Monday, August 19, 2019


Truckers blocked a highway in Kentucky last week in solidarity with coal miners who were protesting over wages that were left unpaid when a mining company abruptly shut down. (Kristian Thacker for The New York Times)
Perplexed Pizza Hut delivery woman
“I’ve got some pizzas here from Bernie Sanders,” said a perplexed Pizza Hut delivery who pulled up on Friday afternoon. Someone involved with the protest had apparently gotten word about it to someone with the Sanders presidential campaign. -- Harlan County miners block a coal train (NYT)
Borowitz Report
“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale. Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added. -- New Yorker
French Resistance fighter Madeleine Riffaud
"I was just 19 when I cycled up to a German officer and put two bullets in his head". -- The Local
Nikole Hannah-Jones
Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy. -- 1619 Project
Slavery denier, Newt Gingrich

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Environmental Justice: Water crisis in Newark worse than Flint, on Booker/Christie's watch

A pallet of bottled water is delivered to a recreation center, Tuesday in Newark. 

Former Newark Mayor and presidential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker is acting like he just discovered that the lead-contaminated water system has been poisoning the children and families of his city for years. The latest figures from federal observers show that children in Newark's Essex County are in fact nearly four times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels than those in Flint.

Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a dire warning about lead contamination, and New Jersey environmental officials found a problem with “ineffective corrosion treatment” at one of the city’s two water-treatment facilities.

In addition, according testing found that 2 out of 3 filters tested in three Newark homes failed to effectively reduce lead contamination.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Booker called on the federal government to step in.
"Everyone deserves clean, safe water," Booker wrote. "It's shameful that our national crisis of lead-contaminated water disproportionately hits poor black and brown communities like my own."
But where has Booker been up until this past week when the media started shining light on the crisis? He still hasn't taken any responsibility for the problem even though he was Newark's mayor from 2006 to 2013.

Small point...He might have used that $100M he got from Zuckerberg as a start in alleviating the problem instead pissing it away on charter schools.

As The Root reported earlier this year, in an open letter to Donald Trump, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka urged him to spend money on fixing the city’s and the nation’s old water-delivery systems, rather than a border wall.

Former Gov. Chris Christie was even worse. He actively covered up the crisis and downplayed the need for federal intervention.

The Klonsky Bros. will be talking environmental justice and toxic racism tomorrow, 11-noon CT, on Hitting Left with Chicago socialist alderman, Byron Sigcho and Juliana Pino, policy director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. Tune in to WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago and streaming live on lumpenradio.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ald. La Spata needs to dump Moreno's plan for Von Humboldt School

Von Humboldt closed in 2013 when the district shuttered 50 schools. In July of 2015, IFF (formerly known as Illinois Facilities Fund) bought the school for about $3.1 million 
This from Mina Bloom at Block Club Chicago:
Nearly 200 Humboldt Park residents, teachers and teacher advocates packed into the Von Humboldt Elementary School auditorium this week to weigh in on a long-stalled plan to turn the shuttered school into an apartment complex geared toward teachers. At the chaotic two-hour-long meeting Monday night, the majority of residents who spoke during public comment lambasted the developer behind the project, East Coast-based RBH Group, and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st). 
They took turns slamming the project, saying it doesn’t address Humboldt Park’s gentrification-fueled displacement problem and that teachers won’t be able to afford the apartments. Some said they’d much rather see officials reopen the school, which closed in 2013 when the district closed a record 50 schools.
“We would like to see the school be back open,” local teacher Jhoanna Maldonado said to cheers. “Whether there’s 10 kids, 100 kids or 2,000 kids in this neighborhood — every kid should deserve to go to their neighborhood school. If that’s not the case, it should be housing for families who have been displaced from our neighborhoods.”

 My note this morning to Ald. La Spata...
I'm surprised to hear that you are continuing your corrupt predecessor's backing for the Von Humboldt condo plan. The current version of plan was originally part of a deal indicted Ald. Joe Moreno worked out with RBH developers, a self-interested community group [that used to oppose gentrification], and with Teach for America (TFA) to house charter school teachers contracted to CPS to replace those lost to Rahm's mass school closings. Once media caught wind of it, the charter school plan was dropped and shifted to this so-called "teachers housing" scheme. It should be rejected and the building used for public good, including a new smaller public school.
Side note... RBH announced back in April, that it started a $700 million fund to invest in Teachers Village projects in Opportunity Zones. The firm already has developed a Teachers Village in Newark, New Jersey. It includes three charter schools, a daycare center, apartments and more than 70,000 square feet of retail. 
Ald. La Spata responded promptly:
It seems there’s still a lot of misinformation out there on what this project is. I’ll make sure to respond later with more details.
Thank you for the quick response, Alderman. And thanks for opening this up for community debate and discussion. I look forward to continuing the conversation. I trust you will do the right thing.

