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A Quick Guide to Islamic Definitions for the Unstudied PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 05:07

Below is a very rudimentary primer on Islam concepts and definitions for the average American who does virtually no research – without which most opinions are grossly uninformed – beyond mainstream newspapers and broadcasts.

It is essential to understand that Islam is a beautifully rich and spiritually lofty religion, whose precepts most Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths would gladly embrace because they have far more similarities than differences. Controversies arise from vastly different interpretations of small parts of Islam that take on epic proportions inside the Muslim community (Ummah) as well as the outside world.

Battles Between Chambers Keep Tensions High PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 22 November 2015 05:50

Earlier this month when the General Assembly was in Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan called Senate President John Cullerton six different times to ask him to move the child-care-program-restoration legislation once it passed the House.

Yes, six times. The man is most definitely persistent.

As you probably already know, the deal cut with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office by state Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) and others to mostly restore the draconian Child Care Assistance Program cuts Rauner made this past summer involved not voting on a bill that would’ve fully restored the governor’s cuts.

Madigan wanted that bill to pass, however, and apparently believed through much of the day that his chamber would pass it, even though it seemed obvious that Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) had once again jumped into the political bed with the GOP governor. Some House Republicans were talking about voting for the bill, though, and that kept Madigan’s hopes alive.

Because he thought it still had a shot, Madigan would not relent on Cullerton. And while the constant calls reportedly irritated Cullerton, they didn’t work. Cullerton backed up his member’s deal and the speaker was politely refused. Six times. The bill died in the House when all Republicans and Dunkin voted against the speaker.

Madigan’s pressure on Cullerton was ironic considering that the speaker is sitting on several Senate bills. Cullerton’s chamber has twice passed minimum-wage-increase bills that have gone nowhere in the House despite the fact that Madigan pushed a referendum last year to raise the minimum wage. Cullerton also passed a property-tax-freeze bill that provides more money for Chicago Public Schools and kills off the state’s ancient school-funding formula. But that hasn’t moved in the House, either.

Proposed Rule Threatens Residential Mental-Health Services PDF Print E-mail
Letters to the Editor
Written by Ashley Adams   
Thursday, 19 November 2015 19:15

On November 18, staff and residents at Vera French Pine Knoll, a residential facility for individuals with chronic mental illness, were notified that the Iowa Department of Human Services has proposed that residential facilities (regardless of the number of beds) will not be eligible to receive any Habilitation funds (federal Medicaid funds) after January 1, 2016. Without these funds, Pine Knoll will no longer be able to provide vital services to meet the needs of the residents. The current residents (currently more than 40 individuals) would have to relocate to other facilities or programs in or outside of the Davenport community. Due to the significant lack of residential placements for individuals with mental illness, these individuals will most likely be placed in the community, and may be subjected to a lack of necessary care and services. By placing an individual with mental illness at an inappropriate level of care, it can increase the possibility of hospitalization, homelessness, or incarceration, all of which potentially cost more than the current cost of allowing these individuals to remain in their “home” – which is Vera French Pine Knoll.

In less than a month and a half, more than 40 individuals – some of whom have not lived in the community for some time – will be forced out of their current home and mandated to seek alternative mental-health services. This extremely short notice does not provide enough time to relocate current residents to appropriate care settings. Therefore, these changes to Medicaid rules should not be applied. Currently, there is a lack of openings in community-based mental-health services in Davenport and throughout the state due to the limited number of mental-health providers. It is extremely important to note: The state of Iowa ranks 44th out of 50 states in the nation for mental-health provider availability. It is my belief that these immediate and significant changes are unethical and inhumane when there is already a dire lack of services. How would you feel if your loved one, diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, was doing very well in their “home” – working, interacting with others – and they were told that in approximately 45 days they would be moving, possibly to a location quite far from their current home? They would have to quit their job and would lose all local social connections and support.

You may ask: “What can I do?” We all can have an impact on this issue, which can significantly impact individuals within our community. I urge you to advocate for individuals with mental illness in Iowa. You can make written comments on or before December 1 as follows:

• Write to Harry Rossander, Bureau of Policy Coordination, Department of Human Services, Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor, 1305 E. Walnut St., Des Moines IA 50319-0114.

• Fax comments to (515)281-4980.

• E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

You are also welcome to attend a public hearing at the Scott County Administration Building Boardroom at 600 West Fourth Street in Davenport on Wednesday, December 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. to share your concerns.

For more information on this legislation, you can refer to “DHS Notice of Intended Action, ARC 2242C, items 24 and 25”: and

As Ghandi says, we all need to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” I’m urging you to take action. Mental illness impacts one in four individuals; it may not be impacting you personally, but is likely impacting a coworker, neighbor, or friend.

Ashley Adams

Script Gets Flipped on Speaker Madigan PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 15 November 2015 05:39

“He seems so done with it all,” said one top Republican earlier last week about House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. “He hates this,” said a close Durkin pal not long afterward.

The overtime session’s constant battles with the House Democrats and super-strict marching orders from Governor Bruce Rauner were wearing Durkin down, said some folks who know him. “This summer was pretty nasty,” he admitted to reporters last week.

But that changed by Tuesday. Asked to describe the progress of the previous few days on a scale of one to 10, a cheery Durkin replied, “Eight, nine, 10.” He seemed back on his game.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan clearly had a very bad week.

Beyond the Dog’s Tail: The Marvelously Expressive Mouth PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Jean Regenwether   
Friday, 13 November 2015 09:27

The head is one of the leading communication tools a dog will use to let other dogs know what it’s thinking and feeling. The head consists of several body parts and each one is used in conjunction with the others to send the memo about its intentions: the position of the head, what the eyes are doing, the position of the ears, what the dog’s mouth is doing. In a wonderful book by one on my favorite authors, How to Speak Dog, Stanley Coren gives it to us step-by-step. When we learn to put it all together, we can understand what our dogs are telling us.

The mouth of a dog gives plenty of information on how the dog may be feeling. It can tell you if the dog is angry or fearful, if something is interesting, or “Hey, I am totally relaxed.” A relaxed dog will have relaxed facial muscles with the mouth slightly open. Just the simple act of closing that mouth or a slight change in the head position and the dog is telling us it is interested in something else and evaluating the situation.

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