Faith in Progress

Faith in Progress

Al Sharp, Executive Director of PCG, shares his perspective on key issues of the day.

It is reported that as the comedian W.C. Field lay on his death bed in a Philadelphia nursing home many years ago, a friend walked into his room and was surprised to find him reading the Bible. “Bill, what are you doing?” he asked. “Looking for loopholes,” Field exclaimed.

That is exactly what the payday loan industry in Illinois did in 2005

Two years ago, if you had asked whether legalizing medical marijuana was high on my priority list for PCG, I would have smiled politely and said “no.”

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” are the first words we hear in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The moral order of things is turned on its head, and unreality is abroad in the land. How better to describe what it feels like to be in our state capitol right now.

Through this legislation, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create thousands of new jobs in the clean energy economy. PCG, and our environmental counterparts, are confident that we can be successful this session, but not without your support.

How bad is the financial situation in Illinois? A knowledgeable source noted last week that the three national rating agencies have put Illinois on what is called "credit watch." This means that within 90 days, if things don’t start looking better, our debt holders will start flooding the market with the bonds they now hold, and Illinois will no longer be able to borrow.

Call me crazy! Last Sunday I should have joined family and friends at a Super Bowl party and gotten into the spirit of the game. Instead I spent the day reading the recent Supreme Court ruling that – when it comes to campaign finance reform – there is no distinction between people and corporations.

As our national health care debate drags on with no clear end in sight, it is possible to take heart at meaningful reforms within Cook County government.

Last week several PCG board members had the opportunity to discuss the state budget crisis with a colleague who – in addition to attending PCG Board meetings – also serves as the Illinois Secretary of Human Services.

We asked her about the crisis. Her reply was haunting: “We feel like we are standing over a big hole.”

"The people most affected by this (*the war on drugs*) are black and brown and poor. It's the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas… We pretend to educate the kids. We pretend that we're actually including them in the American ideal, but we're not…."--David Simon

You have the opportunity right now to make a phone call that could change the political culture of Illinois.

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