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Illinois Unions Might Change Their Celebratory Tune Over Pension Ruling

Tue, 2015-05-12 13:57
Though many public employee unions cheered when the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state's 2013 pension reform law is unconstitutional, Scott Reeder of the Illinois News Network said those same unions might be singing a different tune come budget time.

SPRINGFIELD -- Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

Government worker unions had their hopes fulfilled Friday when the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that public employee pension benefits cannot be cut.

So, if you are a retired government worker, I suppose it is time to rejoice.

But if you are a citizen dependent on government services or someone who works for state or local government, look out.

The pension reform measure sponsored by House Speaker Mike Madigan and signed into law by then-Gov. Pat Quinn has been ruled unconstitutional. The state has underfunded pensions to the tune of $111 billion.

In February, Gov. Bruce Rauner presented an austere budget that cut spending but didn't close a single state facility. The number of state workers would go up slightly under his proposal.

If you think that is going to hold after the high court's ruling, dream on.

The contract for state government's largest labor union expires next month.

And what have been contentious labor negotiations are going to turn brutal.

Really, brutal.

Why?

Find out why Reeder says it's going to be brutal at Reboot Illinois.

But even if the state pensions can somehow come up with the money they need to be nearly fully funded, that might not solve all of the state's money problems. Check out the number's breakdown of the pension systems and their funding ratios by author and businessman Will Taylor at Reboot Illinois.

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

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Fox News Guest: Michelle Obama Should Thank Affirmative Action For Her Success

Tue, 2015-05-12 11:40
A guest on Tuesday morning's "Fox & Friends" suggested that Michelle Obama's enviable academic and professional success is based on affirmative action.

Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan criticized the commencement speech Obama delivered Saturday at Tuskegee University. The first lady, who has a reputation as a hard-working South Sider from Chicago, shared her experiences with racism and how they negatively impacted her.

“Why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of affirmative action?” McGowan asked. “The reason she became an associate at a law firm was probably because of diversity, that they needed a woman. I’m not saying she wasn’t qualified. But they needed a woman, and a woman of color. That’s a twofer.”

“Being the first black first lady, I would have expected a more positive message,” McGowan said while a guest on the network that once referred to Michelle as "Obama's Baby Mama."

McGlowan conceded that "parts" of Obama's speech were inspiring, but she characterized the address as racially charged and added, "Her husband has utilized race to divide this country."

"If it was a regular time in America, [the speech] would have been OK," McGlowan said.

In Obama's commencement speech at Tuskegee -- which is designated as a historically black university -- she encouraged graduates to challenge and rise above the racially-based slights, insults and indignities they may face.

"The road ahead is not going to be easy," Obama said in her address. "It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we've come so far, the truth is those age-old problems are stubborn, and they haven't fully gone away."

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12 Reasons To Date A Woman Who Reads

Tue, 2015-05-12 10:33
Filmmaker John Waters once said, "If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have any books, don’t f**k ’em."

Excellent advice.

I may be biased when I say that readers are cool, dateable people -- after all, I was the kid who brought my books to the dinner table -- but there are definite perks to dating someone who loves to read. And I don't just mean people who are interested in literary fiction and huge war histories -- loving YA vampire novels or thrillers or bodice-rippers is just as worthwhile. Really, there's nothing sexier than someone with a book.

Here are 12 reasons it's great to date someone who reads:

1. You know she’s fine spending time on her own. People who read can entertain themselves for hours without you. Yes, you might get ignored for a couple of days when the new Outlander novel comes out, but a person who can hang out with themselves and a book won't get upset when you work late. Jamie is waiting.



2. She’s empathetic. Studies have shown that people who read fiction are particularly empathetic towards others. This makes total sense -- readers can put themselves in any character's shoes. When you're reading, you're constantly empathizing, trying to understand why a particular character is acting in a particular way.

3. She's a critical thinker. She's someone you can talk through a tough decision with, and know she'll give real thought to all the moving parts. People who read have stronger analytical skills, so a reader will be better equipped to assess a situation and find the right solution.

4. She has a sense of perspective. Her crummy commute is nowhere near as bad as what's going on in The Handmaid's Tale, provided her commute did not involve being transported to a totalitarian society and forced to bear children for other couples.

5. She's easily entertained. Setting her free in a bookstore or stopping to browse at one of those streetside book stalls is her idea of heaven. All a reader needs for an adventure is a place to sit and a good story.



6. She’ll be able to teach you things. Readers accumulate a lot of random facts, and they can usually explain things in a clear, concise way. A reader is the best person to have on your team for a pub quiz, and the worst person to play Jeopardy! against.

