Rauner’s labor board ruling on AFSCME. Do you believe in magic, coincidences and Santa Claus?

In his continuing attempts at destroying public employee collective bargaining in Illinois Governor Rauner, announced that negotiations between him and the union representing state employees, AFSCME, had reached an impasse following his last and final offer of a four year wage freeze.

AFSCME filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County circuit court seeking an injunction to block Rauner from imposing the contract on state workers.

A ruling from the judge had been expected Monday afternoon. It was expected the judge would rule in favor of state workers.

Suddenly, early yesterday, the Rauner-friendly Illinois Labor Relations Board issued a ruling favoring the Governor.

The governor’s office argued that the ILRB ruling made any court ruling moot.

AFSCME will appeal the ruling in a Chicago state appellate court.

(AFSCME’s Anders)Lindall said the union found it “more than coincidental” that the labor board “suddenly” issued its written decision about the time a circuit court was “set to block the Rauner administration from illegally moving forward” on implementation of contract provisions.

Melissa Mlynski, executive director of the labor relations board, said the board’s timing had nothing to do with the St. Clair County case, and it was “absolutely” a coincidence that the written decision came on a day an order was expected from that southern Illinois court.

Do you believe in coincidences? Magic?

Santa Claus?

Blaming teachers. I am a “negative demographic change.” I ain’t dead yet.


Standing among the Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors at the Field Museum, created for the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210 BCE. He’s dead and I’m not, making me a negative demographic change

I had some time on my hands this afternoon after coming back from seeing the amazing terra cotta warriors from China at the Field museum.

Because of that extra time I got into a Twitter debate with some folks about teacher blaming and shaming.

Three of them blamed teachers for electing Trump. We were blamed on two counts: We don’t teach civics well enough.

And 1 in 5 teachers are estimated to have voted for Trump.

I agree that the 20% of our profession that voted for the guy should be ashamed of themselves.

But that means 80% of us teachers didn’t vote for Trump. I only know of a couple of demographic groups with a better voting number against Trump than that.

When I responded with that I was told I wasn’t being reflective enough.

Sorry. I’ll try harder.

Then I read from Greg Hinz in Crain’s that the pension problem exists because not enough teachers are dead yet.

We are what is now called a “negative demographic change.”

Teachers are to blame for this too. Not the failure of the state to pay what they owe for over 7 decades.


From my point of view it is a positive demographic change. Particularly because, for the time being, it includes me.

And I’m not sorry.

Politico: Where Betsy gives her money.


Reposted from Politico’s Morning Education:

By Michael Stratford | 12/05/2016 10:00 AM EDT

With help from Caitlin Emma and Benjamin Wermund

WHERE BETSY AND DICK DEVOS HAVE FUNNELED THEIR PHILANTHROPY: Beyond the millions of dollars that the DeVos family has spent bankrolling Republican candidates across the country, Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, also have given away tens of millions of dollars of their fortune through a philanthropic foundation they started in 1989.

Much of the billionaire couple’s charitable giving reflects their conservative political views and Christian beliefs – and looking at where they’ve chosen to funnel money may also offer some clues about the causes that Betsy DeVos may seek to champion as Donald Trump’s education secretary.

The foundation’s most recent tax forms, which were completed several weeks ago and obtained by POLITICO after a request, show that the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 2015 doled out more than $10 million to a wide range of organizations – and pledged an additional $3.2 million in grants to be paid out in future years. Here are some of the highlights:

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation approved $400,000 in funding for Loudspeaker Media Inc., helping former CNN anchor Campbell Brown launch her education site, The 74. Brown said recently that she’d recuse herself from editorial involvement of her site’s coverage of DeVos. A couple of days before that decision, however, Brown authored an op-ed for The 74 that praised DeVos. The foundation also gave $400,000 to Brown’s nonprofit, The Partnership for Educational Justice.

Success Academy Charter Schools received $150,000 from the foundation in 2015, with another $150,000 approved for future payment. The New York City charter school chain’s founder, Eva Moskowitz, who was also considered for Trump’s Education secretary, tweeted that she was “thrilled” about DeVos as the pick. The DeVos Family Foundation also donated $5,000 to GREAAT Schools, Inc., a non-profit charter school management company.

The Potter’s House, a Christian school in Grand Rapids, Mich., received $200,000 from the foundation in 2015. In an interview with Philanthropy Roundtable, Betsy DeVos, who hails from Michigan, credited her visit to the school several decades ago as helping to spark her interest in school choice advocacy.

– The couple gave $100,000 to the nonprofit Alliance for School Choice, which works closely with the American Federation for Children, of which DeVos recently stepped down as chair. DeVos has also sat on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which was founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The foundation gave the group $50,000.

Conservative organizations: Betsy DeVos sits on the board of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy. In 2015 her family foundation donated $750,000 to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank – and approved another $1 million in future funding for it. In addition, the DeVos’ foundation donated $10,000 to Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law firm that has funded school choice lawsuits across the country, and $6,500 to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc., a group that promotes conservative viewpoints on college campuses.

– Colleges and universities: University of Maryland College Park Foundation, which has an arts management institute named after the DeVoses, received $500,000. The School of Missionary Aviation Technology, which offers undergraduate certificates in aircraft maintenance and flight and whose goal “is to equip men and women to serve God in mission aviation,” received $150,000, with another $100,000 approved. Ferris State University, a public school in Michigan, received $113,500. Davenport University , a private nonprofit school in Michigan, got $55,000, with another $100,000 approved. In addition: Rollins College ($50,000); Calvin College, Betsy DeVos’ undergraduate alma mater ($35,000); Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ($10,000); the University of Michigan’s Food Allergy Center ($10,000); Grand Rapids Community College Foundation ($5,000); Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical Center ($500); and Wake Forest University ($250).

