Random Thoughts. SCOTUS appointment puts Kirk and NEA/IEA on the hot seat.


The sudden death of Antonin Scalia and the fight over his replacement has put Illinois Senator Mark Kirk on the hot seat.

Kirk, a north shore Republican, has always tried to pass as a moderate.

That only works because the Rush Limbaugh wing of the GOP gets most of the news coverage.

In reality, he is a true blue right-winger.

Kirk has not yet said whether he will follow the law and vote to allow President Obama to pick the Scalia replacement.

It will be a hot issue for Kirk since he is up for re-election and is considered the most vulnerable Republican senator.

It was just a month ago that my union, the NEA and the IEA, gave Kirk an A grade, primarily because he voted for ESSA authorization.

The IEA has endorsed Kirk ever since he was a congressman.

This is the problem with our union’s grades and endorsements. They are made with blinders on, ignoring all but the most narrow of what the leadership calls education issues.

It is not a social justice orientation to politics.

With the Supreme Court in the balance, Kirk’s vote yet unknown and public employee union rights among many issues that will be determined by a future Supreme Court, teacher union chickens have come home to roost.

My readers respond to NEA/IEA Mark Kirk love.


We learned Friday that the National Education Association and the Illinois Education Association awarded Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk an “A” grade.

I expressed my disagreement, of course.

As did many of this blog’s readers.

A sample:

Tim Furman wrote, “Kirk got the “Charter School Champion” award from the charter school lobby in 2014. (Durbin got it the year before.) The method of assigning grades based on key votes is absurd; it misses the major themes behind the work these people are actually doing. Mark Kirk is hardly the worst Republican, but any system that assigns an “A” to someone who is actively trying to privatize public education is missing some fundamental internal checks. You’ve already written about the bizarre, full-of-internal-contradiction IEA endorsements of Mark Kirk; this dumb grading system seems to be more of the same muddled thinking.”

Joan O’Malley. “Fred. The NEA & IEA sure didn’t ask my opinion. Kirk is the worst Senator in Illinois and he has been in power too long. His total conservative voting record shows no thought as to serving the people of Illinois. I hope Tammy Duckworth defeats him this time. His handicap is unfortunate but that is no reason to vote him into office again. I think he is a destructive influence in Congress.”

Anonymous. “Kirk also came out supporting Rauner and Rauner’s plan to destroy SEIU and AFSCME in negotiations with state employees. There seems to be 2 sides to the NEA, the “union” side and the “we are not a union, we are an association” side. This comes from many decades of teachers not being allowed collective bargaining in most states. In some states, it is still a criminal offence for a teacher to go on strike. If a teacher strikes, they are not only fired, they lose their certification and have an official misconduct record. This makes it very hard to get a teaching job anywhere. It is from this sort of history that the NEA “non-union” side tries to tread lightly. They probably did not even notice Kirk’s vicious attack on public sector unions. Meanwhile, the “union” members are sandbagged by this endorsement of someone that supports outlawing fair share and wants to eliminate meaningful representation of teachers and other public employees in Illinois. Sort of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. They either don’t know or they don’t care.”

Glen Brown. “About 4 ½ years ago, Illinois Senator, Mark Kirk, also agreed with Newt Gingrich and advocated for a law that would allow our state to declare bankruptcy, even though state bankruptcy would invariably rob public employees of their contractual right to an earned pension (http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-bankruptcy-should-never-become.html).”

See if you can find the face of a teacher pensioner in this Mark Kirk video. They would be one of Mitt Baines Romney’s 47% losers and users.

Only concerned with credit ratings and avoiding any mention of taxing those who can most afford it, Republican Senator Mark Kirk’s office released a video on pension funding today.


The video is filled with rolling scary black and white headlines, Fox News reports and music straight out of Jaws. You can try looking and looking and looking. Here’s what you won’t find: The face of one of the thousands of retired state pensioners.

Or one of the 800,000 state employees who have paid into the system without fail and who now may face making a choice between food or health care when they retire.

Although they have never missed a payment, the 800,000 former and current state employees are part of Mitt Baines Romney and Mark Kirk’s 47% losers and users.

Kirk would continue a tax system in which the housekeeper, the teacher and the banker all pay the same rate of taxes to the state.

It is the formula that got us to where we are.

By the way, Kirk seems to be recovering from his stroke well enough to make this video. It is a recovery fully paid by government health care.