7. She's curious. Someone hungry for more out of life -- more stories, more information, more experiences -- will keep things interesting.

8. She’s probably a good listener. Anyone who can spend hours and hours reading someone else’s stories will be just as interested in what you have to say.



9. She’s easy to buy gifts for (and we've got you covered).

10. She has a great memory for detail. Your favorite drink? Your mom's birthday? Your absolute hatred of massages? Covered. Reading improves your memory, and let's be real, it's useful to date someone who will remember to pick up toilet paper on the way home.

11. She’s involved in the world, and I don't just mean whatever fictional universe she's immersed in at the time. People who read are more likely to vote, attend cultural events and be more engaged in their communities.

12. And the best thing about dating a reader? She'll probably encourage you to pick up a book yourself, so you can reap all the benefits reading has to bring. Plus, reading next to each other in bed is so much better than playing Candy Crush.

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Swedes Are Trolling Russia With A Pro-Gay 'Singing Sailor'

Tue, 2015-05-12 09:24
A Swedish peace organization is extending an unusually welcoming message to Russia considering allegations that the country's submarines violated Sweden's borders in recent months.

That message comes via a neon sign featuring the outline of a fit dancing sailor, wearing only a hat and briefs, installed late last month just off the coast of Stockholm by the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society.

The sign, which reads “Welcome to Sweden. Gay since 1944.” in Russian and English, is part of their "Singing Sailor Underwater Defense System." The underwater sonar system also sends out a Morse code message saying, “This way if you are gay” that could be picked up by any submarines in the area. (The year 1944 refers to the year Sweden decriminalized homosexuality.)

(Story continues below.)

The "Singing Sailor Underwater Defense System" is installed in the Stockholm archipelago, near where a possible Russian submarine was allegedly spotted last October.



Anna Ek, SPAS' president, told The Huffington Post by phone that despite the system’s humorous tone, her group’s message is absolutely serious. Their goal is to call out the Russian government for the “awful” conditions for LGBT people in their country and to urge the Swedish government to consider an alternative response to Russia’s alleged violation of its borders besides further costly militarization.

“The aim of the campaign is to try and take back the discussion to where it should be. Military rearmaments haven’t created stable peace. We have tried for many years and still we see wars and conflict,” Ek told HuffPost. “Some people may think it’s a bit silly but it’s also about making love, not war. It’s as simple as that.”

In late October last year, Sweden carried out a high-profile search for a Russian submarine after a retired lieutenant colonel reported seeing one in the Stockholm archipelago. The Swedes came up empty handed in their hunt, which cost the country 23 million Swedish kronor (about $2.8 million) and resulted in international “mockery” for the nation, Ek said. She is optimistic the group’s campaign will flip that script, even as the Swedish government prepares to spend 11.2 billion Swedish kronor ($1.4 billion) on new underwater defense projects.

“We’re actually trying to create a mockery out of the idea that having countries and militaries with armaments pointing at each other is a sustainable way to live,” Ek continued. “If everyone just decided to resolve conflict with diplomacy or support for democratic developments and human rights, I’m pretty sure we’d see far less conflict in the world.”

H/T TheLocal.se

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How Jessica Hopper Is Changing The Future For Women Writers

Tue, 2015-05-12 07:59






Jessica Hopper named her second book The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic knowing it wasn't really accurate. As she mentions in the introduction, there had been Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia in 1969, Caroline Coon's The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion in 1988 and Rock She Wrote in 1995.

But Hopper, a legendary Chicago-based music critic, music editor of Tavi Gevinson's Rookie Magazine and editor of the Pitchfork Review, has put together a game-changing collection of writing. Republishing her best work, which includes a horrifying interview with Jim DeRogatis, the only reporter who investigated R. Kelly's sexual assault allegations at length; an essay on the complicated gendering of emo music; a takedown of Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz"; a reflection on being a teenage girl trying to impress boys with your knowledge of grunge music; and dozens of other essays, interviews blog posts and reported features; Hopper has created a bible for aspiring writers, not just music critics.

Hopper's feminism has always been an important part of her relationship with music, and through her work, she's become one of the leading advocates for other female writers on the Internet. She regularly solicits pitches and shines spotlights on younger writers' work. "This title is not meant to erase history but rather mark a path," she wrote in her book's introduction. "This book is dedicated to those that came before, those that should of been first, and all the ones that will come after." It's a sentiment that easily sums up her take on music and mentorship, too.

Below, Hopper talks about finding your professional cheerleading squad, gender politics in music, and saying "I just can't" to Chris Brown.

