CHICAGO - Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is among 100 mayors that signed onto a letter Friday thanking President Obama for continuing to protect immigrants that are living in their cities without appropriate legal documentation.
“As a nation, we are strongest when the safety we seek is supported by the values and freedoms we cherish,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement released from the "Cities for Action" coalition.
“We must stand up against practices that demonize someone based on their faith, race, background or sexual orientation, and instead promote tolerance and inclusion. The reversal of this discriminatory practice is an important step forward, and I want to thank the President for taking this action.”
BOURBONNAIS - Friday, the 58th Presidential Inauguration Committee announced that Olivet Nazarene University's Marching Tigers will be among those participating in the Trump/Pence Inauguration Parade on January 20, 2017.
CHICAGO - For Chicago area baseball fans that are also politically conservative, 2016 brought two celebrations within a week - the Chicago Cubs breaking a 100-year curse and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump breaking America's liberal eight-year curse.
Which one did you celebrate more: Trump or the Chicago Cubs?
DIXON - Like most Illinois lawmakers, State Rep Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) is proud of the 90th District he will represent in the upcoming 100th General Assembly.
Representing the part of the state in which the late President Ronald Reagan was born and spent much of his childhood, Demmer's office is initiating a photo contest of locations in the district that represent the 90th District's rich heritage.
SPRINGFIELD - Governor Bruce Rauner announced Friday the Administration has reached a collective bargaining agreement with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council representing Illinois Conservation Police Officers.
"Through fair and good faith negotiations, we were able to reach a compromise that continues to protect our state parks and other natural resources,” Rauner General Counsel Dennis Murashko said. “This new contract is fair to both state employees and taxpayers, and we look forward to continuing our partnership while working together to serve the citizens of Illinois.”
WASHINGTON - Thursday, President Obama ordered 35 Russian personnel out of the U.S. within 72 hours and shut down two Russian compounds located in Maryland and New York. He said in his statement that those actions, plus additional sanctions, were in response to Russia's "malicious cyber activity" and harassment of U.S. diplomats located in Moscow.
Statement from the White House in response to alleged Russian malicious cyber activity and U.S. diplomat harassment:
By John F. Di Leo -
On December 28, 2016, the outgoing Secretary of State of the outgoing Obama administration held a press conference. He spoke to the cameras for almost an hour and a half, hoping to wear down his opposition on one of the great political miscalculations of modern times.
The prior week, the Obama administration’s representative at the United Nations – Ambassador Samantha Power – engineered the passage of a remarkably anti-Israel resolution at the UN. The resolution condemns Israel for building housing units on its own land, and grants legal status (to the extent that the United Nations has such power, which of course is dubious) to the Palestinian Authority, a terrorist organization guilty of a decades-long crime wave on that very soil.
After several days of a constant barrage from all sides in the United States – including attacks from fellow Democrats, though these were primarily just for show – failed to show signs of letting up, Secretary John Kerry (D-Cervelo) took to the airwaves to justify the administration’s actions.
From Secretary of State John Kerry's speech Wednesday on Israel-Palestinian diplomatic status:
"...Today, there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea. They have a choice. They can choose to live together in one state or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality. If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both. And it won’t ever really be at peace.
"Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one state solution...”
Since when is bigotry the foundation for peace?
That's the question Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu answered earlier this year about the demands of the Palestinians in a two-minute video.
"Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd," he said. "It's time somebody say it. I just did."
WASHINGTON DC - As a result of Obamacare’s design, the law’s insurance exchanges are collapsing and many health insurance companies are pulling out of the market. That’s bad news for patients who now have fewer choices when it comes to picking a health care plan that’s best for them and their families, a press release from the U.S. House Committee on the Budget said Wednesday.
"This lack of competition is making health care more expensive and less available for too many Americans," the Committee said. "It’s time to repeal Obamacare, give patients more choices, and increase competition to make coverage more affordable."