The couple donated to a wide range of Christian-related education groups, such as the Grand Rapids Christian School Association ($350,000); the Ada Christian School Society ($50,000), the Rehoboth Christian School Association ($10,000), and Christian Schools International ($1,000).

The DeVos’ foundation also donated to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ($250,000), where Betsy DeVos previously served on the board; ArtPrize Grand Rapids ($400,000), an art festival found by the family; the Boy Scouts of America ($305,000); the Xprize Foundation ($1.8 million) and a number of Christian ministries, churches and pro-life groups. Read the full list here.

Chicago’s retiree health care crisis for those the Mayor calls “entrenched interests.”


Last November I posted Jeff Johnson’s letter to the Mayor. He represents those the Mayor calls “entrenched interests.”

In less than a month 10,000 Chicago retired workers will have their health care insurance terminated by the City of Chicago.

Rahm calls it a blow against entrenched interests.

During his Oct. 11 budget address to the City Council, Emanuel lumped the phaseout of the retiree health care subsidy into the pot of “tough decisions” he has made to cut the city’s structural deficit by 80 percent.

“How did we get this done? We took on entrenched interests in some cases and inertia in the system in others that were preventing us from making some tough decisions and common sense choices,” the mayor said on that day. “We saved $100 million in health care costs, and our employee health care budget is level with 2011.”

Me? I call the City’s one-percent the entrenched interests. The Zells, the Pritzkers, Christopher Kennedy – people like that for whom health insurance isn’t really a problem.

Not a 75-year old retiree who worked for 30 years at Streets and San and isn’t Medicare eligible.

But that’s the difference between Rahm and me.

Fran Spielman lays it out in today’s Sun-Times.

Standing Rock Tribe’s Chairman David Archambault II statement on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to not grant easement.



“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.

Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.”

Sunday mishmosh.


2000 U.S. veterans arrive in Standing Rock.

Matthew Crane, a 32-year-old Navy veteran who arrived three days ago, said the veterans joining the protest were “standing on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi” with the their plans to shield protesters.

“I bought a one-way ticket,” he told Reuters as he worked to build a wooden shelter at the main camp. “Hopefully we can shut this down before Christmas.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday said for the first time that he supports the completion of the pipeline. Reuters.



Chicago Tribune,

I find it ironic that one of your arguments for support of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education is that her support of charter schools and vouchers will counteract the evils of public schools that resist accountability. DeVos has been an ardent supporter of legislation that would sharply curb accountability of charter schools in Michigan, this in a state where 80 percent of existing charters are for-profit. The expenditure of public funds in a manner that is completely unregulated should give any citizen, liberal or conservative, pause, particularly when the lives of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

I speak as the founding director of a Chicago charter school, which was established at a time when charters were understood to be beacons of innovation intended to help improve public education. DeVos’ agenda is something far different, nothing less than the dismantling of public education which would lead to a Wild West of unregulated schooling options. We only need to look to Detroit to see the fruits of what Devos’ policies have wrought.



Ever since he announced his candidacy to lead the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison, the first American Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, has been the target of a defamation campaign that is deceitful, repugnant, and yet quite predictable. At first expressed in whispers, but now being yelled from the rooftops by some of the party’s most influential figures, Ellison is being smeared as both an anti-Semite and enemy of Israel – the same smears virtually any critic of the Israeli government reflexively encounters, rendered far worse if the critic is a prominent American Muslim.

Three days ago, the now-ironically-named Anti-Defamation League pronounced Ellison’s 2010 comments about Israel “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” What was Ellison’s “disqualifying” sin? He said in a 2010 speech that while he “wanted the U.S. to be friends with Israel,” the U.S. “can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM.” Glenn Greenwald.


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Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton. Murdered in his sleep in his apartment on Chicago’s west side by the U.S. government, December 4th, 1969.

Peace through fear.


-By anonymous

It’s totally labor fear.

It has been going on for some time now.

In Chicago and many districts in the collar counties, teachers have had to fight and sometimes strike just to keep what they have, or at least keep their losses to a minimum. Once outside of the collar counties, teachers in many districts have much lower pay scales, their raises have been 1% or so for many years, and a lot of districts never offered the 6% retirement incentives. In the last few years medical insurance premium percentages paid by these teachers have gone up substantially.

At the same time, co-pays, deductibles, and the list of things “not covered” have also increased, all coming out of the teacher’s pay.

These teachers can’t put up a big fight, and don’t dare strike because they can be SB7ed later at the whim of administration. The economy of rural and downstate Illinois is already bad, and ex-teachers can have a difficult time finding other employment.

At least up here in the Chicago/collar county area, ex-teachers usually can find other employment.

So, labor peace is here only because most workers and unions (especially outlying and downstate) are very fearful of losing even more if they go on strike then if they “negotiate” cuts in pay and benefits.

There is little or no sympathy from the general public for us, one store worker I talked to said “the state is spending $14 for every $10 it takes in, it can’t go on like this. Rauner is trying to do something about it, but the Democrats are holding everything up.”

This is going to be a rough 4 years (or more), and we have targets on out backs.