Apparently President Obama’s stimulus package could use a stimulus, at least among Republicans. In the meantime:

·       He hasn’t been clamoring for change outside City Hall or Wrigley Field lately, but state senator James Meeks continues to float ideas to boost public school funding. Progress Illinois reports that his latest proposal would close a loophole that lets big retailers keep millions of dollars in state sales taxes they collect.

·       On the subject of tax breaks: even during devastating budget times, governments across the country are finding tax breaks and subsidies for private companies that promise to keep jobs around, according to the Wall Street Journal. The results, as Chicagoans know, are mixed at best.

·        For months, analysts in and beyond Chicago have been debating whether the change ushered into the White House by Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, et al. will be the real deal or a Chicago-style version. Former Chicago city clerk James Laski knows whence they came, and he’s a bit skeptical.

·       Last year, facing a budget hole approaching half a billion dollars, the Daley administration launched a pilot program to see if garbage crews could be reduced from three to two laborers; critics have noted that most other cities use two- or even one-person crews. Facing its own deficit—a comparatively modest $21 million—the city of Toledo, Ohio, is considering a switch to automated trucks and one-person crews or possibly privatizing garbage pickup altogether.

·        Another reason to support efforts large and small to fight climate change: it could leave you without drinking water. A recent study has determined that severe climate change might dry up the Great Lakes.