Governor Rauner is serious about forcing serious reform in the state's workers' compensation program, and he makes that clear in an op-ed published in Crain's this am.
While he mentions his narrowing concerns about term limits, more jobs, lower property taxes, better schools and real pension reform, he hones in on the workers comp reform as his apparent hill to die on. The heart of his argument:
By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold -
If true, giving anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian rebels is an act of utter stupidity on the part of Obama. How long before these missiles find their way to ISIS, Al Qaeda, or any number of hostile groups to shoot down our planes and airliners?
The fact is, there is no daylight between the "friendly" rebels in Syria and these other groups, merely geography and opportunity.
When the Russians moved into Aleppo, they discovered mass graves of people tortured and executed, in all likelihood by the rebels. The area in question was held by the rebels for several years, and denied to the Syrian government and the Russians. Assyrian Christians were able to celebrate Christmas for the first time in many years, claiming they were prevented as rebels became increasingly Islamist in their rule.
By Mark Rhoads -
A favorite saying of the late State Senate President Cecil A. Partee when he presided over the Senate in Springfield was to talk about the irony of a majority working against its own interests. Partee said, "What goes around comes around." When national Democrats still held a majority in 2013, they voted to change U.S. Senate rules to end the filibuster option to prolong debate in certain circumstances.
They kept the filibuster option for a Supreme Court nomination but got rid of it for other lower judicial nominations. The means that the incoming Republican Administration will be able to nominate as many as 111 candidates to fill judicial vacancies and confirm the appeals court and lower court vacancies with only a simple majority of votes in the Senate instead of 60 percent. So when we consider a legacy for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) in future years, we might be able to thank him for out-smarting himself and clearing a path for many more conservative judges on federal benches around the country.
CHICAGO (AP) - Nearly 150 Illinois public school districts gave bonuses to teachers and administrators last school year.
The 144 districts represent 20 percent of all districts. Citing state data, about 3,100 people received a total of $5.5 million.
Proponents of the bonuses say it has become a common way to inspire educators to improve student achievement. But researchers say results are varied, and critics wonder whether it's a good use of tax dollars.
By Scott Reeder -
Gov. Bruce Rauner is loaded for bear.
We are two years out from the 2018 elections and he deposited $50 million into his own campaign coffers. Why so much, so soon?
He’s sending a message. Whatever Democrat considers taking him on will be attacked relentlessly.
In 2014, when Rauner was elected, he spent $65 million.
Rauner, an ultra-rich venture capitalist, has money to burn. And the person it will scorch is whatever Democrat takes him on.
Mike Madigan, who heads the Democratic Party and is about as popular statewide as tooth decay, is busy recruiting liberal gazillionaires to meet the challenge.
This infographic presents the United States Census Bureau data about state-by-state migration. The figures shown here reflect Census estimates of both domestic and international migration, which includes immigrants and U.S. citizens relocating from abroad. Estimates do not reflect the number of births and deaths.
Illinois suffered the steepest population decline in the nation in 2016. The state experienced a record loss of 114,000 residents to other states on net, and the population shrank by 37,500 people.
Now consider the permanent loss of the combined populations of Illinois’ 10 largest cities outside of Chicago: Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Springfield, Elgin, Waukegan, Champaign and Arlington Heights, along with Peoria. The loss of these 10 cities’ combined populations approximately equals Illinois’ net loss of population to other states since 2000. Illinois has lost some 1.22 million people, on net, over the past 16 years.
Who do you believe is the worst leader of all time?
The Atlantic asked the question in its latest issue and included two of the most recent Republican presidents on a list of 12 contenders for worst-ever leader: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Their names appear alongside some who you’d probably expect on such a list: Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, even the devil.
Were Reagan and Bush really “the worst leader of all time?” That’s the opinion of two of the five people The Atlantic invited to contribute.
By Valentina Humphrey -
Illegal immigration has been a heavily debated topic during the presidential debates with candidates from the Democratic Party trying to leverage support from ethnic minorities under one promise: to grant immigration benefits for those who have entered the country illegally.