When you were editing some of the stories from when you were younger, did it feel like you were editing yourself or a completely different person?

My mom, who is an editor, who’s been an editor for her entire life, gave me advice. I complained to her about how tough it was and she basically said, "Approach your teenage self like you would one of the girls you edited at Rookie." And I immediately was able to drop that realm of my shame-y judgement toward myself, toward my life, toward whatever baggage I had and treat it in a strict, but loving way. It completely changed my ability to reckon with the book.

In the acknowledgements, you thank so many Rookie writers. There’s something so special about thanking people so openly without asking for anything in return. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say mentorship is a big part of what you do. When and how did that become something that you knew you wanted to do?

I couldn’t have written without that sort of cohort of Rookie writers, contributors and editors, and other editors and my sister and Tavi [Gevinson]. It was really like having a cheerleading team on the sidelines at all times. Some of those people are published authors themselves and could give me really concrete stuff and somebody else could be just someone who texts me like, “Fuck yes. You can do this.” It meant exactly the same, whether they were in high school or whether it was Emma Straub, who has a bestseller.

In my mind, I was always writing this book for other younger writers like Hazel Cills or writers I work with at The Pitch, who are 22 years old and are as brilliant as they come. I think only maybe in the last two or three years when I was working at Rookie and I started to feel that elder stateswoman vibe, where it was like, "Oh, I guess I do have some words of encouragement. I do have some experience I can offer."



Part of my whole thing as a writer and as someone who sometimes gets offered special opportunities is that I’ve always tried to open the doors that were opened for me to people who are younger, in part because sometimes people did do that for me, but lots of times that didn’t necessarily happen to me. There’s this sort of mythology in music and music criticism -- the myth of the first or the only, that there can only be one successful woman who can have her name out there. The [book] title kind of speaks to that. I want there to be like 3,000 of us, not 150 loosely affiliated woman. I want it to be a whole cohort, a gang. In the last two years when a lot of doors and opportunities have opened for me, I’m really quick to usher in all the girl geniuses that I’m friends with.

Being the token is sometimes incredibly lonely work. I want to help raise up work and women and ideas that inspire me and got me to where I am, as well as create opportunities for all these people who race past us because their ideas and their ambition is bigger than mine ever was. And mine was pretty fucking big.

As I was reading this book, I wished I had found some of these articles when I was younger. I read your emo essay, "Emo: Where The Girls Aren't" and thought, "This would have meant so much to me 10 years ago." I grew up in the Long Island emo scene, going to shows feeling like I was there to watch boys. I didn't feel like I could see myself in that music until I found bands like Bikini Kill much later, which you also discussed. I’m not an adolescent anymore, but reading these kinds of stories is still powerful. It still makes me really think about being a teenager and having that young, complicated relationship with music we may not fully understand.

It’s funny you say that about the emo essay. The other day, I was talking to Meredith Graves from Perfect Pussy and she was like, "I read this essay so long ago on the Internet and I had no idea you wrote it!" I was like, at least it made it out there somewhere in the LiveJournal/Tumblr/re-share world. It was from a magazine that’s long out of print and never even had a digital version.

When I wrote that [...] the very initial reaction that people had was, by the way, entirely gendered. I got mail for literally years, people writing actual letters talking about how wrong I had gotten it or how they had cried reading that piece. It doesn’t surprise me that that piece has resonance because of the ways that scenes and music and shows are very gendered experiences still.

I was at a Taking Back Sunday concert a couple weeks ago and when I was little, they were like my favorite band. But I was standing in the back and I had such a visceral reaction, like, "I can’t be here. This doesn’t make sense to me anymore." When I was re-reading your interview with Jim DeRogatis, it reminded me of the theme you bring up a lot: what will I and will I not compromise for the sake of something that may sound good to me. That really spoke to me very recently and I’m starting to think about this so much more.

It’s complicated. It’s hard to sometimes make pop or punk or hardcore or techno conform to do the moral gymnastics we need it to if we’re going to keep listening, and keep going to those shows.

How do you reconcile that? Would you go to a show of a totally misogynistic band?

I don’t have that kind of time in my life and I never have. I love plenty of artists that are "problematic." Some of my faves are problematic, but music for me has always been personal since I got into punk rock. Part of that was the politics of it, in the way that I found myself in it and the world that it opened up to me, the vocabulary it gave me, the sense of self it helped give me, the sense of power, the sense of community. I take it far too seriously to ever be able to go, “I just like how this sounds and I don’t care about any of the other qualifying aspects around it.”

