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Bruce Rauner Having a Hard Time Accepting Small Victories

Thu, 2015-07-16 11:45
The question comes up in almost every conversation I have these days: "So, you think Rauner or Madigan will win this budget fight?"

My answer is consistent: House Speaker Michael Madigan won these fights for 30 years with five previous governors. There's no reason to believe it'll be different with the sixth.

But it's not just Madigan's political acumen and experience that give him the edge. Gov. Bruce Rauner has set his own bar for "victory" so high that he appears intent on rejecting small wins in favor of big defeats.

His approach to the state budget, in which he won't engage in negotiations with Democrats until after they embrace his reform ideas, is a perfect example.

In refusing to sit down with Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton until they meet his conditions, Rauner overlooks the power he wields simply by being at the negotiating table. Not since 2012 has a Republican governor had a direct say in the give-and-take of creating a state spending plan.

Yes, the Democrats want Rauner to help them raise taxes to close a gap that Rauner estimates is $4 billion. But it'll also require lots of cuts -- $2 billion if the two sides are to meet halfway -- and that's where Rauner can wield his strength. (And it must be noted that Rauner's own budget proposal was $2 billion out of balance and contained cuts that might reasonably be described as cruel.)

One quick example: Almost from the minute a major Medicaid reform bill was signed into law in 2012, Republicans have complained that there is vast untapped savings still to be had. Specifically, they say the firm hired to root out fraud was chased off by unions via their Democratic friends in the Legislature.

Democrats have said that's nonsense. If Rauner's at the table negotiating with Madigan and Cullerton, he's in a perfect spot to make them prove it. Doing so would be a significant win.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to see what other factors play into the epic Madigan-Rauner face off.

Madigan and his fellow Democratic representatives passed a temporary budget, which they then sent to the Senate. Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Democrats were able to also get enough votes to send the 30-day emergency provision to Rauner's desk, but Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network reports that Rauner is unlikely even to consider signing the bill into law. The state will remain without a budget for the foreseeable future, temporary or otherwise.

NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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Watch Stephen Colbert's Last Night At Second City Back In 1994

Thu, 2015-07-16 08:56


 


Note to self: Acquire Delorean and 1.21 gigawatts and 1994 map route to Chicago.


Stephen Colbert is beginning a new era come September when he takes over "The Late Show," but on Wednesday, Second City remembered the end of another era, releasing some nostalgic video of Colbert's final night at the legendary improv theater.


Colbert and castmate Jenna Jolovitz sing a song about being in a relationship but not in love. It's not hard to see the raw talent that Colbert would eventually polish into the comedy gems he's delivered in the years since. 


 


Also on HuffPost:


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Chicago Set To Have Highest Sales Tax Of Any Major U.S. City

Wed, 2015-07-15 17:33

 


CHICAGO -- The City of Big Shoulders is adding to its distinguishing features, with a sales tax set to climb to the highest of any major U.S. city. 


Cook County commissioners voted 9-7 Wednesday to raise the sales tax 1 percentage point to a whopping 10.25 percent.  


The increase, backed by Cook County board President Toni Preckwinkle, takes effect Jan. 1. It will generate about $308 million in additional annual revenue, with $270 million of it funding pensions, $10 million going to roads and infrastructure, and $25 million to debt service, the Sun-Times reports. 


 "We're talking about a plan that will put Cook County on a long-term path to financial stability," Preckwinkle said, according to the Chicago Tribune. 


Chicago already has one of the highest sales tax rates among major U.S. cities. Raising it even higher was unwelcome news to Windy City business owners. 


"Please say no to the public becoming a money faucet each and every time the government says it needs money," Craig Horwitz, who owns a jewelry store in downtown Chicago's Water Tower Place, testified to the commission, according to the Tribune. "This is not how one rebounds from a three-year recession."


High taxes have long been a fact of life in Chicago, and this isn't the city's first brush with a 10.25 percent sales tax rate. The city had the same tax rate before Preckwinkle, fresh off her first-term win as board president, in 2010 rolled back the county tax rate 0.5 percentage point, lowering Chicago's tax rate to 9.75 percent.  A few years later, the county tax rate was trimmed twice more, to the current 9.25 percent. 


The Tax Foundation told The Huffington Post that while other localities have sales tax rates higher than Chicago's, comparisons are difficult. Some, for example, have high sales taxes to compensate for low income taxes.  


Also on HuffPost...


 



 


 


 


 


 

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Spike Lee Concludes 'Chi-Raq' Filming, Addresses 'Misinformed' Critics

Wed, 2015-07-15 16:53

Spike Lee has drawn criticism since he announced his forthcoming Chicago-based film, “Chi-Raq.”


The film, which reflects a popular nickname coined by local rappers who compare the city’s crime rates to an Iraqi warzone, has been criticized for its name by Chicago city officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who "was not happy" about the project's title.


The film -- which will highlight black-on-black gun violence in the city's Englewood neighborhood --  reportedly wrapped up filming last weekend. Shortly after, Lee took to his Instagram account to post a photo of the project’s production slate along with a caption directed towards critics who bashed the film due to its title and content.



To The Misinformed Critics Of CHI-RAQ During The Principle Photography June1st-July 9th There Were 331 People Shot And Wounded Plus 69 MURDERED. May God Bless Them,Their Families And Friends.

A photo posted by SHORTY (@sheltonjlee) on Jul 11, 2015 at 3:53pm PDT



 


 “To the misinformed critics of Chi-Raq during the principle photography June 1st-July 9th there were 331 people shot and wounded plus 69 Murdered,” Lee wrote to his 130k followers. “May God bless them, their families and friends.”


Earlier this month, the city made national headlines for the high number of shootings that occurred over the 4th of July weekend. According to reports, more than 80 people were shot, 15 of whom were killed. 


The film will be produced by the newly launched Amazon Studios. 


“Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time,” Ted Hope, Head of Motion Picture Production at Amazon Studios, said in a press release.“It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humor and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. Chi-Raq may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet—everything about it is distinctive.”


Lee also went on to add his enthusiasm for partnering with Amazon Studios and assured fans that the film will be very special. 


“I’m honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important,” Lee said. “Please don’t be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special. We have assembled a stellar cast.”


“Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq” is set to hit theaters and Amazon Prime in December.


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Dead Last: Illinois Ranks 50th in the Nation for Fiscal Health

Wed, 2015-07-15 16:19
The Illinois economy has not looked incredibly bright this past year-- and that's an understatement. According to a statistical analysis about fiscal health posted by The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Illinois has a fiscal health well below the national average. In fact, according to the aggregation of five separate categories, Illinois places in dead last.



This map shows the highest ranking states in blue and the lowest ranking states in pink, both in order from darkest to lightest (dark blue being the best and dark pink being the worst).

In order to discern whether each state suffers from long term or short term financial peril, the study looks at five main components of financial stability.

To find out how Illinois ranks within cash solvency, budget solvency, service-level solvency, trust fund solvency, and long-run solvency; also read more about Illinois fiscal health, check out Reboot Illinois.


NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois is among the best states to make a living in 2015
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My Friend Who Survived The Unthinkable Taught Me To Ask This Question

Wed, 2015-07-15 16:11
We first crossed paths in 2007. I was in 8th grade at a Jewish Day School in Chicago; Clemantine was a student at New Trier High School, located in a Chicago suburb. She had won Oprah's Elie Wiesel essay writing contest a year earlier, and I had watched on TV as Oprah reunited Clemantine with her family. Seventeen months later, I saw her in person.

I was with my family at a luncheon for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I don't remember much about the event, but I will never forget the moment Clemantine got up in front of that room of over 2,000 people and spoke about her life as a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Her voice was slow and smooth; you could tell that she was thinking about the right way to enunciate each syllable. Moved by her speech, I decided to contact Clemantine. "You carried yourself with such confidence and poise. I will always think of you whenever I give a speech," I wrote. "I wish to one day hear your story."

She came to speak at my school a few weeks later.

I have heard Clemantine's story in many iterations, so reading the piece she recently wrote for Matter felt familiar. It also made me reflect on my relationship with Clemantine and prompted me to reach out to her. When I talked to her last week, she said that she wrote about her life for Matter in order to universalize her experience, so that everyone -- anyone -- would be able to cry or laugh or be shocked by her words. "It's about humans and the struggle of having broken families and...being misunderstood," she told me.

As we talked about her writing and her life in San Francisco and how we haven't seen each other in forever, I began thinking about why Clemantine and I have remained friends over the years. She has this ability to tell her story without guilting those who have not experienced the same struggle. "We're all trying," she said, hinting at the reality that life is hard for everyone, just in different ways.

We are friends, yet there are few similarities between Clemantine's story and my own. She has "lived many lives," from wandering in and out of refugee camps around Africa to sitting on the U.S. Holocaust Museum's board. I have no such range of experiences. I grew up coming home each night from school or tennis practice or ballet lessons to a home-cooked family dinner. I have never gone hungry or had to sleep outside or found myself without a pair of shoes. I have lived a life full of privilege. But Clemantine brushes our differences aside and says, "I did not grow to be the person that I am alone. It's been about people like you...reaching out to me." Her humility reminds me that growth is a process that demands support from others.

Clemantine's capacity to empathize with the human heart is mind-boggling. She remains present in conversations about genocide even when people don't understand her pain. She models the way human beings should treat each other and asks the questions our leaders need to be answering.

Clemantine is inspiring, yet if there's one thing I've learned from her, it's that she wants her story to transform rather than touch. In Clemantine's words, "My hope in doing what I do every single day -- in a speech, on stage, in writing -- is to give people an opportunity to really investigate the way they're living their lives."

The thing that always surprises me most when I talk to Clemantine is her human-centric outlook on life. She lived through one of humanity's darkest moments and still believes that people possess the power to better the world. Take this question she posed when I spoke with her last week: "Those who are living in refugee camps, in slums, in mansions in corners of the world, is the way they're living their lives welcoming of others?"

I paused to think about what my own answer would be. Am I living in a way that's welcoming of others?

Are you?

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Chicago Now Home to the Nation's Highest Sales Tax

Wed, 2015-07-15 14:51
Buying local just got a lot less appealing for Chicagoans.

The city reclaimed the highest sales-tax rate in the nation on July 15, when the Cook County Board, which oversees Illinois' largest city, voted to raise its portion of the sales tax, bringing Chicago's combined rate to 10.25 percent from 9.25 percent.

Chicago is now right back where it was in 2008, when the county raised its rate to 1.75 percent from 0.75 percent (the same leap as the 2015 increase).

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger hiked the sales-tax rate in 2008, and lost his re-election bid to current Board President Toni Preckwinkle in 2010. Back then, Preckwinkle benefited from momentum against Stroger's unpopular tax hike, which she ultimately peeled back. But her quick about-face shows Chicago politicians increase and decrease the sales-tax rate as it's convenient.

A sales tax is one of the most transparent ways for government to raise revenues, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Chicago imposes its sales tax on top of myriad other taxes residents pay, including property taxes, and other taxes and fees.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has also revealed a plan to increase Chicagoans' property taxes by $175 million over one year to cover city debt.

Unfortunately, other factors make it expensive to live in the city, as well. Illinois has the highest cellphone taxes in the nation. In July, City Council passed a 56 percent increase on the city's cellphone surcharge, adding an additional $84 in taxes each year for a family of four with four cell phones and a landline. In 2013, City Council raised the tax rate on cable to 6 percent from 4 percent - the city is raising the rate again, this time all the way up to 9 percent, costing Chicagoans an extra $12 million in taxes, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Now the city is foisting an additional 9 percent tax on online streaming services such as Netflix.

Property taxes, surcharges and entertainment taxes are all methods City Council has been using repeatedly as a method to drum up revenue to fund the city's financial problems. But Chicago's population is growing at a snail's pace, gaining just 82 residents in 2014 after a decade of population decline.

Chicago leaders can only squeeze so much out of the city's remaining residents.

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How One Chicago Restaurant Went Totally Trash-Free

Wed, 2015-07-15 13:13


According to the Green Restaurant Association, the average restaurant in the U.S. produces 150,000 pounds of garbage each year. Café owner Justin Vrany thinks this number cannot only be reduced, but eliminated entirely. His Chicago-based eatery has produced an astonishing 8 gallons of garbage in the last two years. According to Vrany, that bag of trash was recently picked up by a local artist, who will transform it into a sculpture -- now making Sandwich Me In a zero-waste restaurant. 