Matt criticizes my accent and city bias. It’s “Nor’ Chore,” if you please. Time to Occupy Gurnee.

Reacting to my post on Mark Kirk:


Putting on the Ritz. And it’s pronounced da Nor’ Chore, Fred. While Lake is the knot on the collar of the noose counties, if you will, we’re not exactly Lil’ Wisconsin, yet. Though we do take summer afternoons off, and we love our cubs. We’ve also had a quarter of a million people move here in the last twenty years, and our real estate is, frankly, more affordable than ever, and for all that, we might be Texas.

Our cry is to Occupy Gurnee: There we can protest ALEC at their own office located at Rt. 21 Waukegan Rd. & Washington Street. I’ve reconnoitered the site, and it’s perfect for such a purpose. It’s on the Pace bus routes, right between the Des Plaines River and Great America. Then hang on until relieved, I could hold that spot all winter.


Kirk kicks off senate bid with anti-union attack. It backfires.

s-KIRK-largeNorth shore Republican Mark Kirk has kicked off his senate bid with an attack on (surprise!) unions. Ironically, the pro-war, anti-union congressman received the endorsement of the IEA’s IPACE when he last ran for the House.

But he won’t get it this time. I assume. It is clear he plans the make union-bashing a key part of his campaign, and teacher union-bashing in particular.

But his first attempt at it seems to have gone badly.

He and right-wing congressman Peter Roskam jumped on the Illinois SEIU/ACORN alliance, but they didn’t really look to carefully where they were jumping. They stepped right in it.

Aside from all that is wrong with the right-wing’s attack on ACORN in general, the issue in Illinois is a non-starter. There is no ACORN in Illinois. Hasn’t been since 2007.

Kirk and Roskam:

In an effort to protect the integrity of the 2010 Census, U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam will call on the U.S. Census Bureau to terminate its partnerships with groups closely linked to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), including the Services Employees International Union (SEIU), which contributed $4 million to the group and shares an office with ACORN in Chicago.

But CBS 2’s Mike Flannery reports:

The ACORN scandal has Barack Obama’s conservative critics noting that he and ACORN Illinois were close allies on community development issues here. They’re demanding the group be investigated. What they don’t seem to know is that ACORN Illinois no longer exists. It collapsed in 2007.

Being wrong has never stopped Kirk before. Apparently it doesn’t matter who the Democrats nominate for the Senate race, Kirk is running against us. More dirt to come.

Congressman Kirk is holding a town hall on health care, which he opposes.

s-KIRK-largeNorth shore pro-war, anti-union Republican Congressman Mark Kirk is holding a health care town hall meeting this afternoon.

Kirk, who is running for Barack Obama’s Senate seat, is a major opponent of a “medicare for all” approach to the health care issue.

Daily Herald:

Kirk, a Highland Park Republican who is running for Senate in 2010, has been an outspoken critic of the plan and has championed a GOP alternative. Both concepts will be on the agenda when he meets with residents at 3 p.m. at Arlington Heights’ village hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road.

Health care protestors greet Kirk at his senate announcement.


There’s probably no richer town in Illinois than the Northshore village of Kenilworth. So, it is natural that Kenilworth is where pro-war, anti-union Congressman Mark Kirk made the announcement that he was running for Barack Obama’s senate seat. He thought he would be among his people.

He wasn’t.

Carl Nyberg:

When I first arrived, the Kenilworth PD had told people affiliated with HCAN that because they had signs they would have to stay beyond the police tape across Melrose at Green Bay Road (GBR). The event was at the first house past the alley running parallel to GBR. One HCAN demonstrator said the police had informed him that Kennilworth ordinance restricted demonstrations to areas of commercial properties and prohibited demonstrations in residential areas. I asked for the part of village code that said this and an officer said he didn’t know the exact number of the ordinance. But the claim didn’t match what the police were enforcing since there was commercial property from GBR to the alley.

The twittering Mark Kirk.

Mark Kirk, the Northshore Republican congressman who has Senate ambitions is on Twitter.

On February 10th he tweeted:

As you know, I voted against the stimulus bill. I just spoke on the House floor about the $2.1 trillion in debt we are about to take on.

But on February 4th he tweeted:

In DC at the National Education Association Reception for the Illinois Delegation.

I wonder if Kirk mentioned to the Illinois Delegation that he was going to vote against the largest federal school funding bill in US history, and brag about it six days later.