Join us tomorrow, Friday, for Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers.



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Tomorrow, Friday, March 31 Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers returns to the air on WLPN 105.5 FM in Chicago with live streaming at

We will be missing our usual producer, Logan Bey, but we look forward to his return. Jamie Tucker will be at the producing board.

Joining us as guests in studio will be students from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association who have been active in anti-gentrification work, exploring their own cultural heritage and legacy and traveled earlier this year to Standing Rock.

Our other guests are old-time friends, activists and pioneers in the kind of social justice radio we are now doing. Hosts of the weekly Live from the Heartland, Katy Hogan and Mike James will be joining us in conversation about all things.

Live from the Heartland is on every Saturday morning at 9AM at WLUW, 88.7FM and live streaming.

Remember that our show can be heard on MixCloud about two hours after the broadcast. It is released as a podcast to be downloaded at Liberated Syndication where you can find all our programs starting with program #4. And on iTunes.

Democrat Donna Brazile and Repug Dick Cheney love to drop the war talk like it has no human cost.


First it was former Bush VP and chicken hawk, Dick Cheney.

“There was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic, fundamental democratic processes,” Cheney said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “In some quarters that would be considered an act of war.”

Apparently the “some quarters” he is talking about is the Democratic Party.

“I’ve never agreed with Dick Cheney in my entire life, but when he said this was an act of war, I have to agree with the former vice president. It was an act of war,” Donna Brazile said, according to a video of her remarks.

“And we better understand the ramifications because if they can take down a woman of stature like [Democratic presidential nominee] Hillary Clinton with bogus stuff and then you have to disprove the negative to make it somehow or another truthful, you cannot.”

An act of war.

If Hillary Clinton losing the election was an act of war then we should invade or have the air force fly bombers over the offices of the Democratic National Committee since they are more responsible for Trump being in the White House than any Russian.

But not just Brazile.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) most recently accused Russia of engaging in warfare.

“I think this attack that we’ve experienced is a form of war, a form of war on our fundamental democratic principles,” Coleman said during a hearing this week at the House Homeland Security Committee.

She lambasted Trump for his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking a panel of experts and former officials what message Trump’s “borderline dismissive attitude” toward Moscow’s cyberattack sends to the Kremlin and other nations.

Two other Democrats made similar charges at the House Intelligence Committee hearing where Comey testified.

“I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and I think that’s why the American people should be concerned about it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

“This past election, our country was attacked. We were attacked by Russia,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “I see this as an opportunity for everyone on this committee, Republicans and Democrats, to not look in the rearview window but to look forward and do everything we can to make sure that our country never again allows a foreign adversary to attack us.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking member, has similarly described the election meddling as an “attack” and likened it to the United States’ “political Pearl Harbor.”

Pearl Harbor.

Hybrid warfare.

I think Speier is confusing Russia with a Prius.

When Cheney and the Democrats are banging the war drums in synchronicity, we better be concerned.

Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx: “Put our bodies in front” if ICE agents try to seize immigrants.

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The Girl Talk’s Joanna Klonsky, Erika Wozniak, Kim Foxx and Jen Sabella.

Jen Sabella and Erika Wozniak always put on a good show at the The Hideout.

The Girl Talk can be seen and heard the last Tuesday of the month at the north side bar and performance space.

Anne and I bought Jen and Erika a round of beers before the show and they promised to appear on Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

Last night’s hour was spent with new Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Kim literally came out of no where to beat the incumbent, Anita Alvarez.

As Kim said, nobody runs against an incumbent State’s Attorney. Nobody beats an incumbent State’s Attorney.

But this is Chicago where stranger things have happened. In fact this happened back when State’s Attorney Ed Hanrahan was tossed out after the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton.

Anita Alvarez got tossed out for her role in the cover-up of the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

But Foxx is impressive in her own right.

An African American women, she grew up in Chicago’s projects. She says that when people say that she made it out she takes that to mean there is an expectation that African American young people in Chicago will fail.

She told the story of a student at Lincoln Park High School where she went to school who was shot and killed on North Avenue. “A great dancer. Like Michael Jackson,” Foxx recalled. She said the trauma of the boy’s killing has lasted all these years.

“Imagine that happening to students once a month.”

The headline news last night was Foxx’s concern with the Trump administrations anti-immigrant moves and the the particular impact it has on her cases involving sexual abuse.