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Illinois Constitution Is for Rule of Law, Not Political Benefits

Wed, 2015-07-15 11:03
The General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.

Illinois Constitution, Article VIII, section 2 (b)

There's nothing mysterious or complicated about the Illinois Constitution's directive on state expenditures. They all must be defined by the General Assembly. Without an appropriation, there is no authority to spend.

It's very simple and for good reason. In theory, it forces the General Assembly and the governor to draft an agreed-upon spending plan before the budget year begins. Failure to do so invites painful consequences as government attempts to function with no money. More precisely, with no authorization for discretionary spending of the money it has. (And in theory, it also requires spending to not exceed revenue for the coming year, something the Democrats in the General Assembly disregarded in 2014.)

This is why Attorney General Lisa Madigan is correct in arguing that the Illinois Comptroller's Office has no legal authority to issue state employee paychecks. She's also doing the right thing in pursuing a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court on whether Illinois state employees can be paid without a state budget.

Due to a pair of dueling circuit court rulings last week, first in Cook County and then in St. Clair County, the Illinois Comptroller's Office has begun processing payroll as usual. Which is to say, processing payroll as if there is a state budget that authorizes said payroll spending.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

Questions about the constitution also surround the finer details of the state's budget shutdown. The Supreme Court said the comptroller's office could only pay "essential" employees in the event of a shutdown, according to the Illinois constitution, but Comptroller Leslie Munger told employees they would receive their normal July 15 paychecks either way. Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network explained the situation at Reboot Illinois.

NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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Yep, The 10 Worst Cities For Driving Are Pretty Predictable

Wed, 2015-07-15 10:53

For some people, commuting to work means hopping out of bed and heading to the next room to sit in a home office. For others, it involves dealing with hours of traffic on the highway. 


In certain major cities, it's almost guaranteed that traffic will be horrible every single day. Our friends at WalletHub calculated the worst cities to be a driver in, and the results are pretty predictable.


First, WalletHub ranked the 100 most populated U.S. Cities according to the costs of car ownership and the time, money and safety involved with commuting. Then, the site analyzed those cities based on 21 different factors, including gas prices, parking costs, average traffic delays, car thefts and accident likelihood.


Without further ado, here are the 10 worst cities for driving in 2015: 


10. Los Angeles, California 

9. Baltimore, Maryland

8. Chicago, Illinois 

7. Boston, Massachusetts 

 6. Newark, New Jersey

 5. Detroit, Michigan

4. San Francisco, California

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2. Washington, D.C.

1. New York, New York 

 


Head over to WalletHub to read the rest of the findings or try to find your city on the map below: 




Source: WalletHub

Also on HuffPost: 


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10 Illinois Cities With the Most DUI Arrests in 2014

Wed, 2015-07-15 10:05
From almost 700 surveys conducted by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, the police departments of Illinois have revealed crucial information about the DUI rates in Illinois. State Police, Chicago Police, and law enforcement agencies answered this survey, providing an all-encompassing and thorough look at these critical statistics.

AAIM is an independent non-profit citizens' action group and was founded in 1982 with the help of then-Secretary of State, Gov. Jim Edgar, who led legislative efforts to combat drunk driving by establishing Illinois' first citizens' task force. The survey, which has been conducted since 1990, is funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"Tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws and public awareness campaigns in Illinois has substantially cut the annual number of alcohol-related traffic deaths since fatalities peaked during the 1980s," said AAIM Executive Director Rita Kreslin in a statement. "Focused efforts and cooperation of law enforcement agencies, traffic safety advocates and communities have helped to prevent crashes and save thousands of lives."

The Illinois State Police reported 37.8 percent fewer arrests than the 9,302 made in 2013. In 2012, state troopers arrested 7,220 intoxicated drivers.



Chicago's arrest figure fell 2.2 percent from 2013, when the Chicago Police Department made 3,395 drunken driving arrests.



The Secretary of State Police, which focuses on enforcing laws on vehicle registration and sales of motor vehicles and parts, also figured into the statistics with six more arrests than in 2013.



Some cities had significant spikes in the number of DUI arrests over the year, though no municipality came close to the increase seen in Berwyn, a city of about 56,700 in Chicago's west suburbs. The Berwyn Police Department in 2014 reported 202 arrests, a 122 percent increase from the 91 drunken driving arrests the previous year.

Since more populated cities and counties typically have more DUI arrests, we used AAIM's data to see which had the most per capita. Using U.S. Census population estimates for 2014, the following lists 10 of the top cities with the most arrests per 1,000 people.

25. Olympia Fields - 10.9

  • Arrests: 55

  • Officers: 20

  • Arrests/officer: 2.75


24. Hartford - 11.5

  • Arrests: 16

  • Officers: 6

  • Arrests/officer: 2.67


23. Fairview Heights - 11.8

  • Arrests: 200

  • Officers: 43

  • Arrests/officer: 4.65


22. Cobden - 12.2

  • Arrests: 14

  • Officers: 4

  • Arrests/officer: 3.5


21. West City - 12.3

  • Arrests: 8

  • Officers: 9

  • Arrests/officer: 0.89


20. East Dubuque - 13.17

  • Arrests: 22

  • Officers: 10

  • Arrests/officer: 2.2


19. El Paso - 13.2

  • Arrests: 37

  • Officers: 8

  • Arrests/officer: 4.63


18. Jerome - 13.8

  • Arrests: 23

  • Officers: 8

  • Arrests/officer: 2.88


17. Creve Coeur - 14.0

  • Arrests: 75

  • Officers: 11

  • Arrests/officer: 6.82


16. Chenoa - 14.1

  • Arrests: 25

  • Officers: 8

  • Arrests/officer: 3.13



To see the top 15 cities and top 25 counties with DUI arrests, plus the full set of data on DUI arrests in Illinois, visit Reboot Illinois.


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Chicago's State of Culinary Affairs

Wed, 2015-07-15 09:04
Something new took place at Taste of Chicago this year. In the city's on-going efforts to promote our stellar foodie community, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events put on the Food For Thought Podcasts tent, designed to stimulate on-going communication regarding the Chicago foodie scene through the live recording of podcasts.

