Welfare numbers down despite weak economy

The news: In October, the national unemployment rate was the highest since 1994. Behind the news: According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, 5,230 people applied for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in October, and 1,375 were accepted. Despite the faltering economy, the figures represent a slight drop from October 2007, when there were 5,244 applications and 1,467 approvals. The overall number of families enrolled in TANF has also decreased, from 29,037 in October 2007 to 26,824 a year later. Marva Arnold, director of the human services department’s division of human capital development, said there is a lag between an economic downturn and its effect on the TANF program because families don’t qualify for it until their unemployment insurance runs out.

AIDS: An unchecked threat

If a terrorist attack wiped out an American city the size of Boston, Denver or Seattle, there would be an immediate and overwhelming response. Federal, state and local officials would spend billions in relief without the usual bureaucratic red tape and politics that typically encumber government. Immediate steps would be taken to prevent future attacks, like the government’s response to 9/11. Those of us in other cities would offer our support, sympathy and savings, much like we did after Hurricane Katrina. Surely, we’d respond with more vigor, resources and compassion than we have to the attack being leveled by AIDS.

The Power Of Giving

Click here to download an Excel database on political contributions from energy companies. Since 1999, the combined political contributions from energy companies Ameren, Commonwealth Edison, Dominion, Dynegy, Edison International, Exelon, Midwest Generation, and NRG Energy totaled more than $6 million. The highest amounts were donated to some of the companies’ political action committees, but several lawmakers received at least $200,000. Note: Includes contributions made between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 30, 2008.

Even Now, Women Paid Less For The Same Work

The news:

The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee endorses the Democratic presidential ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden in September. Behind the news:

According to Illinois Department of Employment Security, the average income of women in the Chicago metro area was about 60 percent of that of their male counterparts. Women earned $2,969 a month on average for the latest year available ending in the third quarter in 2007–”about $2,051 less than men’s average. Ten years ago, Illinois women were making slightly less–”about 56 percent of men’s wages. “In the same industry and in same jobs, males are paid more, and more females are employed in lower wage jobs,” said Richard Kaye, a labor market economist for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

More Loan For The Same Home

Who received high-cost mortgage loans in 2007? A Chicago Reporter analysis of new mortgage lending data shows familiar racial and gender disparities among the individuals who received high-cost mortgage loans in 2007. By volume, white men received more high-cost loans than any other race-gender group. However, African Americans and Latinos were more likely to receive high-cost loans than their white and Asian counterparts, according to a Reporter analysis of more than 10 million mortgage loans granted in 2007. Even the wealthiest black borrowers were more likely to get a high-cost loan than the poorest Asian, Latino and white borrowers.

The Color of Justice on Cook County Juries

For 10 days, Sam W. Shipp held steadfastly to his belief that Jonathan Tolliver was not guilty of murdering Chicago Police Officer Michael Ceriale. The lone holdout on the jury said the prosecution did not present enough evidence to convince him, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Tolliver was guilty. Tolliver’s fingerprints were not on the gun used to kill Ceriale, and prosecutors did not prove that Tolliver even had fired a gun, Shipp noted. And while seven witnesses had fingered the 19-year-old African American defendant shortly after the shooting, all recanted during the trial, saying police had pressured them to make false statements. On Feb.

West Side Residents Battle Drug War Realities

For most, the stories of drug trafficking are documented in 30- and 60-second stories on the evening news. But for others, like Allie Pack, the drama unfolds 24 hours a day in front of her Humboldt Park home. Pack can see it all from her front window: cars driving through the neighborhood, stopping briefly so the drivers can talk with young men walking in the street or stationed on the corners. Sometimes they gather just outside the chain-link fence in front of her home. Pack, 72, said she prays for strength before walking onto the porch to confront them.

West Side Residents Battle Drug War Realities

For most, the stories of drug trafficking are documented in 30- and 60-second stories on the evening news. But for others, like Allie Pack, the drama unfolds 24 hours a day in front of her Humboldt Park home. Pack can see it all from her front window: cars driving through the neighborhood, stopping briefly so the drivers can talk with young men walking in the street or stationed on the corners. Sometimes they gather just outside the chain-link fence in front of her home. Pack, 72, said she prays for strength before walking onto the porch to confront them.