Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Reeder: More accepted to U of I saying ‘no thanks’ ]]> Lead story image

More often than not, when students receive an admission letter from the University of Illinois, they opt to attend another university. That’s a sad state of affairs for Illinois’ flagship university. The U of I is a terrific school. My father graduated from its Urbana-Champaign campus 54 years ago with a degree in veterinary medicine, I received a master’s degree from its Springfield campus in 1988 (when it still was called Sangamon State), and my niece graduated this year from the U of I with a bachelor’s degree. So I value the university and want to see it succeed. But … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:12:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: The color of privilege, the color of doubt ]]> Lead story image

When I was pulled over by police many years ago on a remote stretch of Illinois 171 at 1 a.m., I was the same age as Michael Brown. Brown was the 18-year-old black teenager shot and killed Aug. 9 by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking weeks of street protests against Ferguson police. It was on another August night when my 21-year-old brother and I spent time at the Bluefront Lounge near Willow Springs, listening to our favorite country-and-western band. Later, I drove us home in my brother’s 1962 Chevrolet Impala with the convertible top down, while he sang … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:13:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Taxi firms’ clout may kill cab competition in Chicago ]]> Lead story image

Awhile back, I took a cab to Chicago’s Navy Pier and attempted to pay for my ride with a credit card. My effort was greeted with a torrent of obscenities. The driver didn’t want to take my card despite a placard of regulations in the cab that said he must do so. When I pointed out the stack of credit card carbons on his dashboard, he hollered even louder. It seems some drivers want the taxicab business to be strictly cash. In the last year or so, an alternative to cabs has arrived on the scene — ride-sharing services. Folks … ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:13:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Legislators need to override Quinn speed-limit veto ]]> Lead story image

The Illinois General Assembly in May passed Senate Bill 2015 by “veto-proof” majorities of 48-6 in the Senate and 111-4 in the House. The law would raise the speed limit on all Illinois tollways to 70 mph. But despite the overwhelming support for this bill, Gov. Pat Quinn recently vetoed it, citing safety concerns — even though the legislation merely clarifies the 2013 speed limit bill that Quinn did sign. The 2013 bill raised the speed limit on interstate highways in Illinois to 70 mph, except in certain metropolitan areas. What could be the true motive behind this symbolic but … ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:13:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Labor unions can bridge income gap ]]> Lead story image

Hard work has been my family’s religion, and our church the union hall. And Labor Day is our most sacred holiday of the year. It started when I was 11 and was offered my first job as a shoeshine boy at Link’s Barber Shop on 95th Street and California Avenue in Evergreen Park. Frank Link gave haircuts to all six McGrath boys. Every day, I would wave to him as I walked past the barber pole on the way home from school. One afternoon, Link stepped outside, a black comb in one hand, a lit cigarette in the other, to … ]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:50:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Harris v. Quinn: Is it setback or boost for labor? ]]> Lead story image

When the U.S. Supreme Court this summer weakened labor protections for about 26,000 home-care providers in Illinois, most analysts characterized the decision as a dire portent for unions representing low-wage workers. So here’s what happened next — the day after the ruling in Harris v. Quinn, those thousands of workers began earning the latest in a series of wage increases that the Service Employees International Union collectively bargained for on their behalf. Just like the wages they fought so hard to increase during the past 30 years — wages that were once an unconscionable $1 an hour — these home-care … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:11:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Parents deserve greater educational choice ]]> Lead story image

I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, home-schools his children. He explained the benefits that he believes his youngsters have derived from being taught at home — a customized curriculum, religious values instilled and extra time with parents. “One of the great things about home-schooling is that I haven’t been hassled by anyone in government over how we choose to educate our kids,” he said. Of course, home-schooling isn’t for everyone. But it is a wonderful option. There are other good choices out there, too — parochial schools, private secular schools, public schools, … ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:13:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rahman: History will give Obama credit he deserves ]]> Lead story image

The news media’s obsession with negative news seems to have reached an all-time high, with President Obama being the favorite target. While there was a time in the eyes of the media when this president could do no wrong, the same media is now writing his political obituary in the most unflattering terms. Obama’s Republican detractors have accused him of being “absent on the job,” ineffective and weak. They forget that their icon, Ronald Reagan, was the least “hands on” among recent presidents and that President Eisenhower played more golf in one year than Obama has played in the last … ]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:14:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Stephen Schlickman: Anti-ride-sharing bills threaten consumer choice ]]> Lead story image