You listen to the Nicki [Minaj] record, that song called "Only." I like Drake. I love eras of [Lil] Wayne. We can say, "Oh, this Chris Brown part sounds good." But I was like, “Ah. No. I can’t do this.” Because what they’re saying in this verse about Nicki is just so disrespectful. Then Chris Brown is here. Literally, when I think of Chris Brown I think of him on Larry King and him being giving passes, really sad facts about his own life. This is too much. I can’t unpack Chris Brown enough in a way that feels okay for me to dive into a Chris Brown record, like, “This my shit.” I just can’t.

We have so many choices -- who we listen to, how we listen, how we purchase, whether we pay for it, whether we steal it, whatever. This is sort of one more hurdle that it has to clear sometimes. Is this how I want to participate? Do I want to give this space? Do I want to let this person in my brain or do I want to just turn on a different radio station?

I sometimes forget that we can change the channel, or listen to to something else.

This is the gift of the modern age, the options. There’s plenty of things out there in the world that are just naturally going to fuck us up if we give it half a mind, and sometimes it’s good if we let things disturb us a little and we try to figure out why. But that said, I’m never going to go to an R. Kelly show.

The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic is available to purchase on May 12.



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Obama Presidential Library Will Be Built On Chicago's South Side

Tue, 2015-05-12 05:13

CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama has decided to build his presidential library on the South Side of Chicago, where his political career began.


In a news release, the Barack Obama Foundation announced early Tuesday that the library would be erected on park land that was proposed for the site by the University of Chicago. The site was selected over bids made by Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.


"With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago." Obama said in a video accompanying the release. "All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago. That's where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service. That's where I met my wife. That's where my children were born."


The decision was hardly a surprise. The University of Chicago's bid was long considered a front-runner, and people with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press and other media nearly two weeks ago that it was the winner.


Both the president and first lady once worked at the university, and they still maintain a house near campus. Obama taught constitutional law and worked as a community organizer on the South Side. First lady Michelle Obama is a Chicago native and worked as an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center.


"Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in Chicago. I consider myself a South Sider," Michelle Obama said.


In recent weeks, city officials were forced to take extra steps to reassure foundation officials after they expressed concerns the city had not secured public park land that would be used as part of the University of Chicago bid. The City Council passed an ordinance to allow transfer of the land, and state lawmakers passed a bill reinforcing the city's right to use the park land for the Obama library as well as Star Wars creator George Lucas' proposed lakefront museum.


"Over the past months, the city has come together to bring the library to its rightful place in Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the release. The foundation said it will open offices on Chicago's South Side by the end of the year.


One remaining question is how the foundation will select between two properties near campus, Washington Park or Jackson Park, both of which are potential sites under the university plan.


Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt, a friend of Obama, and Emanuel are scheduled to appear at a news conference about the library on Tuesday afternoon.


The news release said the University of Chicago's "has pledged to make resources and infrastructure available to the foundation in the near term for its planning and development work."


Meanwhile, the foundation said it plans to collaborate with each of the other three finalists. It will pursue a long-term presence at Columbia University, work with the state of Hawaii to establish a presence in Honolulu and will also collaborate with the University of Illinois-Chicago.


___


Online: http://www.barackobamafoundation.org/

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We Made A Commencement Bingo Card To Track All The Clichés You'll Hear

Mon, 2015-05-11 22:01
"As we go forth" into graduation season, let's take a moment to acknowledge that your commencement speaker is not being original when they announce "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Perhaps Ira Glass said it best during his speech at Goucher College in 2012 when he declared them a "doomed form" in a commencement address of his own. "Commencement speakers give stock advice which is then promptly ignored," Glass said. Stock, indeed.

We created a bingo card you can use to track all of the clichés you are bound to hear or encounter while going through your commencement and subsequent graduation festivities. Many of these tropes are based on what you'll hear during your commencement speeches. Others are things that'll happen later on at the graduation party, like getting a copy of "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. (It's a great book, but we're just saying "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" could work too.)

We're not totally against each one of these -- you really should pursue your passion and, if it's actually funny, pulling some sort of stunt on stage is a nice way to spice up the ceremony. But let's see how many of these you can spot during your commencement.


Graphic by Tiara Chiaramonte

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Here's What It Would Look Like If Inspirational Quotes Were Honest, Vol. 3

Mon, 2015-05-11 16:40
You're inspiring me to death!

There is such a thing as too many inspirational quotes. We're talking about the scores of quote photos that your most annoying Facebook and Instagram friends incessantly post. At some point, you have to stop being inspired and go out and do that thing you're inspired to do, right?

