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Thursday, December 7

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The Mechanics

Federal Government Wed Jun 10 2015

Hastert's Troubles Mount

Dennis Hastert, a former Republican Congressman from Illinois and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, appeared in federal court on Tuesday to enter pleas of not guilty to charges that he violated banking laws and lied to the FBI in an effort to conceal his alleged sexual abuse of a high school student some 45 years ago.

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Thomas J. Gradel

International Chicago Fri Dec 27 2013

Are Madigan-Linked Charter Schools Fueling Turkey's Corruption Scandal?

Right now, Turkey is in the midst of a widespread political scandal worthy of Cook County.

After conducting a two-year corruption probe, Turkish police detained dozens of individuals last Tuesday morning. Several of the suspects -- including the head of a state-owned bank, the sons of three government ministers, and others linked to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- will be charged on counts of gold smuggling, money laundering and bribery.

The scandal has sparked mass anti-government protests, rocked the financial markets, and forced the resignation of several cabinet members, including one who has openly called for Erdogan to step down.

In response, the prime minister has declared the "dirty, dirty operation" the result of a foreign conspiracy, fired senior police chiefs and the senior prosecutor behind the raid, and replaced ten government ministers. He also blamed a movement he refused to directly name for trying to create "a state within a state." This remark is believed to be an attack on the followers of a powerful Islamist cleric (and former Erdogan political ally) named Fethullah Gulen.

Curiously, Gulen has also been linked to a different controversy this week -- this one involving Chicago charter schools and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

But are they related? Perhaps.

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Jason Prechtel

National Politics Sat Jan 21 2012

One Day, Two Downtown Protests

Two demonstrations occurred downtown on Saturday. A group of demonstrators gathered in support for the people of Egypt, while another unrelated group marched through the streets in support of sustainable seafood.

About 30 people gathered in front of the Egyptian Consulate, located at 500 N. Michigan Ave., and shouted, in Arabic, in support of the people of Egypt and against the military council currently in control.

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Tyler Davis

International Chicago Wed Jan 18 2012

G8/NATO Protest Ordinance Passes, with More Changes

City Council passed an ordinance that would allow the city to enforce stricter security measures on protests at the G8/NATO summit than the ordinance currently in place.

Protesters gathered outside City Council chambers during the vote to express their anger over the ordinance.

Alderman Joe Moreno, 1st Ward, blogged on Huffington Post Chicago about why he voted for it.

"The ordinance itself is not as extreme as many, with their own agendas, have made it seem." he wrote, adding,"There is definitely a reality gap between the perception and reality of this ordinance."

Alderman Joe Moore, 49th Ward, also blogged on his own website about the ordinance and the public attention it has received.

"the debate over the Mayor's proposals too often has been marked by overheated rhetoric and over-the-top hyperbole," wrote Moore.

A description of what changes this new ordinances makes, noting changes made this morning, can be found on Alderman Joe Moore's website.

The ordinance that passed did not raise the minimum fine for resisting arrest from its current value of $25, but did raise the minimum fine for violation of the parade ordinance from $50 to $200.

Under the new ordinance, parade organizers will have to describe any sound equipment and signs that are too large for one person to carry by hand. The original ordinance required organizers to report and describe every protest sign, no matter what size.

The changes made by this ordinance expire on July 31.

Tyler Davis

International Chicago Tue Jan 17 2012

City Prepares for G8/NATO, Protesters Prepare for Changes

"If this ordinance passes, all bets are off," said longtime Chicago protester Andy Thayer.

Thayer was one of about 50 activists who gathered inside City Hall Tuesday morning to speak out against a proposed ordinance to enhance security and, according to some, suppress protesters at the G8/NATO summit in May.

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Tyler Davis / Comments (3)

Immigration Thu Jun 16 2011

Exodus: Immigration, Law and Activism

by Brian Reilly

"Look how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing, more so than we ourselves! Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase..." Exodus 1:9-10

Rosanna Pulido is stabbing at me with her finger. After talking about illegal immigration for almost an hour now, she is both more comfortable and more agitated. Pulido says everything with some kind of emphasis.

What is it about illegal immigration that makes someone, a latina no less, an activist? Pulido answers by singing, not just quoting, America, the Beautiful. "You know the song, America? America, America God shed His grace on thee...o.k., there is a line in that liberty in law. That's how you and I have so much freedom and liberty and prosperity."

Freedom, liberty, and prosperity are pretty much universal aspirations. They have moved people to action since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt up until the protests in Tahrir Square. America has, throughout its history, been a place where people have fled in order to live their aspirations. That history is filled with the brutal struggle over who belongs and who decides.

"You put laws down and if you don't obey them, you know what? You're going to pay for it," Pulido says. But who decides crime and punishment?

American immigration law has always been tied closely to race and ethnicity. The nation's first immigration law, the Naturalization Act of 1790, was passed only a year after the constitution and allowed for the immigration and naturalization of "free white persons" of "good moral character."

