Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Chicago reporters broke the story wide open. Mayor Lightfoot went to New York!

Jet-setters? Really?
Chicago's ace political reporters, Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times and wing-nut Kristen McQueary of the Trib, broke the story wide open. It's all about Lori Lightfoot, the city's first black, gay, woman mayor and it's a doozie.

No, she didn't close 50 public schools or cover up a police murder, like her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel. No, she didn't sell off the Skyway or the city's parking meter business for pennies on the dollar like Mayor Daley. No, it's worse. So much worse.

You see, Lightfoot WENT TO NEW YORK, home of the hated Mets and Yankees, raised big money for city projects, Democrats and LGBTQ causes and then, wait for it... she went on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. 

She told the donors the Democratic 2020 presidential contenders have to put more on the table than just being anti-President Donald Trump. 

She got that right.
The mayor said in her DNC speech, “I’m proposing that we pledge to work together to defend our democracy, promote equality for all, and refashion the values that our movement forged so many years ago after Stonewall.
“Let’s stand together, stick together, and work together for justice of every description. Racial justice. Gender justice. Immigrant justice. Economic justice. Environmental justice.”
The Horror...

According to Lynn Sweet who sat in Colbert's audience,
 The audience of about 420 in the Ed Sullivan Theater, where Colbert is taped, gave Lightfoot a standing ovation after Colbert introduced her. They laughed at his jokes — and hers.
But McQueary, who once famously editorialized for a Mussolini-type dictator to run Chicago schools and prayed for a Hurricane Katrina to ravage the city, wasn't impressed:
Most Chicagoans didn’t expect Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and non-fashionista, to be popping up in their Instagram feeds. But there she is draped in Oprah’s embrace in the foyer of the media mogul’s estimated $90 million mansion.
 But it is surprising to see Lightfoot, four weeks on the job, already hopping on and off airplanes...We’ve got plenty of problems in Chicago. They don’t require commercial airline travel. 
Actually, hopping on and off an airplane is not easy. Try it some time, Kristen.

Spielman, a born-again Lightfoot hater, then echoes McQuery,
Four weeks after taking office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already stumbled in a way that might make it a bit more difficult for her to govern. From going to war with a police union that didn’t trust her to begin with, to hobnobbing with Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Colbert during fundraising trips to both coasts, Lightfoot appears to be repeating some of her predecessor’s early mistakes.
Then she sings a Daley praise...
 What former Mayor Richard M. Daley knew in his soul, but Emanuel never took to heart, is that Chicagoans believe the sun rises and sets in Chicago. 
She does have a point there. The sun does rise each morning and set each evening in our fair city. Doesn't mean we have to spend each day of our lives here, however.

Then for a topper, Spielman charges LL with spanking Eddie Burke publicly and having a nasty exchange with leaders of the Fascist Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). You know, the ones that supported Jon Burge and his torturing Midnight Crew.

It's about time someone took 'em on.

Nice work, Fran and Kristen. Could be story of the year. I see Pulitzers in your future.

Monday, June 17, 2019


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a plaque marking the location of the newest settlement in the Golan Heights on Sunday.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 
"Mr. President, you're from Queens. You may fool the rest of the country, but I'll call your bluff any day of the week."  -- Newsweek
"There's never been a time in the history of our country where somebody was so mistreated as I have been." -- Interview with George Stephanopoulos
Eliot Higgins, of the investigative group, BellingCat
While we cannot be sure whether this is a Gulf of Tonkin-style incident, we can say for certain this is not the slam-dunk evidence that some would like to claim it is. -- New York Times
Baltimore police Sgt. Ethan Newberg
After more officers arrived, Dotson struggled with the sequence of events and asked why he was being taken to jail. “Just go to jail and take your charge like a man,” Newberg called out. -- Washington Post
Political analyst Don Rose
 As we approach next week's Democratic debates, recent polling shows that despite Joe Biden's consistent double-digit lead, a majority of Democratic voters prefers a clear-cut progressive rather than a mainstream, institutional liberal candidate as personified by the former veep. -- Chicago Daily Observer 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Clock is ticking for victims of Rahm's closing of mental health clinics.