Aided by podcast guru Edward Silha of Radio Misfits, the podcast tent proved to be a valuable new asset to the festival, engaging Chicaoans in dialogues on everything from the restaurant scene and hot chefs to the lowering costs of farm-to-table staples. Of course, the tent doubled as a shaded area allowing for a respite from the sun and a chance to chow down that great turkey leg while sitting on a chair, so it was both educational and convenient!

The Dinner Party To Go podcast was asked to participate, and I was excited to record two live podcasts on July 10 and July 12, interviewing some of Chicago's most in-the-know chefs and food experts. With Chefs Takashi Yagihashi of Slurping Turtle, Carrie Nahabedian of Naha and Brindille and John Manion of La Sirena Clandestina and the soon-to-be El Che Bar, I discussed Chicago's position on the culinary world stage, and how the internet and television have affected the Chicago food scene.

Two days later, under a gorgeous and seemingly rare and sunny sky, I discussed current and upcoming foodie trends with nationally respected food journalist, Ari Bendersky, public relations expert and CEO of Isabelli Media, Janet Isabelli Wilkerson and Chef Jared Van Camp of Element Collective restaurant group. We all agreed that the fine dining and fast food arenas are colliding in Chicago's increasingly competitive food market.

Enjoy these two podcasts below as these six guests are a wealth of information and have their fingers on the pulse of Chicago's increasingly important and vital foodie community. In addition, you may pick up a few tips for scoring your favorite food from your favorite chef and how being extra nice to a restaurant's executive chef and staff might be the brownie points you've been hoping for.




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Senator Kirk, the World Iis Looking for Climate Action (and We Are Too)

Tue, 2015-07-14 16:37




"Too important to ignore."

That is the subject line of a constituent email that Senator Mark Kirk put out yesterday, relating to the problem of climate change.

It is good to hear this because NRDC is in the midst of a two-week run of public education ads highlighting Senator Kirk's vote in June to block climate action. In last month's appropriations bill to fund the Environmental Protection Agency, the Senator had a very clear choice between voting to protect Americans from the ravages of climate change or vote with the polluters. He voted with the polluters.

Which, at first blush, makes his email Monday a bit of a head-scratcher.

You see, last week, he voted in support of the Green Climate fund -- an effort the email described as something to "fund global discussions on clean energy technologies and renewable energy production," but actually funds significant projects to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries adapt to climate change.

But to address climate change, we cannot just look abroad. This country is the second largest source of carbon pollution in the world. And American leadership on the issue is essential for prompting action overseas--in fact, right after the Obama administration announced the historic Clean Power Plan proposal to cut dangerous carbon pollution from American power plants, China announced its own effort to cut carbon pollution in cooperation with the White House.

If the issue is too important to ignore around the world, it is too important to ignore here in America. Perhaps today's constituent email signals that Senator Kirk will better represent the needs of Illinoisans, the Great Lakes and the rest of the world moving forward.

We hope so. We will keep running our ad on Chicagoland TV and cable stations for a while, just to be sure we are clear on what is at stake.



This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.

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My Q and A With doppel Creator and Wearable Tech Expert Fotini Markopoulou

Tue, 2015-07-14 15:20
Fotini Markopoulou is a theoretical physicist and hardware tech designer. She is co-founder of Team Turquoise, a wearable tech company that uses research in psycho-physiology to create technology that changes how we perceive, feel and behave. In answer to my questions, she shared her insights on new developments in wearable technology that can help us lead calmer, focused and productive lives.

What is empathic wearable technology?

Empathic wearable technology enhances our experience by interacting with our emotions, needs and relations with others. Empathic technology can be under the intentional control of the wearer, or it can be based on preset algorithms that monitor our mood and physiology in the background. This requires far more than monitoring and quantifying our bodily state, heart rate, steps and calories, and presenting us with data. Emotions have their roots in our bodies, and so it is natural for empathic technology to be wearable because it needs to actively affect our bodies.

What is doppel? How is it different than other tracker-type devices on the market?

doppel is not about monitoring. doppel is a new breed of wearable technology that is built from a deep understanding of the physiological roots of emotions. Using doppel can naturally make you feel more alert or more relaxed. It has been extensively tested and independently shown to increase focus. It does this with a heartbeat-like pulse that you feel on the inside of your wrist. You can control the rate and the intensity of the pulse. It uses our innate response to rhythm, much like listening to upbeat or downbeat music. We react to doppel's pulse in the same way: a fast pulse is energizing, a slow pulse is calming. With a beat you feel instead of hear there is no noise or distraction and you can use it anywhere.

Can doppel improve sleep for users?

You can use it at the end of your day to help wind down and switch off. It's like listening to relaxing music, but more intimate and easier to use. During the day, doppel works with your body as an antidote to the incessant pressure of other technologies. Our devices send us messages that need immediate responses. This is an addictive state that leaves us worn out. doppel is a reminder that being steady can be more effective. The best preparation for a good night's sleep is having a calmer day.

What do you see as the future of the wearable technology industry?

Few of us will sleep better because we can see data on our bad habits. We don't process data, we have experiences. Data is the raw material for constructing empathic experiences but it cannot provide the experience itself. Experiences are feelings, and to affect feelings we need empathic technologies that will interact with the body as well as the brain. We believe that through a deep understanding of how people respond to the world, we can create technology to get the response we want from ourselves.

What is the research behind doppel?

We did our own research and design experiments and also worked closely with experts at the University of London. We first looked at how people innately respond to rhythm, whether music or the biorhythms of others. We tested responses to beats that are not audible, lights and vibrations, and found that people respond to them too, especially if the beat is a heart-like double beat.

We also looked at the plasticity of self. We designed doppel to use this understanding. It puts a pulse on the inside of your wrist, where you would normally feel your pulse. When doppel is beating slowly and steadily, you feel that things must be fine, as if your own heart was beating happily in a relaxed state.

Has your sleep changed since you started using doppel?

