The GOP moderate. His candidacy should terrify you.

John Kasich

-By Phil Arway. Phil is a retired Columbus Ohio high school teacher and life-long Irish freedom activist.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, is the quintessential establishment Republican candidate for President. His six years as Governor of Ohio has taught him to balance his conservative philosophy with governing a “purple state.”  His candidacy should terrify the Democrats.

There is no question in my mind that he would easily carry Ohio for the Republicans in 2016 if they chose to nominate him. There is also no question in my mind that, short of a political lobotomy, the GOP will not pick Kasich.

But having said that, if they did, it would be virtually impossible to defeat him.  New York Times endorsed Kasich because he seems the most moderate of the GOP candidates, “Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, though a distinct underdog, is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race.”    

From our perspective in Ohio living with Kasich as governor for six years and a ten term member of Congress from central Ohio, we know he is a conservative, but he also came from an ethnic (Slovak-Croatian) working-class family.  

While in Congress, Kasich (a super-hawk) had no problem working with Ron Dellums (D-Oakland Ca) to eliminate the B-2 bomber. Kasich also worked with Ralph Nader to eliminate corporate tax loopholes. He received an F rating from the NRA, at least one of the years he was in Congress.

He is not the run-of-the-mill Republican. The NRA endorsed incumbent-Democrat Ted Strickland in the 2010 Ohio Gubernatorial election over Kasich.  

Kasich won governorshp and promptly overreached. He attempted to pass a controversial anti-Union smorgasbord called SB5. It outlawed collective bargaining and strikes by Teachers, Nurses, Firefighters and police. Kasich who won 1,880,000 votes in his race for governor, was slapped down the following year, when 2,200,000 Ohioans voted against Issue2 and repealed the antiunion SB5  law.  Nurses, teachers, police, firefighters joined forces and with the support of all organized labor (from the IWW to AFL-CIO), Ohio did what Wisconsin failed to do!  They put the anti-union crowd in their place! Kasich backed away from the anit-Union campaigns (including Right To Work) after the Issue 2/SB5 fiasco. When faced with the deadline for implementing Medicaid expansion (Affordable Care Act) and failing to get his Republican leadership in the legislature to go along, Kasich tripled the size of the Ohio Medicaid program through Executive Order.  

When asked about Right To Work, “We don’t have any disruptive labor situations” in Ohio, so a push for right-to-work isn’t necessary, he told an Cincinnati Enquirer reporter.

NO Republican has EVER been elected President without Ohio. The only Democrats ever to win without Ohio were JFK(1960), FDR (1944) and Grover Cleveland.

A critical look at edTPA.

I just received word from Diane Horwitz that the program at DePaul has had such enthusiastic feedback that they have had to move to a larger room. They had been previously booked solid. Now a few more seats have opened up.

Still, you should RSVP if you are planning on attending.

Winter 2016 forum flyer

Random Thoughts. The Sun-Times turns on Rauner.


The Chicago Sun-Times blasted the Governor in an editorial this morning.

Many of the items in their long list of Rauner failures hit the nail on the head.

But the subtext is this: You’re doing this all wrong.

I do take some satisfaction in this falling out among thieves.

I recall that the Sun-Times broke with its policy of not making political endorsements for the single purpose of endorsing Bruce Rauner.

The Sun-Times publisher even fired its Springfield reporter, Dave Mckinney, just prior to the endorsement for writing a story exposing Rauner’s shady business dealings.

Fine. If the rats are deserting a sinking ship, let ’em jump.

Says the Sun-Times editors:

The fair assumption is that Rauner’s real motivation is to push the schools into bankruptcy to break the teachers’ union. If so, he will fail. But he is driving folks not entirely sympathetic to unions — folks such as Madigan — further into their corner.

If you’re going to go after the teachers union, don’t do it with tactics that actually build support for the teachers, for chrisakes.

Rauner’s polling numbers are sinking to Blago levels in a race to the bottom with his wine drinking pal, Mayor Rahm.

Yet there remains no budget deal and people are hurting and we have three more years of the governor the Sun-Times wanted.

Sorry is not enough.

Marcus Crassus, Bruce Rauner and the turnaround agenda.

John Dillon

-By John Dillon. John blogs at Pension Vocabulary

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115 – 53 BC) early on recognized his enormous wealth could buy him an army and quite possibly the consulship of ancient Rome.  In fact, his military victories over rivals and enemies allowed the proscription (seizure) of their assets for his own – a swift kind of vulture capitalism with a sword.

In Robert Harris’ historical narrative Imperium, Cicero recalls how the savvy Crassus lined the pockets of his close friends by sending teams of slaves into burning neighborhoods and offering to buy the owners’ endangered homes for next to nothing.  When the owners agreed and ran away with their belongings, teams of slaves with water pumps would arrive and quench the flames.  The buildings could then be sold to friends at a profit but still cheap enough to provide for their own later fiscal enhancement.

…Like promising to declare bankruptcy once one takes over the Chicago Public Schools while CPS is desperately seeking bond purchases to pay for much-needed cash.  The resultant jump in interest rates will cost the taxpayers dearly but earn capitally for fellow investors. Ironically, just like 73 BC, in 2016 AD it’s good to have friends in high places; but the repeating of history can also have its darker and quirkier sides.

For while Marcus Crassus hoped to be named singular consul of Rome, the highest political office of the state upon his return from various victories, he was instead forced to share that power with his most-hated rival Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus), who upon return to Rome declared his own victories surpassing those of Crassus’.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  All we need at this point is a Turnaround Agenda…

But if past is indeed prologue, can we expect much to happen differently when Governor Rauner takes the podium – one week after Obama’s return to Springfield and the President’s call for a cessation of partisan bickering – to give his annual State of the Budget speech to the General Assembly?