Dr. Leticia Villarreal Sosa, a clinical social worker and professor of social work at Dominican University, said at Thursday’s forum, “It has been difficult to account for what has happened to those folks who were receiving services at clinics that were closed, and what has happened to people who are continuing to need access to services.”
Time is running out for many of the victims of Rahm Emanuel's closing of our mental health clinics seven years ago. Many have already fallen through the cracks as public health care becomes less and less accessible. Now is the time to reopen the clinics.

More than half of the city’s mental health clinics were shut down in 2012, "leaving a void in parts of the city most susceptible to trauma", according to a report from last year.  Rahm also used the closings as a union-busting tactic.

Many of us took to the streets back then to protest the closings. We were met with abuse from the mayor who screamed at protest leaders, "You will respect me" (laughing as I write this).

In January, the City Council established a task force, led by Ald. Sophia King, to "take a hard look" the situation. But now it's June and still no movement to reopen the clinics. Enough with the hard looks. There's already an abundance of evidence showing the need and the community is demanding that the clinics and other cut social services be reestablished.

Now there just needs to be some will and determination on the part of our new city leaders.

Rahm's Health Commissioner Julie Morita is one of those who's been trying to prevent the reopening. All those clinics means more work, "more fires to put out" for the bureaucracy, claimed Morita. What nonsense! But she's on her way out the door this month, leaving it open for the mayor to replace her with someone who takes the task seriously.

I'm hoping this won't be another one of those four-year ramp-ups, like the $15 minimum wage.

Clock is ticking.

Monday, June 10, 2019


D.T.: "Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” -- Vox

Author, Rebecca Solnit
In my own dreams of educational reform, there’s a curriculum focused on how to research anything and check everything, how to understand what is and isn’t substantiated by the facts, when you do and don’t have the evidence to draw a conclusion, and how to live with the uncertainty and mystery that abound in all of us. -- The Curious Case of Elizabeth Warren and the "Charter School Lobbyist" Who Wasn't
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)
“Everybody makes mistakes and when you make a mistake or someone else makes a mistake, then you are not above apologizing to those people. Somebody’s got to apologize. I accept that role. Lori doesn’t need it, but because it may help somebody to resolve conflict, I apologize." -- Sun-Times
Natalia Salgado, senior political strategist with the Center for Popular Democracy
“What I have seen from Joe Biden is that he is running a campaign reminiscent of 1992 or 1993, the courting of the suburban white voter." -- Latino leaders sound alarms over Trump reelection in 2020
Fred Klonsky
 Waiting, waiting, waiting for the next person to tell me about too generous teacher pensions. -- Blog post

Sunday, June 9, 2019

After Rahm's legacy tour, he heads for Wall Street

The elite get all the breaks and are shown all the shortcuts. In the meantime, ordinary people are forced to pay full freight. -- Rahm Emanuel in The Atlantic
Rahm’s announcement of his new Wall Street gig comes on the heels of his phony legacy tour where he tried, with lots of media help, to rebrand his term in Chicago as a “progressive” era of good governance. It included this piece of centrist populism in the Atlantic where Rahm fakes a hit on "American elites" but actually goes after the growing "socialist" insurgency within the Democratic Party.

As many of us expected it would, the story ends with Mayor 1% laughing and flashing his middle finger at all of us as he boards his limo to the Wall Street investment firm Centerview Partners LLC, whose leaders are mainly Rahm cronies and campaign donors. They include Centerview founder Blair Effron, who contributed $61,500 to the former mayor’s campaign fund, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who has donated more than $70,000 to Emanuel’s campaign, and Robert Pruzan, another Centerview founder and Rahm pal for the past 20 years.

This so-called "boutique" investment firm Centerview (centrist Democrats -- get it?) is one of the most profitable on Wall Street. The company brags on its website that it has advised on nearly $3 trillion worth of transactions.

In 2014, Centerview served as an adviser to Time Warner on its proposed merger with Comcast that drew opposition from many who argued the deal would hurt consumers.

