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AGAINST THE CURRENT ATC: Dan Proft & Maze Jackson

On this edition of Against The Current, Dan Proft sits down with Chicago Defender Political Editor and WVON Radio political commentator Maze Jackson to discuss race and politics and racial politics in Chicago and on college campuses. The two review the Laquan McDonald case in the context of the Chicago political power structure (that extends to Springfield). Which heads should roll? What should be done? Who is/is not representing the black community at present? Should Dan Proft be a creative consultant to #BlackLivesMatter? And might Maze Jackson be the first entrant into the 2019 mayoral race? Get all the answers on this installment of ATC.

Source: Will County News

Ragan Freitag Will County Board Member Young Professional of Year

Will County Board Member Young Professional of Year

The award will be presented Dec. 3 by the Joliet Area Young Professionals organization.
Will County Board Member Young Professional of Year

Submitted by Will County Illinois

Will County Board member Ragan Freitag, R-Wilmington, will be awarded 2015 Young Professional of the Year by the Joliet Area Young Professionals (JAYP) organization on Dec. 3 for her contributions to her profession and the local community.

“This is truly an honor, and I am humbled to receive this recognition from my peers and local professionals in our community,” Freitag said. “At the beginning of my career, I made a commitment to always try and give back to the community that has given me so much. My hope is I will continue to do this on a regular basis and make our corner of the world a better place for the future generations. This award is very much dedicated to everyone that believed in me and invested time and energy on my behalf. Please accept my deepest appreciation and gratitude for all you have done.”

The Young Professional of the Year award honors and recognizes a young professional, who has made strides in his or her career, has been a good friend to the community, and who is able to set a good example for future young professionals. Freitag is an attorney with Kavanagh Grumley & Gorbold LLC in Joliet. She is also vice president of the Forest Preserve District of Will County, vice president of the Will County Women’s Bar Association, board member of St. Rose School in Wilmington, and past president of the Joliet Catholic Academy Alumni Association. Freitag is a 1999 alum of Joliet Catholic Academy.

Freitag is a graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and graduated from law school in Jackson, MS. She now practices criminal defense and family law. In 2012, Freitag was elected to the Will County Board to represent the residents of District 6. Previously, she served as an alderman for the City of Wilmington. She now chairs the Board’s Capital Improvements Committee and is spearheading the planning for a new judicial facility and courthouse in downtown Joliet.

The JAYP, a division of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, will honor Freitag at its annual dinner on Dec. 3 at 6:30pm at Jacob Henry Estate, 15 S. Richards Street, Joliet.

Source: Will County News

Conservatives mounted their years-long quest to repeal Obamacare

How Mike Lee and Matt Bevin Saved the Obamacare Repeal Bill

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (Photo: Steven Purcell/The Heritage Foundation) and Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, R-Ky. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

Conservatives have waited more than five years to deliver an Obamacare repeal bill to President Barack Obama’s desk. And until this week, it appeared that Republicans were about to squander what many conservatives believed was their best shot since the law’s passage.

Conservatives say it’s a lesson in staying true to their principles and forcing GOP leadership to live up to campaign promises.

That changed Monday night. In a closed-door meeting with his Republican colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrapped a House-passed billand conceded to conservative demands to make the repeal package stronger.

Sources on Capitol Hill and in the conservative movement credited the change to two factors: Sen. Mike Lee’spersistence on using the budget reconciliation process and Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s victory last month after campaigning against his state’s Medicaid expansion.

McConnell, who hails from Kentucky, promised to rip apart Obamacare “root and branch” prior to Republicans’ capturing the Senate in 2014. But when GOP leadership stymied an Obamacare repeal vote in July and the House passed a watered down reconciliation bill in October, it appeared that momentum was on the wrong side of the repeal movement.

151201_McConnell-Reconciliation_McConnell-navy

Now, as the Senate advances a bill that cuts far more of Obamacare than the House bill, conservatives say it’s a lesson in staying true to their principles and forcing GOP leadership to live up to campaign promises.

There’s also the home-state factor for McConnell. Bevin, a conservative who ran against the senator in the 2014 Republican primary, made ending Kentucky’s Obamacare exchange and stopping the state’s expansion of Medicaid a top issue in his gubernatorial campaign. He won a decisive victory at the ballot box Nov. 3.

A senior Republican aide familiar with the Senate’s budget reconciliation debate said it was almost certainly a factor in the decision to strengthen the Obamacare repeal bill.