Monday, August 12, 2019


In the wake of the largest U.S. immigration raid in a decade, educators in Mississippi this week were left to console and support children with detained parents.
Celina Moreno, the president of Intercultural Development Research Assoc.
It's a time for schools to proclaim very loudly that all of their students are valuable ... that they're not expendable and their families are not expendable. School districts should also develop emergency plans so they're not left scrambling if an immigration raid leaves children traumatized or homeless. -- Edweek
Steve Bannon
"President Trump is not a racist." -- Interview. Then ["Grits ain't grocery, eggs ain't poultry..." -- Little Milton].
Joe Biden
"Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” -- Town hall in DesMoines
Beto O'Rourke on Trump's Epstein-conspiracy theory
"He’s changing the conversation if we allow him to do that then we will never be able to focus on the true problem, of which he is a part." -- The Hill

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Dystopian Vision Of American Education

In the wake of the latest wave of politically-driven, mostly white, male supremacist terrorism that left at least 31 dead in El Paso and Dayton, Trump and the Republicans are scrambling to create a narrative that acquits them and their leadership of culpability and collusion in the bloody affair.

In the past few days, the GOP line has shifted blame away from Trump's demagogic violent appeals to his racist supporters, on to the mentally ill, video games, and "fake news".

That was exactly the imagery laid out in the El Paso shooter's "manifesto".

Their narrative portrays America as a holy battlefield in a war in defense of white, christian values and a future of Republican political power.

It now includes a dystopian vision of schools as armed camps with gun-toting teachers, cops and militia surrounding school buildings and waiting for the invading enemy of infidels to make their next move.

This represents a giant-step past their previous neoliberal vision of school "choice".

Their current line was best articulated by Trump adviser Sean Hannity yesterday. The Fox News host is calling for a volunteer army of armed ex-cops and soldiers that would be “everywhere.”
"I'd like to see the perimeter of every school in America surrounded, secured by retired police ... have one armed guard on every floor of every school, all over every mall, the perimeter and inside every hall of every mall."
“Every school,” Hannity said. “Secure the perimeter of those schools. Equip them with retired police and military, they should be on every floor of every school.”
There are close to 100,000 public and 35,000 private K-12 schools in the United States so a force large enough to “surround the perimeter” and be on each floor would require several hundred thousand people, if not more. -- Huffington Post

Aside from the fascist, police state implications, school safety and curricular issues involved in all this, Hannity's plan leaves me wondering how it matches up with veteran cops' view of their own retirement. 

I may be wrong, but I can't imagine that hundreds of thousands of veteran 1st-responders are dreaming about spending their golden years guarding the perimeters of schools and shopping malls for no pay, instead of fishing or hanging out with the grand kids. 

Deplorables are jumping for joy at the reports that the Dayton shooter wasn't a Trump-supporting white supremacist. But I don't see why they're so happy. Here's an early report on what motivated this 2nd-Amendment gun freak.

Arm this guy with a military-style assault weapon? Great say Republicans.

Monday, August 5, 2019


Beto O’Rourke

...asked by a reporter on Sunday what President Donald Trump can do "to make this any better".
"What do you think? You know the shit he's been saying," said O'Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don't know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? Hold on a second. You know, I—it's these questions that you know the answers to." 
"I mean, connect the dots about what he's doing in this country," O'Rourke continued. "He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country. So, you know, I just—I don't know what kind of question that is." 
Sandra Beyda-Lorie, dean of the College of Education at NIU
“Stagnant salaries that have not kept pace with other professions, under-resourced schools that contribute to stressful working conditions and the climate of teacher bashing." -- WBEZ
 Angry Dayton, OH crowd to Republican Gov. DeWine
"Do something...“We are tired of vigils!”...“What do we want? Gun control! When do we want it? Now!” -- Washington Post
NYT Editorial
White supremacy, in other words, is a violent, interconnected transnational ideology. Its adherents are gathering in anonymous, online forums to spread their ideas, plotting attacks and cheering on acts of terrorism. -- We Have a White Nationalist Problem
Trump obfuscates
“If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness. These are really people that are very seriously mentally ill. -- Slate

Monday, July 29, 2019


THE REAL RATS IN BALTIMORE...Wells Fargo Bank first pushed sub-prime mortgages on thousands of working-class, black families in Baltimore (referred to as "Mud People" by loan officers), then foreclosed on their homes. 

Baltimore Sun Editorial
It was only surprising that there wasn’t room for a few classic phrases like “you people” or “welfare queens” or “crime-ridden ghettos” or a suggestion that the congressman “go back” to where he came from. -- Better to have a few rats than to be one
Jonathan Kinloch, Democratic chairman of MI’s 13th Cong Dist
“We can’t make the same mistake Hillary made in 2016 and assume that because Donald Trump is such a vile candidate, that black people will rise up and just zombie to the polls.” -- Tribune
Simon Moya-Smith
This country has always had the capacity for cruelty, and has often acted on that capacity with the flag in one hand and the Bible in the other. -- Think
Alaina Hampton
“We are witnessing what appears to be the condoning of inappropriate behavior, which will continue to silence victims and perpetuate a culture of sexism. Speaker Madigan's organization’s used to be able to get away with this type of corruption, but this time everyone is watching.” -- IL Playbook

IL Appellate Judge Michael B. Hyman
 “Taking together the text of our constitution and its historical interpretation by our supreme court, we conclude that the Illinois Constitution requires, in the ordinary case, a warrant to issue before an arrest can be made. Arrests based on investigative alerts violate that rule.” -- Injustice Watch