Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Three Dems fear politics of taxes ]]> Lead story image

Who gets it done first? Who will pay? Those are the big questions for Pat Quinn, Toni Preckwinkle and Rahm Emanuel as they converge on solutions to our pension crisis — and how to pay for it. Illinois politicians have long been a national butt of jokes about corruption, incompetence and greed. When it comes to pension reform, however, I give this unlikely trio kudos for stepping up and taking the heat. We must fix our broken system, meet the obligations we can, and modify the ones we can’t. Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly pushed through pension … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:17:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Aldermen targeted by progressives ]]> Lead story image

It’s April, spring is in the air, and hope springs eternal. Every spring comes two, perennial hopes, hopes Chicago knows best. One: A wish and a prayer, that this is the year, for my beloved Chicago Cubs. Back to that later. The other: A hope harbored by the city’s ever-present, ever-political dreamers. Call them reformers, progressives, change makers, discontents. Whatever you call them, they hope for change in City Hall. They are the people of Barack Obama, Carol Moseley Braun, Harold Washington, two men named Jesse Jackson. Over 30 years, they have inspired, promised, fulfilled, forgotten and revived hope, over … ]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 02:17:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Missing plane lesson: Life is cheap ]]> Lead story image

Life is cheap. Even 239 lives. For four weeks, the world has been transfixed by the horrific disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370. The mystery deepens daily, the search increasingly desperate. As the stakes grow, nations around the world have responded with aid and resources, some in unprecedented ways. Last week the New York Times reported that “26 nations, many of them rivals, have opened up their territorial waters and airspace or have contributed closely held technology and surveillance data” to the harrowing search. That is as it should be. There were 239 passengers and crew aboard that state-of-the-art … ]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 02:18:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ City’s organizing community restless ]]> Lead story image

Rauner v. Quinn. It’s going to be a long, hot season. The class war of the Nov. 2 election campaign was declared primary night. The polls were barely closed when Gov. Pat Quinn slammed out of the box with stark TV ads attacking Bruce Rauner’s shifting position on the minimum wage. The venture capitalist got a fright. The 17 to 20 percent margin promised by fickle polls vanished. Crossover public union voters responded to Rauner’s fierce threats by voting Republican for the first time in their lives. The three GOP state legislators who voted for same-sex marriage held onto their … ]]> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 02:16:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vote Tuesday or blame yourself ]]> Lead story image

The primary election came up on a ride on the Halsted No. 8 bus the other day. The older gentleman lounging near the door nodded his military-style khaki cap. “Not many choices,” he said. “I might just write down Harold Washington.” The CTA bus driver weighed in. “I would like Carol Moseley Braun to come back,” she chirped. “She’s very qualified.” One politician long dead, one retired. I detect little interest in the actual competitors in Tuesday’s Illinois primary. Voters will nominate candidates for statewide constitutional offices, the U.S. House and Senate, the Illinois General Assembly, county offices and the … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:10:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Only 3 gay newcomers on ballot ]]> Lead story image

The earth has not opened up. Lake Michigan is still in place. And nary a peep from the pulpit. Last fall, the Illinois General Assembly approved the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, and Gov. Pat Quinn signed it into law. It provides same-sex couples the marriage rights that heterosexuals enjoy. There were dire predictions that if marriage equality came to Illinois, the world as we know it would vanish. Marriage equality opponents, led by the Catholic Church and African-American pastors, fervently promised that legislators who supported same-sex marriage would be targeted for defeat in the 2014 elections. Those threats … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 06:13:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Political upstart has powerful friends ]]> Lead story image

‘He’s remarkable. You have to meet him,” the political operative told me last summer. The caller was pushing a candidate in his first run for office. A young man who was raised by a hard-working single mother in gritty Austin on Chicago’s West Side, graduated from Fenwick High School, followed with a bachelor’s with honors from Princeton University, then on to the University of Chicago Law School. He’s now a litigation attorney with the powerhouse firm Jenner & Block. Back in Austin, he does pro bono work for the NAACP, mentors children in foster care, sits on several non-profit boards, … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 06:13:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big spotlight on down-ballot race ]]> Lead story image

Travis vs. Mitchell. It may be down-ballot, but it’s definitely marquee. The spotlight is hot and harsh on the contest for Chicago’s 26th District. Freshman State Rep. Christian Mitchell is facing a stiff and vocal challenge from Jay Travis in the March 18 Democratic primary. Both live in Bronzeville, in the heart of the district. Both have been community organizers. Both are poised, articulate and whip-smart. Yet, their differences have inspired deep-pocketed unions, business leaders and politicians to pile on the cash. The unions despise Mitchell for supporting Senate Bill 1, the pension-reform bill approved by the Illinois General Assembly … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 06:13:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ LGBTs taking nothing for granted ]]> Lead story image

History is a curious thing. We want to honor our history, but to preserve it, we must make it stick. Illinois’ gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender community celebrated history Feb. 8 at the annual Equality Illinois gala. About 1,400 LGBTs and supporters packed the Hilton and Towers ballroom, partying into the night to venerate the historic passage of the religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Signed into law Nov. 20, the measure legalized same-sex marriage. It was a record turnout for Equality Illinois, the state’s largest civil rights organization. The theme: Let’s celebrate our victories, then make sure they stick. … ]]> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 06:14:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Biden bid contingent on Hillary ]]> Lead story image

