For the first time, you can search the database of money that publicly funded researchers in Illinois received from pharma companies

Researchers in Illinois who receive federal funding are required to file paperwork disclosing potential conflicts of interest, but these handwritten forms just moulder in the NIH's filing cabinets...until now. Read the rest

Illinois schools don't just lock special ed kids in solitary, they also restrain them

Last month, Propublica published a characteristically blockbuster piece on the use of "quiet rooms" in Illinois schools, especially in special ed programs: these are a euphemism for solitary confinement, and their use is so cruel and grotesque that Propublica's reporting prompted state level action to ban quiet rooms in schools and reform the policy on their use. Read the rest

Illinois marijuana dispensaries open New Year’s Day 2020

New Year's Day will be a good day to be in Illinois if you like marijuana and you are an adult 21 and over with valid photo identification. Read the rest

The Lincoln Library executive director got fired for renting Glenn Beck the original Gettysburg Address

Alan Lowe was Executive Director of the Lincoln Presidential Library, and as he struggled to help the debt-saddled institution survive, he hit on the idea of renting out Lincoln's original, handwritten text of the Gettysburg Address to noted colossal asshole Glenn Beck. Read the rest

Quiet Rooms: Illinois schools lead the nation in imprisoning very young, disabled children in isolation chambers

20 years ago, Illinois was rocked by a scandal after the widespread practice of locking schoolchildren, especially those with disabilities or special needs, in small, confining boxes was revealed. The teachers who imprisoned these children argued that they did so out of the interests of safety -- that of the imprisoned students, of the other students, and of school staff. Read the rest

The penniless hero of the ransomware epidemic has written more decryptors than anyone else

27 year old Michael Gillespie is a largely self-taught programmer and help-desk technician whose day job is working for Nerds on Call; when one of his customers asked for help in 2015 recovering files that had been encrypted by ransomware, he became obsessed with the subject and is now responsible for writing more ransomware decryptors than any other programmer, working for free and putting up an associated website, ID Ransomware, that guides ransomware victims through determining whether there is a decryptor for their strain of ransomware and helping them get their files back. Read the rest

#RedForEd rebooted: Chicago's teachers are back on strike

The #RedForEd movement swept America in 2018 and 2019 as teachers in both "red states" and "blue states" staged massive -- sometimes illegal -- strikes, demanding a fair deal for themselves, their students, and their colleagues who drive buses, clean classrooms, and do other related work. Read the rest

Billions on the line as Facebook loses appeal over violating Illinois facial recognition law

Facebook has lost a procedural appeal related to a 2015 Illinois class-action lawsuit over the company's use of facial recognition data, and now it could be on the hook for billions in damages. Read the rest

Affluent parents surrender custody of their kids to "scam" their way into needs-based college scholarships

Propublica Illinois has identified "dozens of suburban Chicago families" who surrendered custody of their children during the kids' junior and senior years of high-school, turning them over to aunts, grandparents, friends, and cousins, so that the kids claim to be independent and qualify for needs-based scholarships, crowding out the poor kids the scholarship was designed for. Read the rest

Illinois almost passed a bill that banned devices that record you without your consent -- and then Big Tech stepped in

This week, Keep Internet Devices Safe Act was gutted by the Illinois senate: it would have allowed people sue manufacturers if they determined that a device had engaged in remote recording without notifying its owner. Read the rest

Chicago's first gay, Black, woman mayor won all 50 wards, defeating the machine candidate with an anti-corruption campaign

Lori Lightfoot is Chicago's newest mayor, succeeding the notoriously corrupt establishment figure Rahm Emmanuel (who quit after two terms, triggering a race), and beating out Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who had been anointed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable Democratic machine as the next mayor. Read the rest

Chicago is facing its first citywide hotel strike since 1903

Chicago's tourism sector is booming, with a record 55,000,000 visitors to the city last year, and revenue up this year by 10.4% to $1.45B: but workers aren't seeing those gains. Read the rest

Illinois's "anti-corruption" Republican governor handed out $300,000 in cash at a campaign rally

Bruce Rauner is a millionaire hedge-fundie who currently serves as governor of Illinois, a position he attained by campaigning as an "anti-corruption" candidate. Read the rest

Illinois votes to eliminate inmates' doctor visit co-pays, equivalent to one month's wages

Illinois lawmakers have want to end inmates' co-payments of $5 for each prison doctor visit -- the equivalent of a month's wages in the prison's $0.05/hour and under workshops; in Oregon, they're contemplating creating a $3-5/visit co-pay. Read the rest

Colorado cop corrects would-be dog-slaughtering Illinois officer about drug-sniffing after marijuana legalization

When I read Macon County, IL K-9 trainer Chad Larner's claim that marijuana legalization would necessitate euthanizing 275 Illinois drug-sniffer dogs that couldn't be retrained and who would be driven mad by the pervasive smell of legal weed, I thought, "Gosh, I hope some cops from a legal weed state like Colorado show up to explain that this guy is full of shit." Read the rest

Western Illinois coroner will hold your family's ashes hostage for $1,000, won't produce a death certificate without payment

Adams County Coroner James Keller in western Illinois has a great way to self-fund his department: if a poor person dies and their family can't afford the $1,000 for cremation, Keller just dumps the ashes in an unmarked mass grave; and then if the family needs a death certificate to access their dead loved one's estate, Keller makes them sign over the first $1,000 out of the estate to his office before he'll hand over the paperwork. Read the rest

A who's-who of tech manufacturers sent scaremongering letters to the Illinois legislature to kill Right to Repair

Illinois is one of 18 states where Right to Repair legislation has been introduced -- rules that would force manufacturers to end the practice of undermining the independent repair sector with hidden service documents, unavailable parts, and DRM. Read the rest

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