That being said, we're not sure they're all that effective anyway. If these quotes were being more honest, people would probably hesitate to share them as much. And we're all for that.*



*Except for these. Definitely share the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of these.

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Kanye West Receives Honorary Doctorate From School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago

Mon, 2015-05-11 16:00
Kanye West might be a college dropout, but now he has an advanced degree.

The rapper received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Monday for his "transformative, genre-defying work." In his acceptance speech, he described what the honor means to him.

"This honor is gonna make your lives easier," he said. "Two reasons: You don't have to defend me as much and I'm going to make all of our lives easier. And it's these Floyd Mayweather belts that are needed to prove what I've been saying my entire life. Whether it's the cosign of Paul McCartney grabbing me and saying, 'It's okay he doesn't bite white people.' Or The New York Times cover. Or the Time 'Most Influential' cover. And now, a doctorate at the Art Institute of Chicago."

"When I was giving a lecture at Oxford," he continued, "I brought up this school because when I went on that mission to create in other spaces -- apparel, film, performance -- it would have been easier if I could have said I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago."

Lisa Wainwright, dean of faculty and vice president of academic administration at SAIC, told the Los Angeles Times that it had decided to give West the honorary degree after he publicly mentioned the school.

“I read it and thought, ‘Wow, this is a fantastic moment.’ Here is this major figure in the cultural landscape promoting art school, this guy from Chicago saying art school is cool. So we thought, ‘This man deserves an honorary doctorate from us!’ He should have gone here."

Kim Kardashian, who is currently in Brazil on business, commemorated her husband's milestone with an Instagram post.

Dr. Kanye West!!!!!!! I'm so proud of you baby & I know your mom would be so proud too!!!!

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 11, 2015 at 1:18pm PDT






West attended Chicago's American Academy of Art for one semester on a partial scholarship before transferring to Chicago State University, where his mother, Donda West, was head of the English Department, according to Rolling Stone. After one semester there, he dropped out to pursue his music career. And the rest is history.

Listen to West's acceptance speech:

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Chris Rock: I Won't Be Alive To See Cops Stop Killing Black Kids

Mon, 2015-05-11 15:44
In support of the UK premiere of his flick, “Top Five,” comedian-actor Chris Rock conducted an interview with The Guardian, in which he shared his thoughts on everything from Hollywood’s ongoing diversity issues to Barack Obama’s presidency and police violence against black men in America.

During the interview Rock, who was pulled over by police on three separate occasions over the span of seven weeks, went on to reveal his feelings on America's string of fatal police encounters.

It’s not that it’s gotten worse, it’s just that it’s part of the 24-hour news cycle. What’s weird is that it never happens to white kids. There’s no evidence that white youngsters are any less belligerent, you know? We can go to any Wall Street bar and they are way bigger assholes than in any other black bar. But will I see cops stop shooting black kids in my lifetime? Probably not.






More Notable/Quotables:
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More Proof That A Disney Princess-'Mean Girls' Film Needs To Happen

Mon, 2015-05-11 14:54
"God, Ariel!"

We've seen a Disney princesses meets "Mean Girls" parody before, but this one is especially funny and effective (and with custom GIFs)!

With all the remakes and crossovers and reboots happening in entertainment these days, it's only a matter of time before Disney execs sit down with Paramount execs and realize that they have brand hybrid gold on their white-gloved four-fingered hands.

Oh well, until then, let's keep enjoying the best of the fan-made versions.















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Illinois Politicians React To The Supreme Court Pension Ruling

Mon, 2015-05-11 14:36
The Illinois Supreme Court delivered their unanimous decision May 8: Illinois' pension reform law, signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn in December 2013, is unconstitutional and cannot stand. Illinois politicians and organizations began to respond right away, some more pleased with the decision than others.

From Governor Bruce Rauner's spokesman Lance Trover:

The Supreme Court's decision confirms that benefits earned cannot be reduced. That's fair and right, and why the governor long maintained that SB 1 is unconstitutional. What is now clear is that a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution.

From Senate President John Cullerton:

From the beginning of our pension reform debates, I expressed concern about the constitutionality of the plan that we ultimately advanced as a test case for the court. Today, the Illinois Supreme Court declared that regardless of political considerations or fiscal circumstances, state leaders cannot renege on pension obligations. This ruling is a victory for retirees, public employees and everyone who respects the plain language of our Constitution.

That victory, however, should be balanced against the grave financial realities we will continue to face without true reforms. If there are to be any lasting savings in pension reform, we must face this reality within the confines of the Pension Clause. I stand ready to work with all parties to advance a real solution that adheres to the Illinois Constitution.