“I’m an advocate of people who have been wounded,” she added. “And in this climate we have people who have been victimized who are afraid to come to court because they are afraid they are going to get deported. We have people who are preying on immigrant communities, preying on their anxieties, preying on their fears…”

And asked by an audience member what the public could do to help immigrants, she said, “Maybe it’s continuing to resist, continuing to speak truth to power, escorting people to courthouses, escorting people to counseling centers, escorting people, being an advocate, putting your body in front of theirs when you know that they are coming for them is what I would suggest.”

“I think the atmosphere that’s been created by the federal government that has alienated the people in this country, in this county … we have to continue to be outraged. [Immigrants living in the country without legal permission] have to see the best that is in us and that their pain is our pain, otherwise we all lose.”

Pushback may have killed Paul Vallas CSU appointment. His reputation as a fixer is odd since he has been fired from almost every job he has held.

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CSU board announcing yesterday it will not appoint Paul Vallas as school president, rejecting Governor Rauner’s pressure to do so.

I wrote yesterday about Paul Vallas and the move by Governor Rauner to appoint him as president of the financially challenged Chicago State University.

CSU  serves mostly African American and working class students.

Its financial challenges mainly come from the failure of the Governor to get a budget passed.

Some are now suggesting that we will never see a state budget passed while Rauner is Governor.

Now it seems that strong opposition to the Vallas appointment as delayed or killed it.

Chicago State University trustees on Monday put off a decision on whether to appoint ex-Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas to a top administrative job, a controversial move pushed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

 The board instead voted to name new interim leadership on April 7, including a new interim president and a temporary chief administrative officer. Vallas is in the running for either job if he steps down as a trustee, a position he has held since Rauner appointed him in January.

Vallas left the meeting without commenting on his plans.

There were some Vallas defenders.

“On a short term, emergency basis, somebody with the kind of financial skills may be of use to us,” said Deborah Lynch, an assistant professor at CSU who ran the Chicago Teachers Union after Vallas resigned. “Somebody with the reputation of turning things around may be of use to us….The narrative of collapse is killing us.”

Lynch’s reference to a reputation for turning things around is odd since Vallas has been fired from nearly every education-related job he has held including leadership positions in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Connecticut.Since the announcement of Vallas’ possible appointment as president of CSU there has been widespread opposition to handing Vallas another job to fail at, including coming from Chicago African American Aldermanic leader, Roderick Sawyer.

Download and listen to our podcast: Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

This bill would stop charter school expansion in Illinois.

State Representative Will Guzzardi has introduced legislation that would all but stop charter school expansion in Illinois.

Guzzardi’s bill would block the opening of any new charter campuses in any school districts with the Illinois State Board of Education’s two lowest financial ratings.

CPS definitely qualifies for that.

Guzzardi’s argument is that if a school district like CPS can’t afford to run the school’s they have, they have no business paying for new charter schools which are paid for out of the district’s budget.

To illustrate the problem, Guzzardi held is press conference announcing the bill at Chicago’s Prosser High School.

Prosser has been hit hard by CPS budget cuts. Yet at the same time, Noble Charter Network opened at brand new school right across the street from Prosser with CPS funding.

Nearly one hundred school districts in the state would be covered by the bill.

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) immediately went nuts over the Guzzardi bill. Their reaction suggests the bill has some legs and real support.


The Illinois Network of Charter Schools is pushing back hard against the Guzzardi bill that would limit charter school expansion in cash strapped districts like CPS.

At the presser Guzzardi was joined by state and local officials, including Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), Ald. Milly Santiago (31st), State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Belmont-Cragin), Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th and home ward of Prosser) as well as local parents and representatives from community groups like Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

Download and listen to our podcast: Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

Paul Vallas again? Really?


I have always believed there are two main reasons we in Illinois suffer from having Bruce Rauner as governor.

Pat Quinn decided he was placed on this earth to cut public employee pensions.

He picked Paul Vallas as his running mate.

Quinn lost by a mere 70,000 votes statewide. I pin that tiny margin on pensions and Vallas.

Vallas screws up anything he does. He is like Midas in reverse. Everything he touches turns to shit.

But, jeez, don’t the school privatizers just love him.

His actual job resume is shaky:  Fired as CPS CEO. Fired as NOLA recovery school’s chief after Katrina. Fired as Bridgeport, Connecticut schools superintendent for lacking basic educational credentials. Shown the door in Philadelphia.

He might as well have been a coach in professional sports where white guys also seem to get another coaching job no matter how bad they are.