First of all, doppel helps my sleep because I use it instead of coffee. No caffeine means a much better night's sleep. doppel has also taught me to appreciate winding down more. I am always on the go and my mind is always full of things I want to do -- slowing down is mentally uncomfortable. Almost without noticing, doppel slows me down when I am hectic. I can either focus on its beat or let it work in the background, it is something external that feels internal. This made me realize that slowing down is possible, natural, easy and good for me.

Tell me about your Kickstarter campaign.


We very strongly believe that technology that works with you needs to be designed with you. Kickstarter gives us a fantastic way to communicate directly with the people we are designing for.

We will be shipping doppel to them in April 2016, and we plan to develop doppel further based on our backers' feedback. We know that our Kickstarter backers will want to take an active part in shaping this new technology. By doing it in this way, we will be able to improve doppel in ways that really work for the people that use it.

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Top Ten Outdoor Dining Destinations

Tue, 2015-07-14 13:38
We love to soak up every bit of summer that we can, day or night. Here is our list of the best places to indulge this summer.

Austin, TX
The Butterfly Bar

Just about every restaurant and bar in Austin has an outdoor patio and of course, Austinites get to enjoy them just about all year long. While there are plenty with river or city skyline views, we like The Butterfly Bar in a secluded space on Manor. Inside is a great 100-year-old bar connected to The Vortex, a cool little theater for music and plays. Outside is a courtyard with yet another stage and Patrizi's food truck for fabulous Italian food. It's like its own little party inside the big party that is Austin.

Boston, MA
Rosso Patio Bar

South End's Cinquecento already has a great 60-seat patio in the shadow of a giant wagon wheel, but they recently opened a little outdoor bar built into a shipping container. The Rosso Patio Bar has just 12 seats but opens up to the larger patio and outdoor lounging area. Now that's upcycling.

Chicago, IL
The Dawson

EDL favorite The Dawson is great any time of year, but it really shines in the summer. Sit at the communal tables or couches on their awesome stone patio and enjoy their killer group cocktails and upscale comfort food apps like the signature chicken-fried lobster.

Denver, CO
Central Bistro and Bar

One of the most important aspects of an outdoor dining spot is the view. Central Bistro and Bar offers one of the best in Denver, with a full view of the city -- and the food gets top marks too. Charred octopus, Spanish mussels and Baja shrimp tacos are just the type of bites you want to enjoy in the sun, and the Sucker Punch is the perfect cocktail to share with friends. Closed on Mondays, but they make it up with all day Happy Hour on Tuesdays!

Central Bistro and Bar

Los Angeles, CA
Cliff's Edge

Once you step onto the patio of Cliff's Edge in Silver Lake, surrounded by palm trees and thick branches, you'll feel as though you're noshing in a jungle miles away from LA. Add excellent small plates and high-end cocktails at this hideaway and the hours will seriously fly by.

New York, NY
The Top of the Standard

The best views in NYC are of course from on high and The Top of the Standard is one of the swankier rooftop experiences. The 18th floor bar has 360-degree views thanks to keeping the bar sunk down low -- and there is an outdoor lounging area. There's also a terrace with a glass floor to see the street. Don't miss Le Bain bar on the roof with a "grass" floor and plunge pool.

The Top of the Standard

Portland, ME
TIQA

Summer outdoor dining is at a premium in this state, where the season is short and celebrated to its fullest. Lounge on the outdoor furniture at Mediterranean restaurant TIQA on this busy corner, where you can watch the world go by with a cocktail in hand and house made pita, olives and hummus on the table next to you.

TIQA

San Francisco, CA
Off the Grid

OK, so this isn't a specific spot, but it's impossible to talk about outdoor eating and drinking in SF without mentioning Off the Grid, the daily/nightly mobile food truck party that pops up all over the city. We say party because they often have live music and cocktails, and they always attract a huge crowd. Put it at the top of your SF summer bucket list.

Seattle, WA
Marination Ma Kai

Drive or take a water taxi to Marination Ma Kai, where the 1,500 square foot patio offers some of the best views of the Seattle skyline. Here you can enjoy Korean-Hawaiian fusion fare (kimchi quesadillas, anyone?) and cool off with shave ice -- boozy or otherwise.

Washington D.C.,
Dacha Beer Garden

Your go-to spot for summer brews and snacks outdoors in DC is Dacha Beer Garden. Where else can you go on a hot day for a boot of German beer and bites like brats and pretzels with cheese? While you drink and eat, their giant mural of Elizabeth Taylor is watching over you at all times. It's Big Brother meets old Hollywood glam.

Dacha Beer Garden

For more tips on the best places to Eat, Drink and be Lucky, sign up for Eat Drink Lucky's daily foodie briefing.

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Illinois' Financial Crisis Has Parallels in Greek Tragedies and Greek Politics

Tue, 2015-07-14 12:56
The financial crises for Chicago city government and Illinois state government aren't unique. Detroit, Puerto Rico and Greece all have or are currently struggling with problems that have similar roots to those of Illinois. Madeleine Doubek of Reboot Illinois wonders why Illinois leaders have offered only speeches and political gridlock as their own Greek tragedy plays out before their eyes.

We've known for several years now that big payments were due the Chicago teachers, police and fire pensions this year, and that Chicago Public School finances were tilting toward insolvency. And yet, school officials are making payments at the last second with money they don't really have after a dangerous deal to borrow from the teachers' pension fund fell apart. Now, school officials and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are warning of more mid-year budget cuts to schools and blaming the crisis on Springfield.

We've known for many years that Illinois isn't paying its bills or funding its pensions properly. We're more than $100 billion behind on paying for pensions -- the worst in the nation -- and another $5 billion behind on paying for goods and services. And yes, lawmakers did pass one plan to try to fix the pension crisis, but it was found unconstitutional, something just about anyone who was watching the court a year ago saw coming when it issued a ruling saying public worker health care benefits must be covered by taxpayers.

We've known since, oh, I don't know, statehood in 1818 (she wrote facetiously), that there's often waste in government, especially in a state known for corruption, like Illinois. Perhaps the poster child for that waste was the $50 million spent on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative that dominated political discussion most of last year.

We've known since last November that Democrats no longer control every aspect of state and Chicago government, when Republican Bruce Rauner won the governor's race by four percentage points while Democrats maintained their super majorities.

