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Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009

* U.S. Pays $2.5 Trillion for Care Costing $912 Billion

“Health reform could not be more critical,” Mike Duke, president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest private employer, said in a letter last month to Obama. “Reforming health care is necessary not just to improve the health of all Americans, but also to remove the burden that is crushing America’s businesses.”

* Glimmer of hope

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index report showed prices edged up 1.1 percent in the Chicago area from April, the index’s first month-over-month improvement since June 2008. Prices dropped 17.5 percent in May from a year earlier. But the May annual data was an improvement over April’s year-over-year report, which showed prices dropping 18.7 percent.

* Kids Count: Illinois seeing rise in child poverty

* AT&T skirting law that requires local cable-access stations

This is not just a local issue, but one playing out nationally wherever AT&T deploys its U-verse technology. While Illinois’ Cable and Video Competition law of 2007 requires companies with state video franchises to deliver PEG channels with equivalent signal quality and functionality to that of commercial channels, many communities feel AT&T is coming up short and are seeking legal remedies to gain compliance.

* Fairmount Park closing its season early; economy, lawsuit blamed

* Daley orders furloughs: ‘taxpayers are hurting’

Two thousand non-union employees at six government agencies under Mayor Daley’s control will be ordered to take furlough days and forfeit 2009 pay raises to save $18.8 million and keep their hands out of taxpayers’ pockets.

* Daley outlines unpaid days off for top schools, park district and CTA officials

* Daley: CPS admissions investigation shows change how public schools are perceived

After telling reporters that Ron Huberman was “on top of that,” Daley said he welcomed the need for an investigation. It shows there’s been a sea change in how parents perceive the public schools, he said.

“Thank God people want to get their kids into school. … Usually, they’re fleeing to the suburbs. … This is unbelievable,” Daley said.

* Debate over gay business contracts resurfaces

Six years after raising the issue only to drop it like a hot potato, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) brought it up again during a Budget Committee hearing called to extend until 2015 a construction set-aside ordinance for minorities and women.

* NYT Co.’s top lawyer doubts that aggregation is a copyright issue

* Vote expected on South Side solar plant

* CTA rider: Flaw in Chicago Card Plus unfare

“I have a Chicago Card Plus. My monthly fee is supposed to provide me with unlimited rides for the month. However, there is a major flaw in unlimited rides provision.

If I ride the same route twice within a 12-minute period, I am charged for another ride. This has happened several times.

* 3 Kennedy Expressway entrance ramps to close Saturday

The $9.3 million rehabilitation project involves permanently closing several ramps and redesigning others in the busy corridor between Hubbard’s Cave and the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate Highway 290) Circle Interchange.

* O’Hare named 2nd worst in U.S. for delays

* Money budgeted for Peotone airport changes equation

They don’t agree on much, but proponents and opponents of the controversial proposal for an airport in Peotone say the $100 million set aside for the project in the state’s just-signed capital bill is “huge.”

For airport supporters, the money signals that Gov. Pat Quinn is serious about acquiring the remaining 2,000 acres needed in southern Will County to build a third major airport for the Chicago region. No sooner had the governor signed the $31 billion capital spending bill than state officials began fielding calls from landowners near Peotone seeking to cash in, said Susan Shea, director of aeronautics for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

* Comprehensive rail plan good start

* Capitol Q&A: Seat belt usage continues to climb

A statewide survey released last week shows that seat-belt usage has increased to 91.7 percent, a record. That’s more than 15 percentage points better than in 2003, when seat-belt usage was 76.2 percent.

Fatal crashes also are on the decline this year, dropping by about 10 percent during the first half of 2009, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety, which conducted the survey.

* Cook County patronage worker’s phone records released

Documents show up to 18 calls a day between phones of Tony Cole and Donna Dunnings, Todd Stroger’s cousin

* Quincy fights move of postal jobs to Springfield

But a postal service spokesman in Chicago said Tuesday the agency has “clarified” the study goal to calm concerns in Quincy that the entire operation, including about 70 jobs, might be leaving town.

* County offering cheap rabies shots, pet microchips

* Get Your Free Lolla iPhone App

* Buehrle Breaks ‘Perfect’ Record

Coming off the 18th perfect game in major league history, Chicago White Sox Mark Buehrle retired the first 17 batters on Tuesday night to set a record with 45 outs in a row before the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 5-3 victory over the White Sox.

- Posted by Mike Murray        

  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 8:43 am:

    Your first article is not Illinois-related and should not be on this list of shorts. It will only generate non-productive emotional postings without regards to state issues.

  2. - Deep South - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:11 am:

    VM… I guess you are saying that everyone in Illinois has health insurance…that no one in this state lacks quality medical care?

  3. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:14 am:

    Yeah - postings like that.