Undocumented immigrants cross our borders every day. Detention facilities for those arrested at the borders are filled beyond capacity, and benefits such as healthcare, education, and housing, that should have been given to our citizens in need, are being diverted to assist millions of immigrants who have illegally crossed the borders over the years.
Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long.
It was very fulfilling to be able to share my thoughts on the events unfolding around us, and to receive feedback from readers across the country – even if it was impossible to answer them all.Being old-fashioned, I liked to know what the facts were before writing. That required not only a lot of research, it also required keeping up with what was being said in the media.
During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program – and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.
This made me decide to spend less time following politics and more time on my photography, adding more pictures to my website (www.tsowell.com).
Read more HERE
By Howard Foster -
Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago to continue to be “open” to all immigrants, legal or illegal. He says immigrants built this city in the 1800’s and are still owed our thanks.
This makes no sense. He’s right that a lot of immigrant labor built Chicago’s infrastructure and buildings when the nation had open borders. But today, this city is mostly a service sector regional hub. There is huge demand for highly skilled employees with backgrounds in finance and technology.
The demand for unskilled labor is easily met by the legal residents of the metropolitan area. In fact, the opposite of what the Mayor said is likely true. More unskilled immigrants will lower the wages of native Chicagoans. The days of massive public works projects are long gone. And the major construction projects in this city are of a high-caliber that demand particularized labor, tradesmen with skills.
NEW YORK - Donald Trump said he had "great respect" for Rod Blagojevich's tenacity during his run on the TV series "The Apprentice," although the former governor ended up with a 14-year prison sentence after Trump fired him on the show.
That could indicate that the now-President-elect Trump could be sensitive to Blagojevich's mercy pleadings to be released from prison after serving six years.
But for now, Blagojevich's plea is in the hands of President Barack Obama - a fellow Democrat that served in the U.S. Senate and was elected President when Blagojevich was Illinois' governor.
SPRINGFIELD - Two staffers that worked for former State Comptroller Leslie Munger and before her, the late Judy Baar-Topinka, landed on nice jobs in Governor Bruce Rauner's office just before the Christmas break.
Republican Munger's loss in November to Democrat Susana Mendoza prompted the expected staff shakeups.
Brad Hahn will now serve as Rauner's Chief of Communications and Phillip Rodriquez will be the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Engagement.
WASHINGTON, DC – Eight states and several faith-based organizations presented oral arguments in Texas federal court challenging an Obamacare regulation forcing all doctors and staff perform "gender re-assignment" surgeries and hormone treatments on patients, even children. The December 20, 2016, arguments focused on their request for a preliminary injunction. The Department of Health and Human Services intentionally refused any religious exemptions, despite dozens of requests and essentially is demanding faith-based organizations and religious people bow to LGBT demands.
This mandate forces doctors to break their Hippocratic Oath of "Do no harm" and demands doctors and staff actively participate in, and cause, something that deeply opposes their religious beliefs, the Liberty Counsel legal group argues.
NEW YORK - With President Barack Obama's direction, last Friday the United States departed from its long-held position of vetoing a United Nations resolution that condemned Israel's settlements. The action outraged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Prime Minister Netanyahu strongly condemned the United Nations resolution and expressed disappointment that the United States abandoned its previous support. Monday he said "Israel has national pride. We do not turn the other cheek."
He suggested over the weekend that Israel may consider pulling out of the U.N.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz called for the United States to suspend financial contributions to the international organization until it reverses its position on the matter.
Monday in Israel, the Prime Minister reconfirmed his frustration on his Facebook page:
SPRINGFIELD - A former Republican member of the State House was fired from his new job at the Department of Illinois Corrections after he was found groping women during a Christmas party earlier this month, the Chicago Sun Times reported exclusively last Friday.