And what's happened since then? Rauner called for shared sacrifice, but proposed a budget more than $2 billion out of balance by offering up a pension plan that clearly wasn't going to work. Emanuel ran scared and won, avoiding talk of financial doomsdays as much as he could. House Speaker Michael Madigan and his fellow Democrats gave Rauner a budget that spends at least $3 billion more than the state will collect from taxpayers this year.

Read the rest of Doubek's thoughts at Reboot Illinois, including how she compares the city and the state to a house that has been set on fire.

One of the factors that could have contributed to this unfortunate state of affairs in state finances is the political fights that delay real solutions. Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network says Rauner, Madigan and their supporters in Springfield are "locked in a battle of wills" that is getting "testy." Check out Reboot Illinois to see how the standoff between the two parties has escalated and what could happen next.

NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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Nerlens Noel: I Think Joel Embiid And I Could Be A Nightmare

Tue, 2015-07-14 12:52
Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie year after suffering a torn ACL during his lone collegiate season. The 21-year-old former Kentucky star was selected sixth overall in the 2013 NBA draft by New Orleans, before being traded to Philadelphia. The 76ers, whose almost unprecedented rebuilding process has been both maligned and celebrated, are hoping that he can become another Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins -- or Karl-Anthony Towns for that matter -- in the long line of stellar Kentucky big men.

The 6-foot-11 Noel, now healthy after a productive year averaging 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, is a key component to rebuilding a Philly franchise who most recently drafted yet another big man in Duke's Jahlil Okafor and who also learned it likely won't have former No. 3 pick Joel Embiid for the second consecutive season.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Also, please note that this interview was conducted before the news about Embiid's injury and before the 76ers drafted Okafor.


Athletes of all sports -- and young ones especially -- tend to want to work on their strengths more so than their weaknesses. How have you tried to avoid that since coming into the league?

I definitely feel like that is one of the most important things. You are playing against much better competition, there's going to be a demand where you have to do some things you're not comfortable with, and if you don't work on them, it's going to be that much more difficult when you're older.

With that in mind, what has been the biggest improvement to your game since becoming a pro?

Becoming a pro? I'd just say my shot. I think that's my biggest improvement. Spending a lot of time with it, my free throws, my form -- every little thing about it. It takes a lot of work, working with the same couple of people consistently. That's something you want very concentrated when you're changing your whole shot. It's not easy, because it's pretty easy to revert right back. It's a consistent thing you have to stay mindful of.

What was the dynamic, then, going from your rookie year to year two in terms of how you approach the game and also how you approach your offseason?

Definitely improve my shot. Then looking at tape and my body. Getting stronger and packing on some size. You know how physical the NBA is. Continue to work on the overall skill set, you know. I want to come back and improve statistically through every category I can. And just overall impact on the game, I want to be a complete, two-way player.

From your body perspective, where does the strength need to come from? Because you're already such a good and fluid athlete. Where does the strength need to come from for you to get to that next level or next two levels?

I think it just has to come on steadily. I think I just need to continuously add on five or ten pounds from year to year, you know. Adding muscle and size while being able to maintain my athleticism, and I think with my shot and being able to hit that 15-footer, that it would help me utilize that quickness. I think that will take my game to another level by having to have that first step on the bigger-sized centers and power forwards in this league.

In talking to point guards, I've learned that pick-and-roll is one of the hardest adjustments they have to make because of the decision-making and the speed of it at this level. As a big man, though, how hard is it to become comfortable all over the floor on both pick-and-roll and as a pick-and-pop guy?



Offensively?

I was going to start with offense and then go to defense, but if you could talk about both that would be great, particularly given the fact that you've played with multiple point guards already.

Offensively, it's a little different. You have to really learn how to really roll out of the screen and learn the timing, especially when you play with so many guys throughout the season. You have to learn the players that you're playing with and their tendencies. Playing with different point guards and learning what they like to go with, whether they do it a lot -- there's so many different things that come through it.

And defensively, I mean that's definitely a different type of thing too because you play with some guys like Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving that you really never know what's going to happen in a pick-and-roll. Then there's the more traditional point guards that you have to be more disciplined on. I think discipline is the most important thing because you can reach and try to cheat and mess up the point guard, but if you let the guy get a step behind you with the momentum of a roller, you know he's the best offensive rebounder in the gym, so you've got to keep up on him with all the momentum that he has going to the basket. Defensively, I think it's a little harder trying to read them, especially depending on who the point guard is.

What exactly are you looking for? What is the read? From an offensive standpoint, are you reading your point guard more or are you reading what the defensive big will do? And then on defense, are you reading the point guard more?

Well, we had a couple different defensive schemes through this year. We had me being up, then we had one with me being back. When it was me up on the screener, I'd always read the big guy and what angle he was setting the screen. You sort of get used to it in the NBA as the season goes along. If you're up on the screen, you push it towards the sideline and you wanna ice [or trap] it. That starts to become more of a natural call and you start to get a little more fluid, but you always want to be careful of the guys in back.

In watching the finals, we saw Cleveland jump the ball screen really high trying to force the ball out of Stephen Curry's hands. How difficult is it to do that from the big's perspective? Because now you're getting to a point -- even with you, who's very laterally quick -- where you're 25-30 feet away from the basket and I know no big wants to be that high.



You know it definitely is tough, it takes a lot of commitment and work. You have to stay up there and have a conscious effort of doing your best to contest the shot while staying in front of a smaller guy, especially with the abilities of Curry and being able to put the ball on the floor and shoot it with just a little bit of space. You just definitely have to have that weak side rotation so everyone's on the same page. You can work the advantage, but then again, it's a pretty tough thing to stop.

Is there somebody you look at and think, "His game is closest to me"? Or, "I can be like that guy"? Is there somebody you're trying to model yourself after while also maintaining your individuality?

Kevin Garnett is someone I looked up to growing up a lot. I think I'm a little different than him in some ways, but I think overall his game defensively and offensively -- I like to emulate his game.

In terms of your improvement, is it more about game experience, or tape? How much is it playing game experience versus watching and re-watching?