“Matt Bevin ran on a promise to end Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion,” the GOP aide told The Daily Signal on the condition of anonymity. “When Mitch McConnell realized it was politically viable in his home state of Kentucky, he conceded it could be done in the Senate.”

McConnell, who said in July that “we’re certainly going to consider using budget reconciliation for repealing as much of Obamacare as is reconcilable,” will now do that this week, when the Senate is expected to pass a bolder repeal bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other members of leadership have a plan to repeal Obamacare that would phase out the expansion of Medicaid. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom)

Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said the majority leader always wanted a broader bill repealing as much of Obamacare as possible under Senate rules. While acknowledging that Lee’s role was helpful, Stewart called The Daily Signal’s characterization of the Kentucky governor’s race “flat wrong.”

“He wasn’t led to this decision. He led the effort,” Stewart told The Daily Signal of McConnell. “He said for months that we should do a broad bill. The House chose a different bill, and it passed overwhelmingly. But that was their bill. Our bill is different.”

Fighting for Repeal

Conservatives have long argued that the best way to repeal Obamacare is thesame way Democrats passed it in 2010: through the budget reconciliation process with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate.

That was conservatives’ goal heading into 2015 with a 54-seat Republican majority and a Republican-led House able to accomplish the feat. Conservatives wanted to show Americans that a Republican-led Congress could undo all of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 with a Republican in the White House. All it would take is a single sentence repealing the law.

151201_McConnell-Reconciliation_definition-navy

But it wasn’t that easy. Some Republicans preferred to use reconciliation for other priorities like tax reform. It took a high-stakes showdown in July between GOP leadership and Lee to solidify support for using the reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare.

During that July debate on a highway funding bill, Lee was planning to offer an amendment to repeal Obamacare with 51 votes until leadership forced him to drop the amendment in a move that infuriated conservatives. Lee’s plan would’ve spared Republicans the need to even use reconciliation, but instead he was excoriated by leadership in a private meeting of senators.

But the Utah Republican was still able to use the situation as leverage tosecure McConnell’s commitment to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation.

The two senators issued a joint statement July 28. “We will continue our effort to use reconciliation,” McConnell said, “to fulfill the promise we made to our constituents.”

But months later, when the House began drafting its reconciliation language, significant parts of the Affordable Care Act were left in place. The House billrepealed four provisions: the individual and employer mandates, the Cadillac tax on health plans, and the medical device tax. It also cut a sizable portion of federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.

151201_McConnell-Reconciliation_sens-statement-navy

House Republicans cited Senate rules as an impediment to doing more, but Lee didn’t buy it. He teamed with Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to denounce the House bill on Oct. 22, a day before the House voted on it.

“Each of us campaigned on a promise to fully repeal Obamacare and a reconciliation bill is the best way to send such legislation to President Obama’s desk,” the senators wrote in a statement. “If this bill cannot be amended so that it fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules, we cannot support this bill.”

Turning Point

At the time, the opposition of Lee, Cruz, and Rubio appeared to be too little, too late. The House passed its reconciliation bill Oct. 23 on a mostly party-line vote of 240-189—with one Democrat supporter and seven GOP defectors, including only a few who said the bill didn’t go far enough.

Conservatives, who had spent more than five years plotting their strategy, feared that the bill set a bad precedent that a future Congress would need to follow.

But in reality, the trio of Lee, Cruz, and Rubio put Senate leadership in a bind. With more liberal Republicans already balking at the language to defund Planned Parenthood, McConnell could afford to lose no more than three senators to get the 51 votes needed.

While the three conservative senators stood firm, Kentucky voters went to the polls Nov. 3. Bevin, who trailed in public polling prior to Election Day, convincingly defeated the state’s attorney general, Democrat Jack Conway.

151201_McConnell-Reconciliation_bevin-navy

Bevin’s opposition to Obamacare and insistence on ending Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion played a central role in his campaign.

“The fact that we have one out of four people in this state on Medicaid is unsustainable, it’s unaffordable, and we need to create jobs in this state, not more government programs to cover people,” Bevin said while campaigning in February.

Bevin’s triumph at the ballot box, Capitol Hill insiders say, was an eye-opening moment for McConnell.

“It all comes down to Kentucky politics for Mitch McConnell,” a former Senate staffer told The Daily Signal. “When he sees the political winds changing, he’s quick to react.”