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat from Northbrook, said:

Our goal from the beginning of our work on pension reform has been to strike a very careful, very important balance between protecting the hard-earned investments of state workers and retirees and the equally important investments of all taxpayers in education, human and social services, health care and other vital state priorities. In its ruling today, the Supreme Court struck down not only the law but the core of that balance. Now our already dire pension problem will get that much worse and our options in striking that balance are limited. Our path forward from here is now much more difficult, and every direction will be more painful than the balance we struck in Senate Bill 1.

From Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:

Illinois has the nation's worst-funded pension system and the biggest pension deficit of any state. Nearly a quarter of our budget goes directly to pensions or to pay off past loans used to cover short-term pension costs.

I am committed to working with everyone to find a solution that adheres to the Constitution. We must work together in bipartisan cooperation with Governor Rauner - who has demonstrated his commitment to tackle the most difficult problems facing Illinois.

Check out Reboot Illinois to see more reactions from other Illinois politicians, including from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Rep. Tom Morrison, as well as Illinois civic organizations.

Sign up for our daily email to stay up to date with Illinois politics.

NEXT ARTICLE: 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Illinois in 2015

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Amy Schumer's Beer Commercial Reveals The Truth Behind ALL Beer Commercials

Mon, 2015-05-11 14:09
At long last guys, there's a beer you can have sex with.

Amy Schumer has been on a roll lately, and that continues with this beer commercial parody, which raises some solid points. Mainly, guys in these commercials seem to be way more interested in the beer than the girl. Doesn't seem very accurate based on, you know, ALL OBSERVABLE REALITY? Anyway ...

New episodes of "Inside Amy Schumer" air Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. EST on Comedy Central.

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Supreme Court tells Illinois it's on the hook for pension payments

Mon, 2015-05-11 13:18
The Illinois Supreme Court's pension reform decision Friday runs 15,000 words, but its message to state government can be summed up in two: Pay up.

In their unanimous ruling, the seven justices told the state there is nothing tricky about the Illinois Constitution's pension protection clause: "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."

And, they said, there's a reason why that clause exists and why its language is so simple: To prevent the state from doing exactly what it tried to do with the 2013 pension reform package.

For those who had hoped the state would be able to trim its $111 billion unfunded pension liability, this was the end of the line. The bill is due in full.

Understandably, retirees and current employees enrolled in the five state pension systems greeted the decision as a victory. And for them, it is. They'll collect every cent promised them under current terms and, upon retirement, will see their pensions grow by 3 percent every year, compounded annually. That was the deal they made when they signed up and they upheld their end of the deal faithfully.

Really, though, there are no winners here.

This year, just shy of 20 cents of every dollar in state taxes you pay goes toward pensions. That amount will continue to grow.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

The court's ruling that the 2013 pension law is unconstitutional in Illinois was arrived at unanimously, by all seven justices. Read the full opinion, written by Justice Lloyd Karameier, here:



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

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Guy Pretends To Work At Whole Foods, And It's Very Whole Foods-y

Mon, 2015-05-11 12:56
"Harvested by 100 percent grass-fed Malaysian children."

We all know there are stereotypes about shopping at Whole Foods. However true, they exist. With that in mind, Elite Daily sent actor and comedian Tyler Fischer to a Whole Foods to pretend to work there.

Were you looking for fruit harvested by free range children, or maybe olive oil produced exclusively by lesbian couples in northern Maine? Well, then Tyler Fischer's got the Whole Food's product you are looking for!

NOTE: HuffPost Comedy does not endorse Whole Foods one way or another. Shop there. Don't shop there. We don't care. We'll be fine right here with our soylent green, which we've been told is very nutritious and cost efficient.

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-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Supreme Court tells Illinois it's on the hook for pension payments

Mon, 2015-05-11 12:40
The Illinois Supreme Court's pension reform decision Friday runs 15,000 words, but its message to state government can be summed up in two: Pay up.

In their unanimous ruling, the seven justices told the state there is nothing tricky about the Illinois Constitution's pension protection clause: "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."

And, they said, there's a reason why that clause exists and why its language is so simple: To prevent the state from doing exactly what it tried to do with the 2013 pension reform package.

For those who had hoped the state would be able to trim its $111 billion unfunded pension liability, this was the end of the line. The bill is due in full.

Understandably, retirees and current employees enrolled in the five state pension systems greeted the decision as a victory. And for them, it is. They'll collect every cent promised them under current terms and, upon retirement, will see their pensions grow by 3 percent every year, compounded annually. That was the deal they made when they signed up and they upheld their end of the deal faithfully.

Really, though, there are no winners here.