By Mark Weyermuller -
Over the past few years, I have taken hundreds of photos of nativity scenes in the Chicago area. Many of these fun and creative displays perhaps show the true meaning of Christmas. I have shared these with friends and posted many on social media. I am known to take photos with politicians, celebrities, and good friends, but this is my favorite picture of the year with a live camel, which was part of an nativity church service. Can you see we are both smiling?
CICERO – When Amy Arend started at United Scrap Metal in Cicero after graduating from the University of Missouri, she had no idea what an exceptionally good fit her new job in manufacturing would be for her.
“United Scrap was everything I was looking for – a career in sales, selling something I am passionate about, that works to make the world a better place,” the 25- year-old told TMA News Bulletin.
On the surface, that may sound like a typical sales pitch, but under Amy’s heartfelt comments lurk contradictions that make her long term goals all the more stunning.
SPRINGFIELD - Bible colleges in Illinois say they should be allowed to grant religious degrees without government interfering in the content of their religious teaching or religious faculty members. A court ruling will have an impact on religious liberty in post-secondary education, as Illinois Review reported earlier this month.
Illinois Family Institute's Monte Larrick spoke with John Lauck of Lauck & Baker law firm, who is representing the colleges in the case:
The week after Christmas continues the season of miracles
By Robert Knight -
Holiday gift-buying is over, the presents are unwrapped or even returned, and not much happens in the news.
One can sit back and contemplate those moments in which the Christmas spirit overcomes worldly concerns, such as an impromptu sighting of a star on a dark night and wondering what it was like 2,000 years ago in Israel.
Or watching a baby smile, eliciting a mother's tender touch. Or seeing a new father's protective presence.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
FRANKFORT - Wednesday, a group of sixteen House Republican legislators called on the new State Comptroller Susana Mendoza to maintain the "No Budget, No Pay" policy set into motion by her predecessor Leslie Munger. Munger used the comptroller bill paying priority option to withhold state lawmaker paychecks until they passed a state budget.
Twelve State Representatives and four State Senators sent a letter to Comptroller Mendoza today urging her to defend “No Budget No Pay” in the face of a lawsuit filed by six House Democrat legislators on December 2 suing the Comptroller for delaying payment of their salaries.
Mike Madigan claims to have “overwhelming support” to be re-elected speaker of the Illinois House. Another two-year term would make Madigan the longest-serving House speaker in U.S. history. But most Illinoisans don't know that their state representative plays a role in electing Madigan as speaker.
By Mark Weyermuller -
Last Saturday, pro-life activists met to sing Christmas carols at a number of Chicago area abortion clinics. The event was promoted on Facebook as "Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling Day." It was sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League with this also being called the "Empty Manger." The group was lead by the league's president and founder Joe Scheidler.
The singing began at 9:00 a.m. at Family Planning Associates at 659 West Washington Street in the West Loop. According to their website, this clinic performs late term abortions, surgical abortions, and they offer the abortion pill.
"Peace in the Womb" caroling events took place in 66 cities in 28 states. This was the thirteenth year that the Pro-Life Action League has Christmas caroling outside of abortion clinics. There was very little main stream media coverage of this important event.
The clinic had 11 volunteers or employees out front in vests which read, "Pro Choice Clinic Escort." It was not clear if these are paid security people. Unlike other medical clinics, this one feels the need to make sure people are able to enter unobstructed. They explained the "buffer zone" to me which is a complicated state law of how many feet you are allowed to stand from the door. Sometimes pro-life advocates ask a potential patient to pray or accept some literature in the chance they may reconsider terminating the life of their unborn child.
For Jason Zenger, values and transparency are central to building a good business.
When he and his sister Lisa assumed leadership of ZENGER’S, INC almost three years ago, they continued transforming the hardware store their grandparents started in 1951 to a more specialized supplier for manufacturers.
“My grandparents lived behind and above the store here in Melrose Park, and when my dad and uncle took it over, they adapted to the needs of local companies and became an industrial supplier,” Zenger said in a recent interview with TMA’s News Bulletin.
