Pride Sunday.

stonewall riots

Stonewall was a riot, June 28th, 1969.

This week’s drawings:



This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers and Pidgeon Pagonis:

While Anne makes the chicken
I put the Fania All-Stars on the Sonos
and set the table on the back porch.
We sit and eat to the sound
of Willie Colon’s trombone.
Not loud.
But like the music we used to hear from
our neighbors
who provided the salsa for our summer porch dinners.
Now all those neighbors are gone.
So we have to provide it for ourselves.

-F. Klonsky ’17



The Rev. William J. Barber II leading a Bible study at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., last month. Credit Dina Litovsky for The New York Times

With Democrats until recently effectively excluded from official power, the business of pushing back against the conservative revolution has mostly fallen to outside activists — none more so than the Rev. William J. Barber II. The pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, an eastern North Carolina town most famous for its Air Force base and a couple of standout barbecue restaurants, Barber was until this month the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When I met Barber on a Friday night this past winter, he was holed up on the 16th floor of a Marriott in downtown Raleigh. The next morning, he would lead over 80,000 people on a march to the State Capitol; now, as the clock neared midnight, he was working with about a dozen advisers on the speech he would give to that crowd.

Barber is a giant man with sleepy eyes and a permanent hunch — a result of a debilitating arthritic spinal condition. He is sufficiently infirm that he’s uncomfortable sitting or standing, so most of the time he can be found propped up on a stool or leaning on a cane. But when Barber speaks in his rolling baritone, not just at the pulpit or on the Capitol steps but even in casual conversation, his back seems to straighten and his eyes come alive. “One of the great gifts of Pentecost was not that they spoke but that they heard,” Barber said to his advisers, asking them to tell him what he should talk about the next day. “I think about that other text in Isaiah that says, ‘Oh Lord, open my ears every morning that I might hear and that I might have the tongue of the learned.’ ” New York Times



School equity? The problem is funding, not formulas.


Democrats in the Illinois state legislature have been focused on the school funding formula for years. One of the leaders in this effort has been Democratic State Senator Andy Manar.

While Illinois state funding for public education ranks among the lowest in the nation, even the state’s progressive elected officials prefer to concede this inadequacy as a permanent feature while debating how to more equitably divide the crumbs.

This is aside from the fact that the current iteration of this plan, Senate Bill 1, would remove direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers from state education funding.

There can be no quality special education instruction without special education teachers.

In a state that supports our children’s public schools based on local property taxes and inadequate state funding, there can be no equity, regardless of the formula.

It is a moral failing of legislators who would rather do nothing to address the racism of current levels of state school funding while making bogus changes to the formula and self-servingly do it in the name of equity.

Sun-Times columnist Phil Kadner explains:

(David) Orr, who publishes property tax rates by community and taxing body on the Cook County Clerk’s Web site, notes that a perfect storm of tax inequities has not only created a problem for south suburban communities but is responsible for what he calls a “taxpayer crisis of confidence” throughout Illinois.

The fact is that while many elected leaders in this state have used voter anger over property taxes to their political advantage, they have done nothing to change a system that is unfair to the poor and middle-class homeowner.

For example, while Rauner has proposed a property tax freeze, he has never embraced the idea of increasing the income tax to the point that it could support public education. Illinois currently funds about 26 percent of the cost of public education, although the state Constitution clearly says it has “primary responsibility” for school funding.

As my friend, special education advocate Bev Johns has said, SB 1 would cost over $6.5 billion today, which will be almost $8 Billion over 10 years. Has anyone presented a plan to increase state school funding by $800 million each and every year for 10 years? The current formulas would do most of what is claimed for SB 1 if the current formulas were funded (the foundation level has been frozen since 2008, not increased in 9 years).

The problem is funding, not formulas.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #21.


I’m back with my brother to co-host this week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers, episode #21.

The guys at Bridgeport coffee noticed I was gone and it’s always nice to be noticed as missing.

We were joined on the show by intersex activist, educator and film maker, Pidgeon Pagonis.

Pidgeon’s own personal story brings to life the oppressive position of intersex folks who are as common in the general population as red heads.

They are born with a mix and a range of male and female components which has historically been treated as something to be fixed by the medical profession.

The fix consists of surgical interventions including genital mutilation.

But intersex requires no medical procedure and is nothing to fix.

While some may view the practice of genital mutilation as something done by others, in other countries and other cultures, Pidgeon points out that as an unnecessary medical procedure, genital mutilation was invented here.

Of course, we got into a discussion of the he/she they/them pronoun, which Pidgeon treats with a combination of good humor and seriousness.

Control of the language, the labels and how those with little or no power define and name themselves is power indeed.

Here is the podcast for listening or downloading.

Best. Show. Ever.


We’re talking gender issues on Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

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In-studio guest Pidgeon Pagonis (left) on the cover of January’s National Geographic.

Friday’s in-studio live guest is Pidgeon Pagonis, intersex activist, academic and artist.

11AM. 105.5FM in Chicago. Streaming live across the galaxies and podcast later in the day on

Coming up on future shows: former leader of the Illinois Bernie Sanders campaign, Clem Balanoff with Amalgamated Transit Union local presidents Keith Hill and Ken Franklin.

We are also talking with gubernatorial candidates Ameya Pawar on June 23rd.