sex education and HIV prevention. Ken Opalo, an assistant professor at Georgetown University also joins us to discuss Obama&rsquo;s visit. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.</p><p><strong>Guests: </strong></p><p>Phylis Nasubo Magina is the Kenya Country Director of The ABCs of Sex Education</p><p>Ken Opalo Ken Opalo is an assistant professor at Georgetown University&rsquo;s School of Foreign Service and a blogger. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187612&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>Weekend Passport:</strong></span></p><p>Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week he&rsquo;ll tell us about an exhibit on North Korea, the film Hiroshima Mon Amor and Bomba Estereo: Album Release Show</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Nari Safavi is co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p>Alice Wielinga is a participating artist in North Korean Perspectives</p><p>Marc PrĂ¼st] is curator of North Korean Perspectives<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216188449&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>Milos Stehlik talks with Omar Sy, star of the film &#39;Samba&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Film contributor Milos Stehlik sits down with Omar Sy, star of the new film &ldquo;Samba.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s the latest film by the team that brought us &ldquo;The Intouchables. &#39;Samba&#39; tells the story of an undocumented kitchen worker who&rsquo;s battling deportation. The movie follows his struggles and budding romance with the immigration case worker who&rsquo;s trying to help him stay in France.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Omar Sy, French actor and comedian, star of the film &ldquo;Samba&rdquo;</p><p>Milos Stehlik is WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor and director of Facets Multimedia</p></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 Without state budget solution, Roseland hospital may have to close http://www.wbez.org/news/without-state-budget-solution-roseland-hospital-may-have-close-112456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.22.14 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law is in federal court Thursday to try and force the Illinois state government to pay the Medicaid payments it owes. It&#39;s the latest issue to wind up before a judge as part of the budget impasse that&#39;s playing out at the Illinois statehouse.</p><p dir="ltr">Some hospitals serving low-income communities are in imminent danger of closing, according to Shriver Center&rsquo;s court filing. The filing further states that If those hospitals close because of the state&#39;s failure to pay bills, it would violate a decade-old court order. The Shriver lawyers argued that order requires the state to complete Medicaid payments to hospitals in Cook County, even though Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers have not approved a spending plan authorizing the state to reimburse those hospitals.</p><p>The court filing specifically named The New Roseland Community Hospital. It said delayed payments &ldquo;will force Roseland Community Hospital, in less than a week, to begin the process of closing its hospital.&rdquo; Roseland Community Hospital is dependent on the Medicaid program for 71 percent of its funding and it anticipates a $2 million shortfall in July and a $2.4 million shortfall in August, according to the Shriver Center&rsquo;s filing.</p><p dir="ltr">Roseland Hospital said in a written statement that it has enough funding to make payroll on July 31st and it will be implementing a voluntary furlough, layoffs and service line suspensions before August 1.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The families of those who are going to die because of this political budget impasse will not give a damn about party lines,&rdquo; said Tim Egan, New Roseland President and CEO, in an emailed statement. &ldquo;Just as bullets don&#39;t recognize political boundaries, grieving families, critically injured patients and an abandoned community will not care about Republicans or Democrats. They will just know that the State of Illinois failed them. And the State of Illinois will have failed the New Roseland Hospital, its patients and its employees over a political stalemate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is a named defendant in the lawsuit. John Hoffman, a spokesperson for the department, said in response to the filing, &ldquo;While we believe this motion incorrectly interprets the consent decree, this does highlight the importance of the General Assembly passing a balanced budget so our most vulnerable citizens will know they can continue receiving the care they need in the long run.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Eight other hospitals that depend heavily on Medicaid payments are receiving limited leftover funds from fiscal year 2015, so they can continue operating for now. But the Shriver Center&rsquo;s filing argues that those payments only delay the day of reckoning for those hospitals until August.