  4. - Obamarama - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:19 am:

    It’s a slow news day, Vanillafriend.

  5. - nice kid - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:21 am:

    The Peotone airport is driven by politics, not need. The FAA’s own projections show that it would not meaningfully decrease Ohare traffic. It’s a joke and a waste of money.

  6. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:28 am:

    Okay VM, I’ll refrain from any Walmart comments as to how, in my humble opinion, they provide and actually payout any insurance benefits to their employees, but only caused you asked so nice.

    Mike, did you get a new editor?

  7. - Scooby - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:39 am:

    Nevermind the nonsense, the first story is misleading. The headline says:

    U.S. Pays $2.5 Trillion for Care Costing $912 Billion (Update1)

    Which leads you to believe that they have some sort of evidence that the true cost of health care is $912 billion this year but because of some nefarious markup the amount people have to pay is $2.5 trillion. However the first paragraph explains how they got to that figure and you’ll feel cheated:

    July 28 (Bloomberg) — The last time a president tried to overhaul U.S. health care, Americans were spending $912 billion on the system and 40 million were uninsured. Today they’re spending $2.5 trillion and almost 50 million lack coverage.

    So, yeah, the real story is that healthcare costs are a lot more expensive than they were 15 years ago. And thank you Bloomberg.

  8. - A 9th CD Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:41 am:

    Set-asides for LGBT-owned businesses? I doubt many LGBT business owners would support or be able to justify such a concept.

  9. - No More Taxes!!! - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 9:59 am:

    If the taxpayers get stuck paying for Wal-Mart employee’s health insurance, will they drop their prices or will their profits just be more?

  10. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 10:22 am:

    If I am a LGBT, a minority, and a woman, do I count as three?

  11. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 10:28 am:

    Scooby, I think the larger point of the Bloomberg piece was that the cost of health care more than doubled since 1994, when a proposal to address these costs was defeated. Since 1999, health care increased 119% while inflation increased 28%. The increase is the price of doing nothing and letting the market choose winners and losers.

    VanillaMan, I realize this story conflicts with your worldview, but there is a cost to be paid when government doesn’t act. That isn’t emotion, it’s a fact. So we’re collectively spending $2.5 trillion on health care and still can’t insure everyone. Only in America!

  12. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 10:34 am:

    I will not be baited into answering these ridiculous postings. This article does not belong in our Morning Shorts group. It is not Illinois focused. It is not about state issues. It does not belong.

    If you want to have a discussion regarding health care, health insurance, medical costs, or whatever Democrats are calling the pea they continue to slip under those shells, then post somewhere else.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 10:36 am:

    VanillaMan, when you get your own blog you can decide what goes where. Until then, you have a right to your opinion, but no final say on anything.

    Move along. Final warning.

  14. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 10:57 am:

    Including hundreds of millions in a budget for an airport that is not needed or wanted as well as a choo-choo for a tiny minority of users while the poor and defenseless are denied service show you where the heads of the lifetime pols are at.

    First they pay off their current sponsors while trolling for new ones….

    If there are crumbs left on the table, then perhaps the little people could harvest them after the fat cats are through.

  15. - The Doc - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 11:09 am:

    Tom Tunney is a machine hack and Daley loyalist to a fault. He’s one of the least progressive and independent gay politicians in the country, IMO. This is nothing more than a publicity charade and a transparent attempt to pander to his constituency, as evidenced by his complete lack of preparation on methods of implementation and regulation of such an initiative.

  16. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Those guys from Jersey! First, they try to take Illinois’ place as the most corrupt state. Now, there is the claim that their Newark airport has more flight delays than O’Hare.

    As an infrequent flier, I feel they can have that last title. Flight delays are a pain when one has to make connections.

  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 2:19 pm:

    If one shovel of blessed Illinois topsoil, the true wealth of our state, is turned over for that unnecessary boondoggle of an airport at Peotone it will be the envirnonmental crime of our generation.

    Just another example, in case anyone wasn’t convinced, that Quinn is as self-serving as any other politician.

  18. - Mike Murray - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 3:42 pm:

    ===Mike, did you get a new editor?===

    I think Rich answered that question for you, Cindy Lou. LOL. ;)

  19. - R.A. Stewart - Wednesday, Jul 29, 09 @ 11:06 pm:

    The Peotone airport will not, as nice kid cites, significantly reduce O’Hare congestion. It will siphon off money that could conceivably have been used for passenger rail expansion, which is what we really need in this region. It will make the first few hours of any drive downstate a traffic-clogged hell. It will encourage yet more sprawl in the south suburbs. And as wordslinger points out, it will destroy thousands of acres of the best farmland in the world, just at the time when some intelligent thinking about our food supply *could* possibly forestall a crisis that would make the 1918 flu pandemic look like a few dozen runny noses.

    In some states, those would be reasons not to build the thing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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