According to the Tribune, Emanuel penned an August 2014 letter to the FCC, encouraging regulators to support the deal, writing on city of Chicago letterhead that he believed the proposed merger would not “reduce choice, elevate prices or otherwise harm customers.”

Good riddance, we hope, to all that.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The mayor's current school board is a good one. How do we move on to an elected board?

The new board. 
Mayor Lightfoot has chosen some excellent people to fill the seats on the new Board of Education. It's a board that's dominated by progressives, including parents, ed activists and people, like Board Pres. Miguel del Valle, who see themselves as interim members until an elected board can be put in place.

What a change from the previous regime! No cronies or puppets on this board. As far as I can tell, no profiteers like Deborah Quazzo, using the board to enrich themselves. It's a board composed entirely of people of color and women. No white men. What a radical breach from the Chicago machine days.

As for Rep. Martwick's current Elected School Board bill, which was written without any input from the mayor, it is dead in the water. The start date under HB2267 is 2023, 4 yrs from now, at the end of Lightfoot’s first term, and it requires reauthorization even then. The coalition of ed activists, including RYH and the CTU, who drafted the bill, will have to go back to the drawing board and take into account the mayor's objections to the unwieldy size of the proposed board. Until then, the legislature isn't foolish enough to go against Chicago's first black, gay, woman mayor,  a mayor that has just won a landslide election and carried all 50 Chicago wards.

In remarks to the Sun-Times, del Valle raised the possibility that an elected board could be installed much more quickly than the four-year timeframe proposed in State Rep. Robert Martwick’s bill.
The current bill might have already been passed except for the fact that it's fatally flawed and even if passed, wouldn't take effect for four years or more. So we need a new bill that is reflective of the changes in the city and state political climate since the election.

Rahm Emanuel was the mayor and Republican Bruce Rauner was the governor. Some drafters of the current bill have admitted to me that the four-year ramp was the result of a compromise, a bone thrown to Rahm/Rauner. But they're both gone now. So a new compromise is in order if and when an elected board bill can be passed.

Unfortunately, some CTU leaders have turned their guns on Lightfoot over the issue. One goes so far as to claim that we don't need a good appointed board and that the mayor's new "okay" board is only a ruse, an attempt to pacify us and kill their elected school board bill.

Makes me wonder whether these union leaders are more interested in scoring some political points against a mayor they opposed in a vitriolic campaign, than they are in passing ESRB legislation? Some unity building is badly needed here. Let's see who's up to the task.

We'll be talking all about the mayor's board picks and an elected school board tomorrow, 11-noon on Hitting Left with the Klonsky Bros with in-studio guests Curtis Black and Jacqueline Serrato Flores from the Chicago Reporter. Tune in 11-noon CDT to WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago. Streaming live at www.lumpenradio.com

Monday, June 3, 2019


Ald. Maldonado
Ald. Robert Maldonado, new chair of the Latino Caucus
“Some of our communities are being completely gentrified. We need to stop that, we need to slow it down.” -- WBEZ
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
"This awful, untrue line got boo'ed for a full minute. John Delaney, thank you but please sashay away." -- The Hill
Howie Klein
Maybe the tent really is too big. If it's big enough for John Bel Edwards to be stinking it up from the inside, why would a normal Democrat even want to be inside it? -- Crooks & Liars
Elizabeth Warren
 “It’s not just the mass shootings. It’s the ones that never make the headlines. It’s the kids who are shot at the playground, on the sidewalk, in their own homes. Gun violence touches families every day." -- Rolling Stone
Fritz Kaegi after corporate lobbyists kill his reform bill
 “Asking our office to continue using a broken system goes against the reform taxpayers and voters want. Opponents of the bill would prefer we wait longer, knowing that the longer we wait, the less likely the bill is to pass. Delays favor a broken assessment system, however, that prolongs inequality.” -- Tribune
Kevin Durant to rapper Drake
Drake was walking in the tunnel near the Warriors' locker room with his head down when Durant trolled him. "Keep your head up young fella. It's alright, it's ok. We have more games to play." -- ABC 7