Thousands of protesters in Chicago blocked downtown traffic Thursday as part of the National Day of Action and to protest the city council's unanimous approval of Rahm Emanuel's budget cuts.
The march included an action blocking a major bridge over the Chicago River during rush hour, ending in 46 tickets for "Pedestrian Failure to Exercise Due Care," and a long march that at one point blocked traffic on the major Lake Shore Drive thoroughfare.
"We hope it inspires other people to stand up for themselves," Lucinda Scharbach, one of those ticketed for blocking the bridge and a member of the labor and community coalition Stand Up! Chicago, told The Chicago Tribune.
Scharbach said she participated "so that other people in Chicago see that we're not afraid to stand up for ourselves and our rights, and they can also do the same."
Thursday was also the day that Mayor Emanuel's so-called "budget of the 1 percent" was approved by the city council. The budget will close half of the city's mental health centers, privatize all seven of the city's community health clinics, cut 517 jobs along with 2,000 vacant positions and reduce the hours of public libraries.
The expected outcome of the cuts will be devastating, said speakers at the N17 rally.
"I wanted to remind those of us who are lucky enough to still have a job that we're just one layoff away from losing our health insurance or our homes," Jamie Hayes, one of the people engaging in the civil disobedience, told Progress Illinois. "What little safety net we do have in this country will be taken away if the one percent has their way. If that's not class warfare, I don't know what is."
Link to original article from Truthout
It’s official: Illinois on Wednesday joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, accompanied by state Rep. Greg Harris, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and several other dignitaries, signed into law a measure allowing gay couples to begin marrying on June 1. “It’s a triumph of democracy, a triumph of government by the people,” said the governor, shortly before signing. “We want to have a new birth of freedom across America, and love is not relegated to second-class citizen status.”
The historic nature of...
Emma Margolin | MSNBC.com 21 Nov 2013 Hits:340 Illinois
On Monday, November 18 at noon almost 100 voters rallied in Springfield to ask Senator Richard Durbin to keep cuts to Social Security off the table. Senator Durbin has proposed possible changes such as lifting the Social Security eligibility age and implementing “Chained CPI” for individuals that earn more than $24,000. After an informational picket along Edwards Street the group followed lead organizer JoAnn Conrad retired AFSCME, IEA-NEA, chair of the Progressive Democrats of Greater Springfield, led the rally across Edwards to the senator’s office. The message was “Scrap the...
JoAnn Conrad 18 Nov 2013 Hits:381 Illinois
Those who rely on food stamps will have to make do with a little less beginning today as a boost in funding from the federal stimulus package is set to expire.
The change will affect more than 2 million low-income residents in Illinois who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services. Nationally, about 47 million people are expected to feel the pinch.
The move marks the end of an extra $45.2 billion the federal government funneled into the food stamp program beginning in...
Monique Garcia | The Chicago Tribune 03 Nov 2013 Hits:333 Illinois
As another coal train derailed in southern Illinois last weekend, the Illinois State Historical Society teamed up with the Illinois Coal Association on Saturday for their own collision with history during the installation of a historical marker for the state's "First Coal Mine." The real train wreck: Among numerous errors, the Illinois State Historical Society marker fails to mention that other coal mines abounded in southern Illinois, thanks to enslaved African American labor -- including the so-called "first coal mine" -- while the Illinois Coal Association took the occasion...
Jeff Biggers | The Huffington Post 28 Oct 2013 Hits:374 Illinois
The pinnacle of last week's Take Back Chicago rally at UIC came near the end, when the 11 aldermen onstage were asked point-blank whether they support pending proposals to slow privatization and tax increment financing deals. Yes or no?
As more than 2,000 of the city's most dedicated activists looked on, the aldermen all said yes—even though a couple of them are among the most consistent council supporters of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
They then sat there smirking, as if to say, you can't trap me, because I'm too slick.
Things got so absurd...
Ben Joravsky | Chicago Reader 23 Oct 2013 Hits:325 Illinois
Two sections that essentially told kids that coal was safe and good for the environment disappeared today from the website of a state agency in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has removed coal-related educational sections from its website, less than two weeks after the launch of a grassroots campaign demanding that the pages be taken down.
The website sections were supposed to educate children about energy, but had been widely denounced because they focused on misleading pro-coal messages.
It wasn't just environmentalists who objected to the way Illinois was...
Jeff Biggers | Yes Magazine 14 Oct 2013 Hits:414 Illinois
As absentee oil and gas companies register with the state of Illinois this month, downstate citizens groups are taking the lead among statewide environmental groups and laying out scientific and legal standards for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to consider prior to drafting the controversial horizontal hydraulic fracking rules.
In a letter sent this week to the key legislative committee and state IDNR agency officials, the groups representing rural communities targeted for fracking operations cite "several new scientific studies and academic research papers that...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 08 Oct 2013 Hits:559 Illinois
Dear Rep. Schock,
I am a constituent, writing in my role as coordinator of the Greater Peoria Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).
I and other PDA members were at your town hall meeting in Heyworth, where some of your constituents encouraged you to vote to shut down the government unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded. In reply, you made the sensible point that ACA can't be defunded through the budget process, and that shutting down the government would bring extremely negative political consequences for Republicans. You also stated that...