Probably not one iota (sorry, it’s a Greek theme – so, blame the Field Museum).

During his campaign to become Governor, it is estimated Rauner personally spent nearly $36 per vote (or nearly $24 million of his own wealth in the last three months of his race for the gubernatorial race).  By the way, according to Rauner that would be less than 5% of his assets.

“Overall, Rauner’s campaign spent $65.3 million since it began in March 2013, and the Republican received more than 1.8 million votes in his general election victory compared with nearly 1.7 million votes for Quinn, who was seeking a second elected term. That translates to $35.83 per vote for Rauner…The documents also showed Rauner raising more than $40 million the last three months of 2014, including $22 million from Oct. 1 to Election Day.

Of that $22 million raised, Rauner accounted for nearly $13.5 million out of his own pocket. That amounted to nearly half the $27.6 million in personal funds Rauner contributed.

Since winning election, Rauner has given his campaign fund an additional $10 million in personal funds and two wealthy allies, hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin and businessman Richard Uihlein, combined for another $10 million. The $20 million is aimed at helping promote Rauner’s still-unstated agenda as governor and helping buttress Republican state lawmakers to support it.”

Read the entire post here.

She’s busy, but Randi still makes time for Hillary.

AFT President Randi Weingarten, a Facebook friend, commented on a post of mine supporting Bernie Sanders:

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I’m not sure at the end of what day Randi is talking about.

I certainly understand how busy the AFT President must be, flying around the country, defending public education and stuff.

I would never expect someone of her stature to have time to do the back and forth with me.

She does seem to have time to constantly tweet and post on Facebook for Hillary in between her defending public education.

Here’s one just a few minutes ago.

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On the eve of the Pope’s visit to Mexico, Ayotzinapa is back in the news.

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On the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in Mexico, the issue of the 43 disappeared students from Iguala is back in news.

There are reports that the Pope will meet with the parents of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students during his trip, possibly in Ciudad Juarez on February 17. Ciudad Juarez is just across the river from El Paso, Texas.


The Mexican Office of the Attorney General of the Republic responded to the latest report by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team by reiterating its stated commitment to solving the case of the 43 forcibly disappeared students from the Ayotzinapa teachers training college. It insists the case “was not closed.”

The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, known as EAAF, said Tuesday that, contrary to the much-derided official version of events that said the students’ bodies were taken to Cocula garbage dump and burned, there was no scientific evidence linking the human remains found in dump with the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

In light of the report by the EAAF, relatives of the forcibly disappeared students have demanded President Enrique Peña Nieto and his government provide answers.

Mexico’s Attorney General Arely Gomez said her office would analyze the report by the EAAF, but that they would wait until a report by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts.

That group issued a scathing report last year that also strongly disputed the official version of events.

Gomez has repeatedly told relatives that the case remained open and that the government was pursuing “new lines of investigation” in the case of the 43 forcibly disappeared students.

However, little progress in the case has been made as the remains of the missing students have yet to be found.

Relatives of the missing students, along with experts supporting the investigation are set to meet with officials on February 18th.

CTU responds to yesterday’s massive cuts.

20333086633_e38299e134_o-772x485Photo: Catalyst

-From the Chicago Teachers Union

“The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has worked for more than a year seeking a serious contract offer from Chicago Public Schools. After just three weeks of negotiations, the district made an offer that relied on a reduction of more than 2,000 educators from the system, made no provision against subsequent ballooning class sizes and included nothing but the vaguest indicators of where new revenue would be found. More importantly, the terms of that offer would not have impacted the current school year or existing school budgets in any way, so we find CPS’ reduction in school budgets by $120 million unnecessary and completely retaliatory, and not at all evident of some urgent crisis in our schools.

“Now that the district has finally begun negotiating in earnest, the CTU will continue to work toward a contract that will address the daily challenges faced by both students and educators, and also address the long-term fiscal crisis that threatens to gut public education in the city of Chicago. The CTU also has requested a school-by-school breakdown of today’s budget adjustments to examine which communities are most impacted by the cuts, and whether attacks from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education will continue to be centered on low-income, African-American and Latino communities.”

The Sun-Times has the school-by-school dollar reductions, but not the cuts to school positions.

Random thoughts. Clinton’s defeat and Randi’s explanation.


Last night AFT Randi Weingarten had some explaining to do.

Both national teacher unions decided to make early no-strings endorsements of Hillary Clinton. For the second week in a row it looks like they bet on the wrong horse.

Last night in New Hampshire Sanders beat Hillary by more than 20%.

Weingarten ran to Twitter.

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I posted this tweet on Facebook.

It was met with mocking and angry responses from many of my AFT friends.

Weingarten might just as well blame Clinton’s loss on Bernie’s lock on the socialist, secular Jewish voting bloc in New Hampshire.

Many of us questioned Randi’s claim that Bernie was hugely outspent in New Hampshire given that Clinton has raised millions from her friends in the donor class.

Randi commented back.

Fred-you’ll see the spending in NH…Bernie won big tonite-I still think is is the person who can get things done… One would have thought the Bernie supporters would be gracious in victory tonite:)

We may well see. But we don’t see it now. The claim of Clinton being hugely outspent is a claim without evidence.

Both unions endorsed Hillary based on two related arguments.

Her election was inevitable and we should be in at the beginning so that we can be at the table to influence her political positions.

Both justifications have been shown to be wrong.

Her nomination is not inevitable. It is very much in doubt.

And whatever turn towards progressive politics she might be making is in response to the power of the Sanders base – young and female – that is showing up in Iowa, New Hampshire and in the polls. Sanders is ahead, even or close in many national polls.