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a>. WBEZ&rsquo;s state politics reporter Tony Arnold also contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 05:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/without-state-budget-solution-roseland-hospital-may-have-close-112456 Court overturns some Blagojevich Senate-seat convictions http://www.wbez.org/news/court-overturns-some-blagojevich-senate-seat-convictions-112440 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/blago_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal appeals court Tuesday overturned some of the most sensational convictions that sent former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich off to a lengthy stint in prison, ruling that the Democrat did not break the law when he sought to secure a Cabinet position in President Barack Obama&#39;s administration in exchange for appointing an Obama adviser to the president&#39;s former U.S. Senate seat.</p><p>The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago also ordered the resentencing of Blagojevich, offering the 58-year-old a ray of hope that he could end up serving less than his original 14-year term. He has served more than three years so far.</p><p>The three appellate judges dismissed five of 15 corruption counts Blagojevich was convicted of. But the panelists also suggested the original sentence wasn&#39;t necessarily extreme, even when factoring in the newly tossed convictions.</p><p>The unanimous ruling addressed a key question: Where is the line between legal and illegal political wheeling and dealing? The panel&#39;s answer: When it came to Blagojevich&#39;s attempt to land a Cabinet seat, he did not cross the line. His attempts to trade the Senate seat for campaign cash, however, were illegal, the court concluded.</p><p>Blagojevich floated the idea of a Cabinet job in exchange for appointing Obama friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett to Obama&#39;s vacant Senate seat. After Blagojevich&#39;s arrest, the seat went to Roland Burris, who served less than two years before a successor was chosen in a special election.</p><p>In its ruling, the appeals court pointed to allegations that President Dwight Eisenhower named Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court after Warren offered Eisenhower key political support during the 1952 campaign. The judges said that under the logic used to charge Blagojevich, Eisenhower and Warren might have been convicted.</p><p>&quot;If the prosecutor is right, and a swap of political favors involving a job for one of the politicians is a felony, then ... both the President of the United States and the Chief Justice of the United States should have gone to prison,&quot; the ruling says.</p><p>Still, the ruling wasn&#39;t a resounding win for Blagojevich.</p><p>The appellate judges upheld allegations that he sought to sell the Senate seat. He had argued he didn&#39;t break the law because he never stated explicitly that he was willing to trade an appointment for campaign cash. The panel balked at the notion that crimes are crimes only if they are overtly stated.</p><p>&quot;Few politicians say, on or off the record, &#39;I will exchange official act X for payment Y,&#39;&quot; the opinion says. &quot;Similarly persons who conspire to rob banks or distribute drugs do not propose or sign contracts in the statutory language.&quot; The panel added that,&quot; &#39;Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know what I mean&#39; can amount to extortion ... just as it can furnish the gist of a Monty Python sketch.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court or could choose to retry Blagojevich on the dropped counts, though prosecutors often decline to retry a case if most of the counts are upheld. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney&#39;s office declined to comment on the ruling.</p><p>The two-term governor proclaimed his innocence for years &mdash; on television and on the stand at his decisive retrial in 2011, where a sometimes-tearful Blagojevich said he was a flawed man but no criminal.</p><p>Jurors convicted him of 18 counts; 11 dealt with charges that he tried to swap an appointment to the seat for campaign cash or a job. He was also convicted of other pay-to-play schemes, including included the attempted shakedown of the Children&#39;s Memorial Hospital in Chicago for a contribution to Blagojevich&#39;s campaign. Those counts were all affirmed by the appellate court.</p><p>After his arrest in December 2008, Blagojevich became the butt of jokes on late-night TV, including for his well-coiffed hair and his foul-mouthed rants on FBI wiretaps. The most notorious excerpt was one where he crows about the Senate seat: &quot;I&#39;ve got this thing and it&#39;s f------ golden. And I&#39;m just not giving it up for f------ nothing.&quot;</p><p>Blagojevich began serving his sentence at a prison near Denver on March 15, 2012. Before the appeal, his estimated release date was 2024; he would be 67.</p><p>Blagojevich&#39;s brother, Robert Blagojevich said he hopes his brother&#39;s time in prison is shortened.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m hopeful that this process will render some semblance of justice for my brother, finally,&quot; he said.</p></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/court-overturns-some-blagojevich-senate-seat-convictions-112440 Chicago parks have zero statues of women, 48 statues of men http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-21/chicago-parks-have-zero-statues-women-48-statues-men-112436 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/dorothy vikramjam.