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Ramsin Canon / Comments (7)

Immigration Wed May 18 2011

Opening the Door to America

by Brian Reilly

America, since even before its birth as a nation, has been defined as a place for seekers; a home where a variety of peoples, values, and aspirations can belong. Defining citizenship is part of defining America. Rather than melting into the national identity, each group of seekers has struggled their way past gatekeepers vigilantly guarding their own vision, interests and identity.

Carving out a place and claiming the rights that come with it is a political fight between those who stand on either side of the doorway to America. Who belongs? Who gets in? Who stays out? Who decides?

"Profanely." In a word, that is how Joshua Hoyt intends to address an announcement from Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn's office that services to immigrants will be cut by up to 74 percent in the proposed budget. Hoyt, as Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), has a meeting with Quinn's senior staff and he intends to be direct.

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International Chicago Fri Mar 18 2011

Learning from a Japanese Sister City


Namerikawa, Japan

NAMERIKAWA, JAPAN --- In this tiny seaside town, a sister city of Schaumburg, Ill., the mood is very somber though life is certainly continuing on as normal. Adults and children go to work or school everyday. After school, baseball practice remains on schedule. And inside the town's largest grocery store, Plant 3, shoppers are buying food for the week.

But amidst last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami, some things have changed. Volunteers are collecting money inside Plant 3; bare shelves once full of bottled water are being replenished after supplies were sent to the hardest hit areas of Japan; and volunteers are packing up loads of boxes near City Hall to send blankets, toothbrushes and towels to victims of the disaster.

I originally wanted to write about progressive transportation in Japan and in Namerikawa, a seaside town of about 34,000 people. I moved here in July to teach English as part of the JET Programme, and I hope to use some of the things I have learned here for good when I am back in Chicago. But given last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami, it does not seem right to talk about transportation at the moment.

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Sheila Burt / Comments (2)

International Chicago Mon Nov 15 2010

Who Will Save Pakistan?

This article was contributed by Maham Khan

"Musharraf! Musharraf," a crowd of over 500 Chicagoans cheered to answer the question, as the former president made his entrance.

mushy5[1].JPGIt's been two years since Pervez Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan under impeachment pressure in 2008. After a seven-year-long reign as president, his 2007 imposition of "emergency" martial law and a battle against the country's judiciary ultimately forced the leader to escape the country.

Even today, there are "fatwas" or edicts in Pakistan that claim his life.

But after a two-year hiatus in London, Musharraf has launched a campaign tour to announce that he will reenter the game of politics.

"Now is the time," Musharraf said. "The void of leadership must be filled."

Musharraf--formerly affiliated with the Pakistan Muslims League--Quaid (PML-Q) will be running under a new party--The All Pakistani Muslim League (APML).

"This is the original party of Pakistan--it is Quaid-e-Azam's party," Musharraf said, referring to the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. "Our objective is to win in 2013 for the betterment of Pakistan."

Musharraf spoke casually in a mélange of Urdu and English to a banquet hall filled mostly with Pakistanis.

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Mechanics / Comments (14)

Immigration Thu Apr 29 2010

Immigrant Rights Picket at Wrigley Field: Boycott Arizona!

Wrigley picket

Immigrants Rights Activists Picket outside Wrigley Field.

Chicago is finally getting some spring weather. In Wrigleyville, thousands of fans are enjoying the weather and catching a baseball game. Jeering the other team has a long history in sports, but today over 200 supporters of immigrants rights picketed outside Wrigley Field to protest against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona's anti-immigrant SB1070 law.

The law forces law enforcement in Arizona to stop "suspected illegal immigrants" and make them prove their citizenship in order to avoid arrest. Leone Jose Bicchieri, the executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative explained that the law would "only increase racial profiling in Arizona." Describing what the law tells police to do, "You better go out today and you better stop suspected undocumented immigrants. When you say, 'Well what does that mean?' They say 'well you know, suspected undocumentented immigrants.' That means dark people."

Immigrants and civil rights groups across the country have begun a nationwide boycott against the state of Arizona in order to pressure the state to rescind the law and to prevent other state from passing similar laws.

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Matt Muchowski / Comments (1)

International Chicago Mon Mar 29 2010

Haitian Aftershocks in Chicago

[The following piece was submitted by John Niederkorn, Maham Khan and Irakli Gioshvili.]

Judith Mayard was resting on her bed on a Tuesday afternoon in January, when she felt the room begin to shake. As the walls around her began to collapse, the days after led her through a rubble-filled maze of mass confusion. All Judith could think about was her mother in Chicago.

On Jan. 12 an earthquake with the magnitude of 7.0 shook the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, forever changing the small Caribbean country. (For author photos of some of the devastation, click here).

Global efforts by individuals and organizations alike have been important in providing Haitians relief at their weakest moment -- including Chicagoans.

Chicago became involved almost instantly after the crisis occurred. On Jan. 20, a flight of 83 Haitian earthquake survivors landed at O'Hare International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. In the days and weeks that followed, nearly 300 evacuees came to Chicago. Some stayed, others moved on.

"Ninety-five percent of the evacuees departed Chicago on connecting flights within 48 hours of their arrival," said Anne Sheahan, director of public information at the DFSS, "some within less than eight hours. The remaining 5 percent connected with family or friends in Chicago."

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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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