This year, just shy of 20 cents of every dollar in state taxes you pay goes toward pensions. That amount will continue to grow.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.

The court's ruling that the 2013 pension law is unconstitutional in Illinois was arrived at unanimously, by all seven justices. Read the full opinion, written by Justice Lloyd Karameier, here:



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

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Watch These Teens React To '90s Handheld Video Games

Mon, 2015-05-11 12:26
Stop beeping at me!

Back in the 1990s, tons of handheld games were made on the cheap to capitalize on popular TV, movie and video game franchises. More thought was put into the marketing than the actual gameplay, though.

What happens when a group of teens play handheld video games from the '90s? Well, you'd be surprised at how engaging some of the games are, but mostly they're just frustrating, as is evident in the video above.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

The New Face of Chinese Dining in the United States

Mon, 2015-05-11 12:24
by David R. Chan, Chinese Food Columnist for the Menuism Chinese Food Blog



For 160 years, Chinese food in the United States was molded by local Chinatowns and Chinese-American communities. In restaurants serving authentic food to the local Chinese-American clientele and non-Chinese wanting to experience true Chinese cuisine, the food was prepared by immigrants and their progeny with established roots in the United States. While many of the earliest Chinese immigrants arrived as sojourners, intending to return home to China after a relatively brief period of time in America, most stayed, and as a group became a continuous part of the American fabric.

But in the past five years or so, Chinese dining in the United States has been impacted on an accelerating basis by Chinese nationals who are only transitorily in the United States. I have noted this effect briefly in previous articles, but this is a significant trend in Chinese dining requiring further exploration, as the Chinese food we are eating here in the United States is being affected as we speak.

As previously discussed, many tourists from China are afflicted with the "Chinese stomach," or the preference of any quality of Chinese food in favor of even the best host country food. This certainly is not a new phenomenon; even thirty years ago I would be dining at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles's Chinatown when in marched a busload of Chinese tourists who took scarcely more than a half hour to come in, eat their meal, and leave. This scene repeated many times at some of my not-so-favorite Chinese restaurants too, demonstrating the "any port in a storm" mentality of these travelers.

While my Chinese stomach article noted a couple of Chinese restaurants operated exclusively for tourists, these were isolated instances in geographically remote locations. More typically, restaurants serving authentic Chinese food in the United States have been operated to serve the resident Chinese community, and were therefore always located in and near Chinese population centers. For example, in the Los Angeles area most authentic Chinese restaurants are concentrated in the San Gabriel Valley and a few other neighborhoods, with wide swaths of the metropolitan area devoid of good Chinese food.



But now, Chinese tourists have spoken up and have begun to make an indelible mark on Chinese dining in the United States. This conspicuous change is attributable to the new mix of wealthy Chinese tourists, coming from familiar locations like Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, or Beijing, but also increasingly from the interior provinces of mainland China. The first indication that something was afoot? Upscale shopping centers in the Los Angeles area began to cater to this class of tourist, with each designer store hiring at least one Chinese employee. At the trendy South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, perhaps the top shopping destination in the Los Angeles area for Chinese tourists, visitors complained loudly about the lack of Chinese food options. Because these tourists were choosing to dine off-premises, South Coast Plaza acted quickly, landing in 2014 a rare US branch of the famous Din Tai Fung dumpling chain. Ironically, to make way for Din Tai Fung, McDonald's was booted out of the mall. Likewise, another Din Tai Fung location opened in 2014 in the upscale Americana in Glendale. Neither Costa Mesa nor Glendale had any authentic Chinese restaurants within their city limits prior to the arrival of Din Tai Fung, and now each city has one of the best.

The Chinese tourist influence on Chinese restaurants has also hit me personally. Living between the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory (a Chinese food wasteland), the closest Chinese restaurant was previously a horrid Americanized eatery down the hill from the observatory. But with the recent busloads of Chinese tourists, the restaurant began serving authentic Sichuan-style food in addition to its Americanized fare. Meanwhile, nearby Universal Studios keeps its Chinese tourists in the park by offering Chinese food options at park restaurants. While Los Angeles is in front of the curve as it is one of the top destinations for tourists from mainland China, rest assured that the effect is rolling across the country. CBS News reported on the influx of Chinese tourists into Bar Harbor, Maine, and how local restaurants are producing Chinese language menus. One of them, China Joy, is doing quite well these days.