If you’ve lived in Chicago for longer than a week, you have to shake your head when listening to the taxi industry’s arguments against ride-sharing. The cab companies contend (with a straight face, mind you) that they offer safe and secure rides and serve every neighborhood in the city. In other words, they’re meeting consumers’ rights and transportation needs. Ride-sharing services such as Lyft and UberX are popular in Chicago and in nearly 100 other cities across the nation for good reason. Available via the touch of a smartphone button, affordable and accessible day or night in neighborhoods typically underserved … ]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:13:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: Don’t make summer mistake — leaving teens alone ]]> Lead story image

Summer may be the ideal season for travel, but with it comes worry over leaving teenagers at home unsupervised. Our darling children, of course, would never have dreamed of having a wild party in our absence. So when Marianne and I had a chance to fly to San Francisco, we barely felt the need to articulate any rules. Days later, we arrived home to a clean house and no surprises. I joked that it smelled a little bit like cigarettes in the front room. Dad, they laughed, you’re smelling fumes from the neighbor’s lawn mower. They must cut their precious … ]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:17:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: More than the hog barn stinks at the Illinois State Fair ]]> Lead story image

Twenty years ago, state officials implemented reforms designed to make the Illinois State Fair break even. They failed. Big time. The fair has been as sure-fired a loser as a kid playing a carnival game. Well, maybe that’s not fair — every once in a while, a youngster actually wins. Not so with the fair. It’s a carnie’s dream: a loser that won’t quit. It and its southern cousin the DuQuoin State Fair, haven’t broke even once in the past two decades. State fair manager Amy Bliefnick told me she doesn’t know if it’s possible for the state fair to … ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 06:47:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Lower tax rates would keep U.S. corporations home ]]> Lead story image

I picked up my vacation photos at Walgreens the other day. And I didn’t hear any French, German or Italian spoken. How surprising. I’ve read that the huge drugstore chain is considering becoming a Swiss corporation. I’ll admit the thought of a company that essentially is an American icon becoming a foreign corporation gives me pause. After all, Walgreen Co. is one of Illinois’ premier companies. It was founded here in 1901 and is headquartered in Deerfield. And now company executives are talking about moving their headquarters to Switzerland to take advantage of a much lower corporate tax rate. But … ]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 06:36:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shaw: Doomsday clock ticks for Illinois ]]> Lead story image

Remember the ominous “doomsday clock” with its symbolic “countdown” to nuclear war? The concept dates back to University of Chicago researchers whose work during World War II led to development of the first atomic bomb. After the war, a distinguished group of international scientists continued the risk analysis by calculating looming dangers once a year and dramatizing their calibration by moving the clock’s ticking minute hand to a predetermined time uncomfortably close to midnight, or “doomsday,” and all that implies. The clock setting varies year to year — it’s five minutes to midnight in 2014, which is worrisome but fortunately … ]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 06:24:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shaw: More suburban FDs imposing ‘crash tax’ ]]> Lead story image

One of our jobs at the Better Government Association is to look for warning signs that suggest that trouble may be on the way. And with that in mind, I point to a recent BGA investigation that sounds the alarm at a number of Chicago-area fire departments but not because there’s an actual blaze. This alert is sparked by a growing and potentially troubling trend in emergency service that requires victims of traffic accidents to help fill municipal budget holes. It’s known as a “crash tax,” and it’s quietly showing up in more communities as fire departments struggle to make … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:28:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ McGrath: Confronting a different kind of tyrant ]]> Lead story image

When I attended Chicago State University on the South Side in the late 1960s, I opted to take my daily lunch break off campus. There were no in-house McDonald’s or Subways as there are at many colleges today. And while I’ll grant that the school cafeteria offered nourishing fare, it did not, however, have a palatable cheeseburger, which was my primary fuel source at the time. Their beef patties tasted oddly similar to the chemically preserved hamburger disks wrapped in plastic and sold in vending machines. So as soon as my morning classes were over, I’d put on my stocking … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:34:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reeder: Quinn veto on FOIA measure good move ]]> Lead story image

Kudos to Gov. Pat Quinn. The governor vetoed a measure that greatly would restrict an ordinary citizen’s ability to file Freedom of Information Act requests. I don’t agree with the governor on a lot of things, but this veto was the proper response to a very bad bill that would have charged ordinary citizens fees as great as $100 if they file a request for large documents or make multiple requests in a short period of time. Sometimes government officials forget just who they work for. The FOIA is a powerful tool. During the course of my journalism career, I … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:54:34 -0500