I think it's a lot of everything, really. I think playing is the No. 1 thing. Like I've said before about my year of sitting out, it's great to sit on the sidelines and learn, but there's no substitute for experience. I think that's something I learned this year as the season went along, after the break I felt a little more confident that I knew what the NBA game was about and I think I was in a better position of just really coming out and playing. Because you've been there before, you know? I had played in 30, 40 games or so, and then you understand what you have to work on, whether it's the little things like the types of shots you're going to get in games, so you take those, you rep those out, then you come back in year two and you're feeling even more confident.

How much weight do you think you've put on at this point since you were drafted?

I came in at about 215 and right now I'm 223, so I've put on about 8 pounds.

Is a lot of that functional strength, where you can feel it? Eight pounds isn't a lot of weight, but do you feel like it's made a positive difference for you?

Oh yeah, it's definitely made a big difference, even through the season. I put it on through this past season and you start to feel it, and your numbers go up as well. When I put on a few pounds this past season, I started playing a little better and I felt stronger and more confident going to the basket. So I think strength is a big issue in taking my game to a new level.

Is a lot of that the recovery as well? With the travel, the back-to-backs, not necessarily just playing?

What do you mean?

Well, getting stronger physically, I know it helps in the game. But how much does it help you recovery-wise when you're traveling, you're playing back-to-backs, to get your body stronger to take and endure the grueling nature of the NBA?

Definitely. I think that's the biggest part about getting stronger. It definitely helps to keep you healthy, and when you take a bang, you won't feel it as much when you're more solid. Taking bumps and bruises and having it not really affect you night in and night out.

What has been the hardest part for you going from winning so much at Kentucky to the losing in Philadelphia?


There has been some frustration at points, but I think we've just done such a great job of staying close-knit. We have a great group of young guys with a lot of common interest in the locker room, and I think we do a great job of complimenting each other on and off the court. There hasn't been hardly any animosity toward anybody; the coaches keep everybody close-knit as well.

When you look at Joel Embiid, what has your advice been to him? He's dealt with severe injury woes, as have you.



This past season, he was one of my great friends. Me and Joel have been very close since he's been in Philadelphia and I've always told him just stick to the work ethic, and he has. He's done a great job. Things happen and I think he'll be just fine with a little bit of time.

How lethal would you guys be -- especially defensively -- because we know you both can interchange playing the 4 and the 5?

I think we could be a nightmare. [We could be] dominant. I think the defense will speak for itself, but I think the offense as well as me and Joel continue to work on our jump shots. I heard Joel has a pretty nice touch now. I think as we continue to work on that we'll be able to be pretty dominant on both ends, especially with my passing ability. I think that's something that can be underrated as well -- look at Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and their relationship, I think [we] can be something crazy.

Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com, ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report, or follow me on Instagram @Schultz_Report.

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9 Illinois Critters That Could Be Lurking in Your Backyard

Mon, 2015-07-13 15:45
Illinois-native animals are frequently in competition with other species attempting to take over their habitats. We call Illinois the "Prairie State" because there are hundreds of miles of mostly flat, grassy land that are home to thousands of different species of plants and animals. Many of those animals, such as raccoons, made Illinois their home a long time before humans arrived. Others, such as certain kinds of rats and mice, only showed up with European settlers.

According to the Illinois State Museum, at one time there were 29,000 native animal species living in the state. Shrinking territory has driven out some species, such as the gray wolf, mountain lions and the American elk. Others, including the passenger pigeon, have become extinct. Bison are the biggest mammals to have lived in Illinois.

Black bears, which the University of Illinois Wildlife Directory says were common in Illinois until 1870, currently do not have any permanent populations in Illinois, though three individual bears have been spotted since 2008. (If Illinoisans see a black bear, they are encouraged to report the sighting to the state Department of Natural Resources.)

Here are 9 animal species native to Illinois, meaning they have lived in the state without being introduced by humans:

White-tailed deer



The white-tailed deer is the state animal of Illinois and is protected under the state's wildlife code. The U of I's Wildlife Directory it is the biggest native herbivore in Illinois. The animals live throughout the state and their population has grown larger today than it was at the first arrival of Europeans in the area. They were nearly eliminated from the state in the 1800s and a conscious "restocking effort" began in the 1930s. They live in woods near rivers and can weigh up to 250 pounds. White-tailed deer eat leaves and twigs and are sometimes hunted by coyotes and bobcats. They can be legally hunted in the fall and winter.

Eastern wild turkey



The eastern wild turkey is the only turkey species found in Illinois, says the U of I Wildlife Directory. It became extinct in Illinois in 1910, but was reintroduced through conservation efforts. Males can weigh up to 24 pounds. They live in wooded areas, but usually establish nests near tree lines. They eat plants and insects and can live up to 10 years. Eastern wild turkeys can run faster than 12 mph and can fly up to 55 mph. The Wildlife Directory advises Illinoisans to "make a lot of noise" and "wave your arms" to chase away an aggressive turkey if it tries to intimidate you. The Department of Natural Resources administers fall and spring turkey hunting seasons in Illinois.

Coyote



Coyotes are members of the dog family that have gray or reddish bushy fur and usually weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. They have green eyes and the University of Illinois Wildlife Directory says coyote's "yaps and howls...may be their most distinguishing characteristic." They live all over Illinois, mostly in "semi-open country," but can be found living even in the urban landscape of Chicago. There are approximately 30,000 coyotes living in Illinois, says the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinoisans are discouraged from approaching coyotes and should keep an eye on small outdoor pets in the evening in areas where coyotes may be present.

Lake sturgeon



Lake sturgeon are the biggest species of fish in North America. They can grow to be more than six feet long, weigh up to 200 pounds and live to be 150 years old. The family of fish to which they belong has existed for more than 135 million years, says National Geographic. They are gray in color and eat snails, fish eggs and other creatures from the bottoms of lakes and rivers. They were once especially abundant in the Great Lakes, says National Geographic, but faced "unsustainable" catch rates for their meat and because they are so big they damaged fishing gear. It is protected as an endangered fish in 19 states and is seeing a resurgence in its population.