And that’s what happened Monday. McConnell outlined a plan that goes much farther than the House’s reconciliation bill. The new bill repeals Obamacare’s premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion, as well as most of the taxes.

In doing so, McConnell appears to have won over the three conservative holdouts: Cruz, Lee, and Rubio.

Without those three conservatives, Republicans likely lacked the 51 votes needed to pass the reconciliation bill and deliver a repeal measure to Obama’s desk.

Until the final vote is cast later this week, anything could happen. But for conservatives who mounted their years-long quest to repeal Obamacare, things are moving in the right direction.

“Senators Cruz, Lee, and Rubio deserve credit for refusing to settle for the House-passed bill, which would have left the main pillars of the law in place,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said. “To be clear, there is more work that needs to be done to make full repeal a reality, but the Senate’s effort provides momentum to help make that a reality in 2017.”

Source: Will County News

The Homer Junior High School 7th grade girls basketball team is headed to State.

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

 

For Immediate Release:

Dec. 3, 2015

 

7th grade girls basketball team headed to State

 

The Homer Junior High School 7th grade girls basketball team is headed to State.

 

The team defeated Minooka Junior High last night (Dec. 2) to earn the IESA Sectional and a trip to State.

 

The Mustangs will compete next at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 5) at Normal Parkside Junior High, 101 N. Parkside Road, Normal. You can follow their progress using this link.

 

Good luck team!

Source: Will County News

Super-Materials to Rule 21st Century Tech

Super-Materials to Rule 21st Century Tech
By Alex Koyfman | Thursday, December 3, 2015  Wealth Daily

Almost 2,500 years ago, the Roman Empire made the most important materials advancement in the history of mankind up to that point.

With the advent of steel, which early metallurgists refined from iron, the Roman army became the world’s most effective, most standardized, and most feared fighting force.

gladiusUsing this rudimentary steel, the Romans made the legendary Gladius, as well as a plethora of other advanced weapons that put them far ahead of any competitor.

And they would remain ahead for more than 500 years — thanks largely to this one material and the various tools and inventions it made possible.

Today, much has changed when it comes to metals and materials in general, but one thing remains the same: It’s advancement in this industry that drives innovations and breakthroughs everywhere else.

In modern times, however, the world changes much faster.

The 20th century gave us plastics, which, just as iron and steel did many centuries before, immediately changed the world.

Only instead of weapons and tools of production, plastics were used everywhere, in everything from space travel all the way to the bottle of water or soda you probably have sitting in your refrigerator.

That, however, was the 20th century… Today, those plastics and their derivatives, like Kevlar and synthetic textiles like polyester, are old news.

The new generation of high-tech materials have grown so specialized and, quite frankly, so strange in appearance and behavior that they represent not one but several major leaps forward over their predecessors.

Revealed by Boeing (NYSE: BA) in October of 2015 was a very strange and almost magical structure (given its sophistication, it can hardly even be called a material).World’s Lightest Metal

Consisting of 99.99% air, it’s referred to by its creators as a “microlattice,” or, more technically, an “open cellular polymer structure.”

The result of this woven, geometrically enhanced configuration is a material that’s stronger than carbon fiber but less than one-tenth the weight.

Below is a photo of a small chunk of this microlattice sitting on a dandelion, without any visible strain to the fragile seedpods.

microlattice

There is no industry in existence that relies on strong, lightweight materials more than aerospace.

Accordingly, Boeing sees this material becoming an integral part of aircraft structures — specifically wings and control surfaces.

Eventually, however, it will find its way into more common products such as automobile bodies and sporting equipment.

Printable Circuitry… 100 Times Stronger Than Steel

Strong is good. Strong and light is better… But something that’s strong, light, and also an amazing conductor of electricity is the holy trinity.

Enter graphene — a crystalline form of carbon in which carbon atoms are arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern.

Graphene Structure

It is very strong (100 times stronger than steel, pound for pound), very light, and is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity — the best, in fact, of any known material at room temperature.

This stuff has numerous applications in everything from consumer technology to bioengineering, but one of its most immediate and prospective applications is in the field of energy storage.

Because graphene is so efficient at absorbing and releasing heat and electricity, batteries made from it will take between 100 and 1,000 times less time to charge and discharge.

The potential for technological disruption and emerging trend-based investing is almost limitless here.