The news that he is being promoted by Bruce Rauner to run the underfunded Chicago State University doesn’t come as a great surprise.

CSU serves a primarily African American student body.

It is ironic that the news of the Vallas’ appointment comes at the same time as Gary Solomon got seven years in prison for his part in the Barbara Byrd Bennet SUPES bribery scandal.

Oh, yes  Vallas was part of that too.

Solomon went on to be a sales associate and then a vice president for the Princeton Review, a test preparation company, and counted CPS as one of his clients.

In 2005, he ventured out on his own and created two companies, one focusing on consulting and the other on web development. In Philadelphia, he marketed the consulting company as using the “Paul Vallas method of school reform.”

Solomon’s marketing efforts stoked controversy in the Philadelphia school community. Vallas at the time was CEO of Philadelphia schools, but had no training or background in education other than his time leading Chicago schools—a job he took at former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s behest after being the city’s budget director.

At a press conference last Friday Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward Alderman:

“I just don’t know what value he adds to this university, that’s my concern. I don’t even know what a crisis intervention specialist means. I can understand it, but I would like to see a defined description of what that looks like and what he’s supposed to do. Is he usurping the president’s authority and powers? Is he adding to that? Has he got a specific task in mind?”

Maybe he has a task in mind. But it won’t be good.

Urgent. Senator Manar has filed his bill eliminating designated sped funding. Manar thinks there are too many special education students. Act now.


Illinois State Senator Andy Manar thinks there are too many special education students.


Sen. Manar has finally filed the Amendment to Senate Bill 1, AND House Bill 2808 may be voted on in Committee on Tuesday. Could you post at least the beginning parts of the following so people CAN ACT (file Witness Slip on HB 2808 per the following directions) on what we have been telling them for months?

Thanks, Bev Johns


Amendment 1 to Senate Bill1 has now been introduced by State Senator Andy Manar. (Without any evidence whatsoever, Sen. Manar told all the Members of the Rauner Commission that there was “drastic over-identification” for special education in Illinois.)

On pages 239 to 242 the Amendment contains the exact same language as House Bill 2808 TO ELIMINATE DIRECT AND DEDICATED FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS (to eliminate Special Education Personnel Reimbursement).

If because of what it does to special education, or  because it is extreme local control of K-12 education, or because it would provide NO new funding for special education co-ops, you oppose the bill, you can fill out a Witness Slip on-line (see below).

If you are in Springfield, you can attend the hearing:

Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education Committee Hearing Mar 28, 2017, 2:00PM Capitol Building Room 114, Springfield, IL 

To do a Witness Slip opposed to HB 2808:

1. Click on

2. Under Section I: Identification, fill out all information. Under Firm/Business or Agency you can type None.

Under Title you can type None.

3. Under Section II: Representation, if you are creating a witness slip on behalf of a group, fill out with the name of your organization. If you are not submitting a witness slip on behalf of a group or organization, leave this blank.

4. Under Section III: Position, click Opponent of HB 2808.

5. Under Section IV: Testimony, check the box stating. Record of Appearance Only.

6. In the box, Type the text (that appears above it)

7. Check the box stating I Agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement.

8. Click Create (Slip) to submit slip.

Our State Senators and Representatives have to know that we are determined to keep direct and dedicated State funding for special education in Illinois law.

If you have called before, please keep calling. 

State Senator Andy Manar 217-782-0228

State Senator Jason Barickman 217-782-6597

State Senator Kimberly Lightford 217-782-8505

(Ask Senator Manar why he stated on Jan. 17 to the Gov. Rauner Commission that there is “drastic over-identification” for special education in Illinois.)


Contact the Sponsors of House Bill 2808.

State Representative Will Davis: 217-782-8197

States Representative Robert Pritchard: 217-782-0425

State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia: 217-558-1002

Please say –




Say to State Representatives: HOUSE BILL 2808 NEEDS


ALSO Call your own State Senator and State Representative.

An easy way to get the telephone numbers of your  State Senator and State Representative is to send a TEXT message to 520-200-2223 (you will also get those for your U.S. Senators and Representative).

The TEXT message must state ONLY your Zip Code (nothing else) such as 62650-2479 OR 62650.

Almost immediately you will get a text message.

Rainy Sunday.

Julia, a child with autism, joins the cast of Sesame Street.

Sen. Bernie Sanders cast the GOP as “out of touch” with the public on health care Friday, citing opposition to the Obamacare repeal and replace efforts at a series of contentious town halls as a driving factor behind Republicans’ inability to push through the American Health Care Act.