Woodchuck



Woodchucks are rodents that sometimes also are called ground hogs. They are the largest members of the squirrel family in Illinois, weighing up to 14 pounds. The Wildlife Directory says they live in open meadows of crop fields and live much of the time underground. They eat mainly grasses and other plants and have been known to steal a bite from crops such as carrots or soybeans. They are one of the only hibernating mammals in Illinois, going dormant from October to February. They can live up to three years, but often face predation by dogs, coyotes and hawks and are frequent victims of car strikes. Woodchucks can be hunted in rural parts of Illinois with a permit.

Bobcat



Bobcats look like common house cats, but are about twice the size, says the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They live in forests throughout Illinois. Because their habitat is so limited, development began to threaten them in the 1800s, and bobcats became the first animal to be listed as a threatened species in Illinois in 1977. They were removed in 1999. There are an estimated 5,000 individuals in the state. They are nocturnal and can climb trees, where they eat birds and squirrels. The biggest threat to adults is car collisions, not other predators. They are known to howl and meow. A bill to allow hunting of bobcats was passed by the General Assembly in 2015 and now awaits action by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Mallard duck



Mallard ducks are the ancestors of almost every other domestic duck breed. They have wingspans of up to 37 inches and males have a distinctive green head. They live in open water lakes and ponds in Illinois, and are especially common in suburban areas in the northern two-thirds of the state. They eat worms, bugs, seeds, seaweed, and most anything else they can get their bills on. They are eaten themselves by crows, foxes, coyotes and snapping turtles, says the U of I Wildlife Directory. They have state protection status under the Illinois Wildlife Code alongside their protection under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Eastern cottontail rabbit



Cottontails get their name from the short, fluffy white tails that contrast with the rest of their brow fur. They weigh about four pounds. In Illinois, the rabbits live in open and wooded areas in rural and urban settings. They live throughout the whole state, but are most common in the southwest parts of the state. One female can have up to 25 offspring in a single year. They eat various types of vegetation, such as grass and dandelions, and will take garden crops, says the U of I. When avoiding predators such as owls, snakes and bobcats, cottontail rabbits first remain quiet and still and then run away in a zig-zag pattern.

Red fox



Red foxes are members of the dog family and weigh up to 14 pounds. The U of I Wildlife Directory says they are the only Illinois mammals with red fur. They live throughout the state in rural and urban areas and are especially common in the north. They live in the abandoned and expanded dens of woodchucks and other burrowing animals. Both male and female red foxes care for their young, which can live up to seven years. They hunt at night for rabbits, mice, eggs and fruit. Sometimes they'll collect extra food and save it for later. Illinoisans usually are discouraged from approaching red foxes, as they can carry rabies. They are protected under Illinois law, but nuisance animals can be removed with a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

Check out Reboot Illinois to see six more animals native to Illinois that you can find both in water and on land, and even a few you might see in both! Also, be sure to check four species which are invasive to Illinois, including the scary-looking Sea lamprey.

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Are Illinois' elected officials running a government or a political campaign?

Mon, 2015-07-13 11:31
Capitol Fax's Rich Miller has an argument to make: If one were to look at the workings of Illinois state government last week, they might not be able to tell whether they were examining a political campaign or the negotiations of actual elected officials:

After staring at my computer screen for over an hour, I realized that my goal of providing you a succinct and thoughtful analysis of what happened on a very weird day last week in Illinois government was impossible.

Instead, we're going to have to take this in pieces.

* The Court Case - CJ Baricevic was one of the lawyers representing a host of unions in their successful St. Clair County lawsuit last Thursday to force the state to pay its employees without a budget. The victory came just two days after a Cook County judge ruled that paying employees without an official state budget was a clear and total violation of the Illinois Constitution.

Why was St. Clair County's ruling so different?

Well, Baricevic happens to be the son of the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, who was once the county board chairman and is regarded as one of the most powerful Democrats in the region. The younger Baricevic is the local Democratic choice for Congress against freshman Republican Congressman Mike Bost. According to Ballotpedia, the judge in Thursday's case also appears to be up for retention next year in the heavily unionized county.

Hey, I'm not saying nothing bad about no judges. I visit that fine county every now and then. I'm even told the judge in the case isn't the type to be sensitive to such pressures. "He's just a pro labor guy at heart," explained one area politico, who added that I was "reading too much" into the local political angle.

I'm just saying, is all.

Anyway, it appears that the legal issue of whether state workers get paid without a budget may have to go all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court - if, that is, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is willing to endure the political flagellation she'll most certainly receive for her almost Ahabian pursuit of this great white whale. The Democrat could've easily stepped aside and let the paychecks be processed. But, she's convinced this is a constitutional violation, so onward and upward.

Check out how Miller came to his political-campaign-or-government conclusion at Reboot Illinois, where he analyzes a few other examples of state government craziness.

And watch an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the two biggest players in that state government: Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan. Rauner has a message for Madigan when it comes to the use of tax hikes to end the budget crisis and shutdown:



NEXT ARTICLE: Best of the best: The top 10 hospitals in Illinois

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Man Dies After Ambushing Officers With Shotgun At Suburban Chicago Home, Police Say

Mon, 2015-07-13 04:16


July 12 (Reuters) - A man who opened fire on police with a  shotgun was killed as  two officers returned fire at a suburban  Chicago home where two more people were found to have been shot  earlier, one of them fatally, police said.


The two officers, called to the house in a normally quiet,  tree-lined neighborhood in the village of River Forest, just  west of Chicago, were ambushed at the door by the suspect, said  the town's deputy police chief, James O'Shea.


The officers were treated at a nearby hospital for  non-life-threatening injuries. One was struck by a round in his  body armor, O'Shea said.


The gunman, reported by Chicago-area media to be 24 years  old, was killed in the ensuing shootout.


Neighbors told television news outlets they heard 20 to 30  shots fired. One man who lives next door described how he saw  one of officers stumble behind a tree before shooting into the  house following the initial gunshot.


Officers entering the home later found two people who had   apparently been shot by the suspect before police arrived - a  60-year-old man declared dead at the scene and a 59-year-old  woman who survived with gunshot wounds and other unspecified  injuries, O'Shea said.


Chicago-area media reported that the woman, believed to be  the assailant's mother, was hospitalized in critical condition.


There was no word on a possible motive for the violence, and  police declined to immediately release any further information  about the shootings.     (Reporting by Steve Gorman from Los Angeles; Editing by Paul  Tait)

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