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Plenty of men are memorialized in stone and bronze in Chicago&rsquo;s parks: Explorer Leif Ericson, president George Washington, former Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld, even Greene Vardiman Black. Not familiar with him? He&rsquo;s the &quot;father of modern dentistry.&quot; Chicago&rsquo;s public spaces do have statues of female figures &mdash; nymphs, goddesses, and Dorothy from <em>The Wizard of Oz</em> to name a few &mdash; but you won&rsquo;t find a single statue or bust of a historically significant woman in any of the city&rsquo;s 580 parks.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really time to honor more females,&rdquo; said Asya Akca, a University of Chicago political science major who is pushing for a statue of a notable woman on her campus in Hyde Park. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a huge oversight that they&rsquo;re not being honored.&rdquo;</p><p>According to the Chicago Park District, there are no statues of women in our city&rsquo;s parks because the heyday of public figurative sculpture in the United States took place at a time before women had earned the right to vote.&nbsp;</p><p>To rectify that lack of representation, the district has named and renamed more than 40 parks to honor the legacies of notable women over the last 11 years. There are now 66 parks named after women in Chicago, according to the park district. Yet, during that same period, figurative statues and busts of men have continued to be erected around the city.</p><p>In 2004, a tribute featuring several figurative bas-relief sculptures of <a href="http://www.cpdit01.com/resources/planning-and-development.fountains-monuments-and-sculptures/Burnham%20Park/Tribute%20to%20George%20Halas.pdf">George Halas</a>, founder of the Chicago Bears, went up near Gate 15 of Soldier Field in Burnham Park. That same year, Martin Luther King Park on West 76th Street in Auburn Gresham got <a href="http://www.cpdit01.com/resources/planning-and-development.fountains-monuments-and-sculptures/Dr.%20Martin%20Luther%20King%20Park/Dr.%20Martin%20Luther%20King%20Jr.%20Bust.pdf">a bust of the civil rights leader</a>.</p><p>And in 2006, the Park District installed a 9-foot-tall <a href="http://www.cpdit01.com/resources/planning-and-development.fountains-monuments-and-sculptures/Wicker%20Park/Charles%20Gustavus%20Wicker.pdf">bronze statue of Charles Gustavus Wicker</a>, an early Chicago settler and politician, in Wicker Park.</p><p>Chicago is not unique in its lack of statues honoring famous women. As the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/why-the-dearth-of-statues-honoring-women-in-statuary-hall-and-elsewhere/2011/04/11/AFx8lgjD_story.html"><em>Washington Pos</em>t</a> has pointed out, less than eight percent of the public outdoor sculptures of individuals in the United States are of women. Central Park in New York City &mdash; perhaps the most well-known green space in the nation &mdash; has 22 statues of men like Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare and Hans Christian Andersen, but none of women.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a public forum &mdash; Central Park &mdash; where 40 million people visit every year, to have zero real women symbolically represented in a statue, this does not support the concept of equality,&rdquo; said Coline Jenkins, vice president of the <a href="http://www.centralparkwherearethewomen.org/">Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund</a>, a group pushing for statues of those two trailblazing women in New York&rsquo;s signature park.</p><p>By comparison, more than 50 million people visited Chicago in 2014, according to Choose Chicago, the city&rsquo;s not-for-profit tourism arm. And Jenkins said Chicago should highlight its great women in statue form for all to see.</p><p>&ldquo;You have one of the most famous American citizens, and that is Oprah Winfrey. You also have the first female who got the Nobel Prize, Jane Addams. Go for it,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Jenkins is the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragist and women&rsquo;s rights advocate. Her organization has hashed out a preliminary plan with the New York City Parks Department to bring statues of her forbear and Susan B. Anthony to the 77th Street entrance of Central Park.</p><p>It won&rsquo;t be the only statue of a female historical figure in Manhattan. Riverside Park has a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt and another of Joan of Arc.</p><p>Back home, the Chicago Park District says it supports the installation of statues of women in parks, but it has yet to take any steps to make that a reality. Of course, that&rsquo;s not to say no women are honored here.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.cpdit01.com/resources/planning-and-development.fountains-monuments-and-sculptures/Midway%20Plaisance/Cheney-Goode%20Memorial.pdf">Cheney-Goode Memorial</a> was erected in 1932 in the center of the Midway Plaisance on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. It&rsquo;s dedicated to Flora Sylvester Cheney and Katherine Hancock Goode, two female legislators from the turn of the century. Another example, in Chicago Women&rsquo;s Park and Gardens, honors social worker and activist Jane Addams.