With sequester cuts and furloughs beginning to roll out this week, some are wondering if Illinois is being hit harder than other states. There's the $33.4 million cut to education spending, the $6.4 million hit to clean water initiatives, the 14,000 furloughed defense jobs, and the list goes on. Marilyn Geewax, a senior business at NPR in Washington, joins us to discuss the cuts, and the next big financial crisis on Capital Hill - the dreaded continuing resolution.
The Afternoon Magazine
Earlier this week, we looked at the political situation around the sequester. Now, the economic impact. While some legislators say the automatic budget cuts won't be as bad as the President is suggesting, economist Elizabeth Powers warns they might be worse than expected. She joined us to discuss how the sequester will impact Illinois.
Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman is coming through Illinois this week. Alex Molotkow, the senior editor of Hazlitt Magazine, joins us to discuss Richman's career and to pick out three of his most essential songs.
Is the federal government really going to let $85-billion in budget cuts take hold at the end of this week? Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief, has been monitoring the sequester debate, and gives us an update.
As of right now, Illinois is the only state in America without a law regulating concealed firearms. Last year, the state tried to ban so-called 'conceal and carry,' but the Supreme Court judged the law unconstitutional, and ruled that Illinois had to pass a law, any law, on concealed firearms within 180 days. With the three months almost up, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking for more time. Law professor Brannon Denning - once of Southern Illinois University, now at the law school at Samford University in Alabama - explains why a law is necessary. Without one, concealed weapons in Illinois will be totally legal.
There is such a wealth of art about love - romantic, unrequited, familial, heartbroken - that it would seem almost impossible to catalogue it all. The Poetry Foundation in Chicago is making an effort - they've created a list of almost 100 notable love poems for Valentine's Day. Catherine Halley, the editor of the Poetry Foundation online joins us to go over some of her favorites.
The University of Illinois is proposing a joint venture with the Chinese Department of Education to set up a Confucius Institute, for the study of Chinese language and culture. There are institutes like this at colleges all over the Midwest, but they are also controversial. Some people are uncomfortable with working so closely with the Chinese government, while more conspiracy minded people believe the institutes are a covert form of spying. Wolfgang Schlör from the university joins us to discuss the proposal.
On Wednesday, governor Pat Quinn gave his annual State of the State address. Critics say that what it lacked in specifics, it made up for in platitudes. Columnist Tom Kacich of the Champaign News-Gazette walks us through what to expect during the next legislative term.
Earlier this year, state senator Heather Steans introduced a bill during the lame duck congressional session that would legalize gay marriage. She didn't have the votes, and then the term expired. Now, with the Democrats firmly in control of the state house and senate, she's putting the bill up for another vote. But its passage is not a sure thing. Steans joined us to discuss her bill, and working with Republicans.
Last Friday, students at the University of Illinois slept outside to raise awareness about homelessness. It was a fun event that contrasts with a grim reality. Champaign-Urbana has one of the state's largest rates of homelessness, and last week was marked by bitter low temperatures. An interview with Melany Jackson, a homelessness advocate who says we don't have enough shelter space. Also, Kerri Spear, who runs the homeless count for Champaign-Urbana. She outlines some the challenges of finding all of the homeless in town - an initiative that could help us provide better services for those living outside.