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Trump To Lay Out Plans For 'Renewal Of The American Spirit' In Joint Address

President Trump's joint address to Congress on Tuesday night is expected to strike an optimistic tone as he outlines how he plans to begin a "renewal of the American spirit" with his economic goals and priorities. According to senior administration officials who previewed the speech to reporters, that's the theme the president will use to lay out his vision for the American people and explain how his administration will begin solving real problems for real people. He'll tell members of...

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Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of AFSCME voted overwhelmingly to give the union's bargaining committee the power to strike. The union has been in a contract fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than two years. Rauner has tried to impose his terms, saying they're a fair deal for both workers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, in the week following the governor's budget address, Rauner did little to support or defend his plan.

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Education Desk

Tressie McMillan Cottom studies for-profit colleges as a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. She's analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, interviewed students and staff. But she has also helped enroll students at two different for-profits herself.

They're not named, but known only as "Beauty College" and "Technical College," in her new book, Lower Ed.

NPR Ed has covered both the rise, and some of the travails, of this form of education. We called up Cottom to hear her thoughts. Here's an edited version of our conversation.

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Health+Harvest Desk

When it comes to climate change, we often think of the cars we drive and the energy we use in our homes and offices. They are, after all, some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But what about the toast you ate for breakfast this morning?

A new study published Monday in Nature Plants breaks down the environmental cost of producing a loaf of bread, from wheat field to bakery. It finds that the bulk of the associated greenhouse gas emissions come from just one of the many steps that go into making that loaf: farming.

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Arts & Life

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This week we're joined by Allison Lacher & Jeff Robinson - two instrumental forces in bringing contemporary and provocative artwork to the central Illinois region. 

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Equity

Mark Seliger / lifeafterhate.org

Christian Picciolini used to be a neo-Nazi. He was raised by Italian immigrants in Blue Island, a Chicago suburb. He says he didn't grow up with hate ideologies at home, but as a teenager he wanted the community and sense of purpose white supremacists promised him. He went on to lead white supremacist bands and become a large part of the movement.

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In 1890, Sir Thomas Lipton arrived on the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to purchase a plot of land that would become the first tea estate in his global tea empire. These days, in the Ambadandegama Valley located just a few miles from Lipton's original estate, another experiment in tea production is unfolding.

'To Be A Machine' Digs Into The Meaning Of Humanity

57 minutes ago

"Flesh is a dead format," writes Mark O'Connell in To Be a Machine, his new nonfiction book about the contemporary transhumanist movement. It's an alarming statement, but don't kill the messenger: As he's eager to explain early in the book, the author is not a transhumanist himself.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

More than $55 million went back to Illinois municipalities from video gaming in 2016. But how do those communities use those funds?

Springfield Budget Director Bill McCarty says the city received about $1.5 million from video gaming last year. Those funds generally contribute to the city’s capital improvement projects, like sidewalk and street maintenance.

However, McCarty says, they haven’t had to dip into the video gaming money yet, thanks to a sales tax increase also contributing to the capital fund.

Members of the Illinois Senate return to Springfield Tuesday. They’re once again expected to vote on a deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate.

  

The top Republican and Democrat in the Senate have been working on this compromise since December.

It has changes to Illinois law meant to help businesses, higher income taxes meant to begin balancing the state budget, and a property tax freeze.

Tressie McMillan Cottom studies for-profit colleges as a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. She's analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, interviewed students and staff. But she has also helped enroll students at two different for-profits herself.

They're not named, but known only as "Beauty College" and "Technical College," in her new book, Lower Ed.

NPR Ed has covered both the rise, and some of the travails, of this form of education. We called up Cottom to hear her thoughts. Here's an edited version of our conversation.

It will certainly feel like a State of the Union on Tuesday night: The president will make a major speech to Congress. A bit more than half the room will applaud resoundingly while a bit less than half sit on their hands in that familiar and awkward display of partisanship.

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A commitment by NPR Illinois to cover the state's historic budget impasse and what it means to you.

The First 100 Days

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Mark Seliger / lifeafterhate.org

Ex Neo-Nazi Sheds Light On Alt-Right & 'Life After Hate'

Christian Picciolini used to be a neo-Nazi. He was raised by Italian immigrants in Blue Island, a Chicago suburb. He says he didn't grow up with hate ideologies at home, but as a teenager he wanted the community and sense of purpose white supremacists promised him. He went on to lead white supremacist bands and become a large part of the movement.

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Illinois Issues

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Illinois Issues: Civil Asset Forfeiture Critics Complain Innocent People Pay

Disparate entities say laws in this area need to change at the state and national levels.

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Trending Stories

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This I Believe: Insane Sanity

Since the beginning of my life, my mother has been a bit of an odd duck. She isn’t crazy, but I wouldn’t say she is your normal fifty-year-old. She is a high school teacher and is always finding ways to brighten students’ days whether by giving them a piece of candy, a kind compliment, or literally sprinkling them with sparkles.

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Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This I Believe: That Kid

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A Talk With Springfield Activists Who 'Resist' Trump

Featured

In Religious Freedom Debate, 2 American Values Clash

The collision of two core American values — freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination — is prompting a showdown in legislatures and courts across the country. For some conservatives, religious freedom means the right to act on their opposition to same-sex marriage and other practices that go against their beliefs. LGBT advocates and their allies, meanwhile, say no one in the United States should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation. President Trump is said to be...

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