</p><p>&ldquo;The Jane Addams Memorial &lsquo;<a href="http://www.cpdit01.com/resources/planning-and-development.fountains-monuments-and-sculptures/Chicago%20Women%27s%20Park%20and%20Garden/Jane%20Addams%20Memorial.pdf">Helping Hands</a>&rsquo; sculpture, done by famous sculptor Louise Bourgeois in 1993, should not be overlooked or minimized just because it&rsquo;s not a figurative sculpture,&rdquo; said a Chicago Park District spokesperson.</p><p>University of Chicago student Asya Akca would like to see more statues and busts of women around the city, and she&rsquo;s pushing for a statue of Marion Talbot, dean of women at the school from 1895 to 1925, somewhere on campus. For the political science major, it&rsquo;s clear what&rsquo;s at stake.</p><p>&ldquo;There is an unmistakable correlation between the lack of female symbols of leadership in our society (i.e. statues, monuments, memorials) and the lack of female representation in leadership positions,&rdquo; she wrote in her piece &ldquo;<a href="http://chicagomaroon.com/2015/03/03/monumental-women/">Monumental Women</a>&rdquo; in the <em>Chicago Maroon</em>. &ldquo;In front of us is a tremendous opportunity to address this broader issue right here, right now.&rdquo;</p><p><em>You can here Morning Shift&rsquo;s interview with Asya Akca of the University of Chicago and Coline Jenkins and Myriam Miedzian of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund by clicking the audio player above.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-21/chicago-parks-have-zero-statues-women-48-statues-men-112436 Attention downtown diners: 11.25 percent sales tax coming in 2016 http://www.wbez.org/news/attention-downtown-diners-1125-percent-sales-tax-coming-2016-112429 <p><p>Ever noticed grabbing a burger in Logan Square is just a bit cheaper than in Lakeview?</p><p>It&rsquo;s because of a little-known sales tax called the &ldquo;McPier tax,&rdquo; that hits a certain segment of the Chicago restaurant scene. Food and beverage purchases in and around the downtown area are taxed an additional 1 percent, which goes to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the group that owns and manages Navy Pier and McCormick Place.</p><p>And next year, the overall sales tax in that zone will grow another percentage point.</p><p>Last week, the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-board-approves-tax-hike-sought-board-president-112397">Cook County board </a>narrowly approved a one-percentage-point tax hike, which will bring the sales tax in Chicago to 10.25 percent, one of the nation&rsquo;s highest. The proposal was introduced by Board President Toni Preckwinkle to help pay into the county&rsquo;s underfunded pensions. Nine board members approved the increase, which will kick in on January 1, 2016.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mcpiermap.jpg" style="height: 682px; width: 340px; float: left;" title="The boundaries of the so-called 'McPier tax' area. (Courtesy Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority)" />For restaurant patrons that dine south of Diversey Parkway, north of the Stevenson Expressway, east of Ashland Avenue and west of Lake Michigan, the Cook County proposal means an 11.25 percent sales tax will be added to their tab in 2016. <a href="http://tax.illinois.gov/Businesses/TaxInformation/Sales/mpea.htm">The McPier tax</a> affects all food and beverage purchases prepared for &ldquo;immediate consumption,&rdquo; and that includes soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. A spokeswoman for MPEA said all money collected through that tax &ldquo;pay the debt service for MPEA Expansion projects.&rdquo;</p><p>John Corry, general manager of Lincoln Park restaurant <a href="http://www.maevechicago.com/">Maeve,</a> said he isn&rsquo;t against taxes in general, but he has a problem with how far north the McPier zone extends.</p><p>&ldquo;Who&rsquo;s coming to Maeve because somebody has a business meeting by Navy Pier or at McCormick Place?&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;No one is coming [from] these two places, but we&rsquo;re in that tax zone.&rdquo;</p><p>Corry said he&rsquo;d also like to see Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field included in that zone, since tourists at Navy Pier or visitors to McCormick Place likely stop by the ballparks for games while they&rsquo;re in town. &nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, Preckwinkle has said that she may reevaluate the county tax hike if Springfield passes <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-gets-her-pension-plan-past-senate-stops-short-calling-higher-taxes-110240">her pension reform bill</a>.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Chicago politics reporter. Follow her </em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p><p><em></em><em>Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the neighborhood Maeve is located in. The restaurant is in Lincoln Park.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/attention-downtown-diners-1125-percent-sales-tax-coming-2016-112429