Just imagine what companies like Tesla, whose entire business revolves around the battery market, or Apple or Samsung, whose devices are limited in size and operational ability due to shortcomings in modern lithium-ion batteries, could do with something like this.

When used to make circuits, it’s proven to be workable enough that it can be applied using specialized 3D printing technology.

Oh, and it’s almost completely transparent.

graphenePPC

The problem, however — and the opportunity — lies in its price.

When news of this super-material went public a few years ago, graphene wasn’t just the world’s best room-temperature conductor of charge… it was also perhaps the most expensive material ever created.

A single square micrometer of it (that’s 1/1000th of a millimeter) costs as much as $1,000 to produce.

Within a year, however, that price had fallen drastically — to the relatively bargain-basement price of $100,000 per square meter.

Still sounds expensive, but it’s far, far closer to mass production viability; and with the benefits it brings, the future for this super-material is guaranteed to be a very bright one.

And well financed. Ford (NYSE: F), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and defense giant Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) are all eyeing this as one of the future staples of high-tech manufacturing.
This broad range of materials and substances has one common characteristic: The individual nano-particles have to be smaller than 100 nanometers, one-billionth of a meter, and in at least one dimension.Nanoscale Materials

For a bit of perspective, think of it this way:

A 30-nanometer sphere and a regulation basketball are sitting side by side. The nanoscale sphere is then scaled up to the size of the basketball.

Next, the basketball is scaled up to the exact same factor.

The result would be a basketball stretching from the Earth to the moon — or about 230,000 miles.

So they’re small, but they’re also highly varied and specialized.

Because the size parameters allow for a nanoparticle to be long, they can take on fairly complex and unique properties — and can be engineered to extremely precise tolerances for highly focused applications.

One very compelling field of application for nanomaterials is in biotech.

Called piezoelectric nanotube polymers, these long, hair-like strands produce an electric charge whenever a mechanical force is applied.

nanotubeplolymer

Using such a nanomaterial in human bones has the amazing effect of accelerating regeneration following an injury.

The same technology has already been proven to be used in clothing, with the effect of turning a jacket or a shirt into a power source for wireless devices.

But that’s just a couple niche applications.

Precisely manufactured molecule-sized structures will be integral to the development of next-generation computer chips by defeating current limiting factors such as heat dissipation.

Nanomaterials will provide manufacturers with nanocrystalline starting materials, ultra-high purity materials, materials with better thermal conductivity, and longer-lasting, durable interconnections, allowing for a downscaling in size of microprocessors by an order of magnitude or more.

And that’s still just scratching the surface. The Department of Defense, long in search of a non-toxic replacement for the depleted uranium armor-piercing projectile — which is a crucial and almost ubiquitous class of ammunition for all NATO-equipped militaries — is now looking to nanomaterials for the answer.

Right now, nanocrystalline tungsten heavy alloys and composites are being evaluated as potential candidates to replace depleted uranium penetrator rounds — and yes, once proven, the demand will be enormous.

The list goes on and on from there, including but not limited to new-generation thermal and chemical sensors; high-powered “super magnets,” crucial for electrical motors, power generators, and medical imagining; stronger, longer-lasting satellites; a host of aerospace components; improved efficiency batteries; and even improved building materials.

A standout in this field is Nanometrics Inc. (NASDAQ: NANO), which focuses on semiconductor fabrication.

But for the big name in this field, perhaps none is greater than Hewlett Packard’s Quantum Science division (NYSE: HPQ).

With potentially billions in investment capital behind research and development efforts, there’s no telling where the technology will go in the coming years.

The only thing for sure is that we’ll see more of it everywhere.

Don’t Think of it as Technology

Technologies are what we associate with the things we use on a daily basis to get on with our modern, interconnected 21st century lives.

And at the foundation of every new groundbreaking device or service sits a material that made it all possible.

For thousands of years, humanity toiled with a relatively limited range of naturally occurring, mechanically, or chemically refined metals.

Today, as technological development is hitting its evolutionary stride, this new generation of materials is doing the very same thing from behind the scenes.

So you won’t see the Elon Musk of Tesla or Tim Cook of Apple raving about it at the next big product launch, but the long-term implications of what is now looking like a golden age in super-materials design and discovery will prove to be far greater and farther-reaching.

Fortune favors the bold,

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Alex Koyfman

follow basic@AlexKoyfman on Twitter

Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex’s specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.http://www.wealthdaily.com/editors/alex-koyfman?r=1

Source: Will County News