By John F. Di Leo -
On Monday, December 19, the last shopping week before Christmas, an islamofascist terrorist (most likely a recently-arrived “refugee,” as over a million such have arrived in Germany from the middle east this year alone) hijacked a truck and charged through a Berlin Christmas market, killing at least a dozen innocent shoppers, injuring some fifty more… in exactly the way that ISIS has been ordering its pretend “lone wolves” to attack innocents.
As Europeans have watched their birthrate plummet, leaving the tax base for their generous pensions in doubt, they have opened their doors to unfettered immigration. First, we saw England’s open doors welcome in Pakistanis and Indians, and Germany’s open doors welcome Turks… then the procession became a flood, as Angela Merkel and her like have opened the floodgates to all so-called “refugees” from all over the middle east in recent years. Europe was a Christian continent; it is difficult indeed to honestly say that today.
This rush of third-worlders – not just third-worlders, but subscribers to the most barbaric subsets of islam - has brought a horrific crime wave to Europe. Rape, murder, honor killings, every other imaginable abuse, as well as terrorism. Obviously there are good people among these crowds too – statistics being what they are, there certainly must be. But the percentage of dangerous criminals is inordinately high, by design, as so many so-called refugees are young men of military age, directed by their clerics to function as a silent invasion force.
CHICAGO - Illinois lost 114,144 residents to other states from July 2015 to July 2016, causing Illinois to suffer more population loss than any other state in the nation, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed Tuesday morning.
The massive exodus to other states caused Illinois’ overall population to decline by 37,508 people, the U.S. Census reported.
CHICAGO - The move from Republican IL Comptroller Leslie Munger's office to incoming Democrat Susana Mendoza's people hasn't been smooth, especially after Mendoza told a reporter over the weekend "it did kind of feel like the place was looted,” rhetoric notched up on Monday.
Mendoza complained in a radio interview that her staff moved into nearly vacant state offices, with televisions and sofas gone and files, keys, and documents missing.
While Munger admitted to POLITICO ILLINOIS that televisions and sofas owned personally by employees were removed from the state office in Chicago, nothing owned by the state was removed, despite Mendoza's claims.
CHICAGO - The IL GOP isn't wasting any time taking on potential 2018 Democrat challengers to Governor Bruce Rauner. Tuesday they released a video comparing Chicagoan Chris Kennedy to other political family members, including his late uncles, John F. Kennedy, Edward Kennedy and his father, the late Bobby Kennedy.
The IL GOP features the potential candidate dismissing reporters' questions ...
By James M. Kushiner, Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James -
Our nation is deeply divided about what constitutes the right ordering of society. Everyone claims that they are seeking justice. All speak on behalf of rights. Many think they know what makes for "peace on earth, goodwill toward men."
Do human rights belong to each individual because each is made in the image of God? Or do rights stand on another basis? Douglas Farrow in Desiring a Better Country: Forays in Political Theology, cites the anxiety of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz looking at the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "I wonder at this phenomenon because, maybe, underneath there is an abyss. After all, those ideas have had their foundation in religion, and I am not over-optimistic as to the survival of religion in a scientific-technological civilization." Farrow asks, "In other words: can we have human rights without God?"
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner is lending aid to the workers of another major Illinois employer by signing into law Senate Bill 1941, legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefits for up to an additional 26 weeks to approximately 2,000 workers laid off from the Granite City Steel Mill in 2015.
Last month, Rauner worked with lawmakers to keep open two nuclear plants that Exelon had threatened to close next year.
“[Senate Bill 1941] will help the hard working families of the Metro East who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Governor Rauner. “While we are encouraged by the recent news that more than 200 jobs will return to the Granite City facility, we hope that by extending unemployment benefits we are able to help the other laid off workers bridge the gap until they are gainfully employed again. Our administration will continue to push to help the steel industry and other manufacturers create jobs through common sense reforms to grow jobs, lower property taxes, improve schools and enact term limits.”