‘There may be reasons I don’t run, but there’s no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run.” There you have it. The august words of Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. to CNN last week, when asked about his presidential prospects. Biden has been running, or thinking about running for president, for most of his adult life. You’d think he could be a bit more articulate. Still, even his mangled syntax makes news. Even more than two years out, “Who will run in 2016?” is the favorite parlor game of the political classes in Washington, D.C., and … ]]> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 06:10:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Clang, clang, clang, we need trolleys ]]> Lead story image

LAURA WASHINGTON: Chicago is my hometown, but as Tony Bennett croons, San Francisco has my heart. As I meditated to the tingling trolley car bells, I wondered how I might squeeze San Fran into the roller bag and take it home. Or at least borrow some of what they do so well. ]]> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 06:12:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Progressives have just 1 option for a de Blasio-style triumph in Chicago ]]> Lead story image

It’s a tale of two cities. A tale of two movements, and two mayors: Rahm Emanuel and Bill de Blasio. Chicago and New York City reside in parallel universes. Their politics are overwhelmingly democratic, but moving in different directions. One left, one right. De Blasio was swept into office on a call to action from New York City’s progressives. Emanuel faces a progressive threat as he approaches a 2015 re-election bid. Emanuel is blowing up Chicago’s public education system. De Blasio wants universal pre-kindergarten in his schools. Emanuel is sticking his finger in the dike of tax increases, while de … ]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 06:15:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fat Nag rooting for Chris Christie ]]> Lead story image

If he can pull it off, Chris Christie is presidential material, says the Fat Nag. I’m not talking about overcoming the rolling investigations, allegations and predictions emerging from the twin “BridgeGate” and “SandyGate” scandals. Christie must get the fat out. In recent weeks, Christie has been a massive punching bag. The newly re-elected governor of New Jersey has been pummeled with nasty media coverage and burgeoning federal and state investigations over the conduct of his staff and allegations that he misused Hurricane Sandy funds. Critics charge he’s a vengeful, recklessly ambitious bully. It could deep-six his expected 2016 presidential bid. … ]]> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 06:14:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Economy may be stuck in slow lane for long run ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON — In the 4½ years since the Great Recession ended, millions of Americans who have gone without jobs or raises have found themselves wondering something about the economic recovery: Is this as good as it gets? It increasingly looks that way. Two straight weak job reports have raised doubts about economists’ predictions of breakout growth in 2014. The global economy is showing signs of slowing — again. Manufacturing has slumped. Fewer people are signing contracts to buy homes. Global stock markets have sunk as anxiety has gripped developing nations. Some long-term trends are equally dispiriting. The Congressional Budget Office … ]]> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 17:19:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rauner: the Romney of 2014? ]]> Lead story image

Americans ogle, admire and envy the rich and successful. They don’t necessarily elect them. Ask Mitt Romney. Bruce Rauner could be the Romney of 2014. A major factor in Romney’s loss of the 2012 presidential election was a video that showed him writing off 47 percent of American voters as lacking personal responsibility. Last week, Rauner, a Republican contender in Illinois’ upcoming gubernatorial primary, tumbled into his own “47 percent” hole. News reports revealed that in the span of several months, Rauner has said he would knock Illinois’ minimum wage down by $1. And he said he would raise the … ]]> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 06:15:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ FACT CHECK: Less than meets eye in Obama speech ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama promised to clear red tape away from highway projects that actually are stalled because there’s no money for them, not because rules are in the way. He’s ordering a higher minimum wage for a sliver of the workforce, which affects no one now and not many later. Going it alone — without Congress making a law — just doesn’t go as far as Obama made it sound at times Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech. And when he talked about his health care law — a source of Obama misstatements in … ]]> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 21:53:36 -0500 <![CDATA[ GOP focuses on empowering Americans, not gov’t ]]> Lead story image

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Tuesday offered a kinder, gentler vision of Republicans who are determined to empower Americans, not the government, and close the gap “between where you are and where you want to be.” Tapped to deliver the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, McMorris Rodgers touched on the daily routines of average Americans that overshadow Washington, from kissing children goodnight to preparing for a doctor’s visit, and complained that Obama’s policies are making life harder. The highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress said the GOP believes “in a government that … ]]> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 21:53:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ African Americans 1st in new media ]]> Lead story image

In the digital world, black folks rule. We are all too familiar with the bad numbers for African Americans. We know the stats showing we suffer from perniciously persistent unemployment, poverty, crime and incarceration rates. Black Americans tip the scale on the prevalence of obesity and other deadly health maladies. For decades, we have been buried in an avalanche of negative trends. Now, a victorious statistic: African Americans are dominant users of social media sites. A new study by the Pew Research Center reports that 29 percent of African Americans tweet, compared to 16 percent among whites and Latinos, respectively. … ]]> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 06:14:17 -0500