Larry Jones | Journal Star 29 Sep 2013 Hits:521 Illinois
For many residents in southern Illinois dealing with the fallout of a sanctioned coal and fracking rush, the time has come to revamp the historic Illinois South organization and its role in providing impacted residents with a voice in state and federal regulatory matters.
Call it deja vu all over again.
And perhaps no one understands this better than Rev. Dave Ostendorf, the co-founder of the Illinois South citizens group in 1974, and a long-time community organizer for civil rights in Chicago and across the heartland and nation.
"Building critical mass around the...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 06 Sep 2013 Hits:481 Illinois
Two years after a national campaign exposed a coal industry-bankrolled curriculum foisted on unwitting teachers and children, the state of Illinois is still dragging its feet to revamp its own widely denounced, misleading and climate change-denying "Coal Education Program" for schools.
Here's the punchline, kids: On the heels of a recent study that the coal industry annually drains nearly $20 million from the Illinois state budget, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Coal Development now says it's too broke to promptly respond to a long-awaited evaluation of the...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 29 Aug 2013 Hits:514 Illinois
On the cusp of a hydraulic fracking rush, southern Illinois should recall its boom-bust history
CARMI, Ill. —
When an oil rush swamped her town of Carmi in the early 1940s, my great-grandmother leased her small farm acreage for drilling, but the wells came up dry. So she installed a new bathroom and cashed in like the rest of her neighbors, boarding the roustabouts. At 150 million barrels per year, Illinois pumped out more petrol in those days than Iraq and Iran combined.
(photo: A pump jack works on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in...
Jeff Biggers | Aljazeera America 16 Aug 2013 Hits:447 Illinois
When farmers, families and besieged Hillsboro residents gather this evening for a public hearing on a controversial permit proposal by a coal company to build a second 77-foot-high high hazard toxic coal slurry impoundment within city limits, the stakes will go beyond the threatened health of this iconic central Illinois farm town.
(photo: Jeff Biggers article: Coal Slurry Scandal: Gov. Quinn, the High Hazard Dam in Hillsboro Is a National Disgrace. Construction on High Hazard Coal Slurry Impoundment at Deer Run Mine, Hillsboro, IL, 8/12/2011, prior to receiving proper permit, photo courtesy...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 14 Aug 2013 Hits:576 Illinois
Inside the 40th annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Chicago, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and other right-wing big-wigs addressed ALEC members and on-the-dole politicians.
Outside, the people, who have been cut out of the legislative process by ALEC and big money donors, protested in the streets. (Photos here.
In its 40-year history, ALEC has done more to destroy the American Dream than any other group. According to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy, 466 ALEC bills were introduced in 2013, and 84 of them...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 10 Aug 2013 Hits:598 Illinois
Has Rep. Brad Schneider finally gone too far with his recent vote against implementing the very small amount of health care reform that was so very hard won?
In case you haven't heard, this week, Schneider voted with the Republicans to pass H.B. 2668, the very Orwellian-ly named Fairness for American Families Act. The Fairness for American Families Act takes up on the Obama Administration's delay implementation of the employer mandate, and extends it to individuals. While I was not in love with the Obama Administration's reasoning to extend the large...
Ellen Beth Gill | Daily Kos 22 Jul 2013 Hits:607 Illinois
Brad visiting the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge with Rep. John Lewis earlier this month. (From his Facebook page)
While I have been very pleased with the fact that our congressman, Brad Schneider (IL-10), has been voicing his support for marriage equality and rejoicing over it repeatedly on his Facebook page; I have not seen a single post or heard a single word from him about the Supreme Court’s striking down of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Marriage equality is great and I do support it, but what about the right...
Jeanne Dauray | PDA Illinois 28 Jun 2013 Hits:820 Illinois
It is too bad Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) was not on the House floor last Wednesday when they voted on the McGovern Amendment to the Farm Bill which would have…
Parents and students occupied a Chicago school Wednesday, refusing to budge from a Lafayette Elementary classroom on the final day of education before the school is permanently shut down by…
The backroom negotiations behind the midwestern state’s new fracking regulations may be a taste of what’s to come in other places.
What happens in Illinois, doesn't stay in Illinois.…
On the eve of the historic fracking bill vote in Illinois, a citizen uprising led by nationally acclaimed scientist Dr. Sandra Steingraber, health workers, community groups and threatened downstate residents…
What happens in Illinois, doesn't stay in Illinois -- especially when you're dealing with the national ramifications of a combined fracking and coal mining rush unparalleled in recent memory.
Within hours of renowned climate scientists announcing a staggering milestone in carbon dioxide emissions, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn rolled out the booster wagons for Big Coal and celebrated his state's…
Whether she runs for governor or not, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan would need nine lives to bring the state's notoriously broken regulatory system into compliance with the nation's most…
"We are over-tested, under-resourced and fed up!"
Hundreds of Chicago students are taking up the mantle in the fight against the role of standardized tests in public school closures as they…
“Every Constitution written since the end of World War II includes a provision that men and women are citizens of equal stature. Ours does not.“ Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader…
By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News, April 17, 2014Photo courtesy Lloyd DeGrane Feeling that elected officials have betrayed them in the battle over piles of petroleum coke on the Southeast Side of Chicago, residents have vowed to take...
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call, 'The Shock Doctrine.'By Naomi Klein, The Guardian, April 10, 2014The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European...
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Legislators Who Have Cut Ties To ALEC