But Chinese tourists were not the first Chinese passing through the United States to impact Chinese dining in this country. In my recent article on authentic Chinese food in college towns, I mentioned how in the past five years college students from mainland China, particularly from Sichuan and other interior provinces, have triggered the introduction of authentic Chinese restaurants in college towns that had never before seen authentic Chinese food. These Chinese university students differ from their college brethren from Hong Kong and Taiwan in one significant respect. In previous decades, a good portion of overseas Chinese students came to study in the United States with the intention of staying here after completing their studies. In contrast, today's mainland Chinese students generally plan to return to China upon graduation. Indeed, many of them are attending school on Chinese government scholarships that require their return. So from Ames, Iowa and Charlottesville, Virginia to East Lansing, Michigan, communities are getting a taste of authentic Chinese food thanks to the new breed of international Chinese students who will soon be heading home.



And indeed, the impact of Chinese temporarily in the United States extends beyond tourist stops and universities. In the downtown area of Los Angeles, which includes the heavily Cantonese Chinatown area, there is exactly one place to find Sichuan-style food: Cutting Board Deli, a sandwich shop located in the Los Angeles World Trade Center, a moribund near ghost town of a facility frequented only by international businessmen and workers at nearby skyscrapers who use the center's economical parking garage. Still, there are enough Chinese businessmen passing through, Chinese tourists staying at the Chinese-owned hotel across the street, and Chinese students at a boarding high school located within the hotel, to give downtown Los Angeles its first taste of Sichuan food, which you order from a separate window at the restaurant.

So who knows where the next unexpected outpost for authentic Chinese food will be? We'll have to wait and see.

Related Links from the Menuism Chinese Food Blog:
Where's the Chinese Food in D.C.'s Chinatown?
The Road to Trying 6,000 Chinese Restaurants
No Reservations: Taking the Fun Out of Chinese Dining

David R. Chan is a third-generation American who has eaten at 6,297 Chinese restaurants and counting. He maintains a spreadsheet of each of his culinary conquests -- a document he began in the early 90s, when he bought his first home computer. "When I entered the workforce in the 1970s, that coincided with the rise of what we think of as authentic Chinese food in North America," Chan told the LA Weekly Squid Ink blog. "As such, my goal was to try every authentic Chinese restaurant in the Los Angeles area at least once." He has extended his list to New York, San Francisco, and thousands of restaurants beyond. Still, Chan admits, he can't use chopsticks.

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22 Fraternity Brothers Convicted Of Misdemeanors In Hazing Death

Mon, 2015-05-11 11:32
In what authorities called the largest hazing prosecution in the country's history, 22 men were convicted of misdemeanors Friday in the 2012 alcohol-related death of Northern Illinois University freshman and Palatine native David Bogenberger.

Five former officers of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity -- where the 19-year-old Palatine High School graduate was a pledge -- pleaded guilty to reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, as part of negotiated agreements. James Harvey, 23, of Northfield; Alexander Jandick, 23, of Naperville; Steven Libert, 23, of Naperville; Patrick Merrill, 22, of Boston, Mass.; and Omar Salameh, 24, of Burbank, were sentenced to 24 months' conditional discharge, a type of probation. DeKalb County Judge Thomas Doherty also ordered each of them to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

David's mother, Ruth Bogenberger, dabbed at her eyes during the hearing. David's father, Gary Bogenberger, remained stoic until it was time for his victim impact statement, when he broke down in tears, shielding his eyes.

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A 'Beaches' Musical Is Here To Make Everyone's BFF Cry Her Eyes Out

Mon, 2015-05-11 09:51
NEW YORK (AP) — Chicagoans, get out your hankies — a stage musical of "Beaches" is coming.

The show, based on Iris Rainer Dart's 1985 novel about two best girlfriends, will begin previews in June at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. It made its world premiere last year at Virginia's Signature Theatre. The film version of "Beaches," directed by Garry Marshall and released in 1988, starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as women whose friendship is tested by a love triangle, failed marriages, single parenthood and a fatal illness. It featured the song "The Wind Beneath My Wings."

The stage version is written by Dart and Thom Thomas, with music by David Austin and lyrics by Dart. Eric Schaeffer will direct. Previews start June 24. If all goes well, producers are eying a Broadway run.

The latest version of the musical stars Shoshana Bean and Whitney Bashor. Bean's Broadway credits include "Hairspray" and "Wicked." Bashor was in the musical "Bridges of Madison County" and on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

Dart's first foray on Broadway — "The People in the Picture," based on her Jewish European forebears — starred Donna Murphy but got mixed reviews in 2011.

The "Beaches" musical will be choreographed by Lorin Latarro, have scenic design by Derek McLane, lighting design by Howell Binkley, costume design by Alejo Vietti and sound design by Kai Harada.

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Online: http://www.drurylane.com

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