“I think one of the reasons this legislation went down today is that all over this country we had hundreds of thousands of people coming out to rallies,” the Vermont senator told CNN’s Anderson Cooper several hours after a canceled vote on the Republican health care bill.

“People began the process of fighting back. We have got to continue that,” he added. Politico





Republicans in Congress were très busy this week trying to make a health care bill comprised of as little actual health care as possible. A Quinnipiac poll found that 13 percent of women support the bill, no doubt persuaded by the room full of entirely white, male legislators working on it. While they were occupied making a deal with the White House to axe maternity care from the list of essential health benefits all insurers must cover, state legislators had their hands full with other bills restricting women’s health care. Slate



At least four undocumented women in Colorado have declined to pursue domestic violence cases against their alleged abusers for fear of being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a report from NPR.

“We had pending cases that we were prosecuting on their behalf and since January 25, the date of the president’s executive order [on immigration], those four women have let our office know they were not willing to proceed with the case for fear that they would be spotted in the courthouse and deported,” said Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson.

Bronson traces their refusal back to the February detention of an undocumented trans woman at a Texas courthouse, where she was seeking a protective order against an allegedly abusive ex-partner. “[W]e have grave concerns here that they distrust the court system now and that we’re not going to have continued cooperation of victims and witnesses,” Bronson said. Fusion



This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers features Diane Ravitch and poet Kevin Coval. Next Friday at 11AM on we will be have conversations with young folks from Logan Square’s Neighborhood Association who have been organizing around gentrification, exploring their indigenous identity and went to Standing Rock. Also joining us will be Katy Hogan and Mike James of Live from the Heartland.

Illinois’s governor. Keeping my powder dry.


Millions of union members dollars were spent by the IEA to rescue the pension thief, Pat Quinn.

On yesterday morning’s Hitting Left with my brother Mike, we spent a few minutes talking about the 2018 race for for the governor’s mansion.  Right now, that is all the time the issue is worth.

There was no discussion about Rauner. He’s got to go. And if the Democrats don’t screw it up, he will go.

Big if.

We, the Klonsky brothers, both agreed. There are a bunch of candidates who have announced for the Democratic nomination – a bunch claiming to be Progressives – and there may be more to come. There is no rush by us to support any of them.

The Illinois Representative Assembly, the state union’s annual convention is next weekend at the downtown Sheraton Grand.

I imagine that the place will be swarming with candidates for governor. I’m not sure why. The endorsement process in the IEA is fixed just as it was with the endorsement process in the NEA last year when Clinton was endorsed early with no strings.

The IEA’s endorsement process is a hapless one.

At the last local recommendation hearing I attended a few years ago as local leader of an IEA Retired group, the session was run by an IEA  Uniserv staffer who had no idea about the rules to be followed or what the issues were. Endorsement votes were cast by people who presented no evidence that they were empowered to cast a vote. That staffer was later terminated, I heard. But as an “employment related issue” we were legally kept from knowing the circumstances of the termination. But recommendations mean IPACE money is handed out, so it was worrisome to me.

In the lead up to the 2014 race for governor, the political arm of the IEA spent millions of rank and file member dollars.  First it was spent on the head of the Illinois chapter of the pro-business, anti-union  ALEC. Then they spent millions more of IPACE dollars on the pension thief incumbent Pat Quinn.

This electoral strategy was a massive failure, with thousands of union members and retirees voting Democratic but leaving the governor’s line blank.

In 2016 the IEA followed the lead of the NEA and endorsed Clinton over Sanders in the Illinois primary. Clinton entered the state’s primary race with a twenty point lead and with the help of the IEA squandered that lead in the span of a few weeks, barely winning the state by 30,000 votes and splitting the delegates almost evenly with Sanders.

Democratic hopefuls attending the IEA RA next weekend must be there for the chicken lunch because they can’t believe that the IEA leadership can actually produce anything for them.

And the rank and file membership will have little say.

So far, there is nothing about any of the Democrats that distinguishes them from one another. What do they have to say to the thousands of union members in the state? What solutions do they offer for a state that – even if we had a budget – doesn’t have the revenue to pay its bills? Our pensions carry a liability of over $130 billion dollars because of decades of failure to pay what was owed.

What do they have to say to the City of Chicago which continues to lose population, led by a massive exodus of African Americans who have been abandoned by the Democrats who ask for their votes?

I’m on hold and keeping my powder dry.