Pension theft. From the west suburban front.


Rep. Sarah Feigenholz (D – Lakeview)  and Senate President John Cullerton.

-By Karl-Heinz Gabbey

The good Senator seems to be concerned only with the legalities of Heaton v. Quinn. I’m gratified to read he doesn’t want to cause us “anguish,” and that he’s accepted the verdict of the Illinois Supreme Court as the final say in the matter of unconstitutional pension cuts. I’m troubled by a lack of remorse on his part in which he forced individual retirees to contribute, in many cases, hundreds of dollars out of pocket to fight a case that was clearly unconstitutional and morally indefensible. That doesn’t include the anxiety and the sleepless nights that he cost us. Many of us also spent countless hours attending meetings, protest actions, and making phone calls to him, Nekritz, and the rest of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses to lobby against SB 1. Through it all, he remained unmoved.

In a real gesture of reconciliation and unity, especially at a time when the Republican Party has proved to be a far greater threat than ISIS to the health, safety, and security of not only every Illinoisan, but every American, it might be nice if the good senator would acknowledge in “truth and reconciliation” fashion his mistake. Until he does that, there will always be a dark cloud of distrust hovering over his head.

Rep. Sarah Feigenholz (D – Lakeview)  appeared on Dick Kay’s “Back On The Beat” on January 7, during which she listed “pension reform a la SB 1” as an “accomplishment.” To his credit, Dick Kay reminded her that the high court ruled it unconstitutional. Without providing detail, Rep. Feigenholz shot back that the General Assembly was working on a “constitutional” version of “pension reform.” I guessed that it was a rehash of John Cullerton’s SB 2404, now called “consideration.” Then came the appeal from the IRTA for contributions with the message about SB 17 and “consideration” as the next possible round of idiotic “pension reform.” At that point, I hit the ceiling…

There was a time I believed that our Democratic lawmakers in Springfield were at least shrewd enough not to bite the hands that mark the ballots during elections. At a time when we’re facing a dangerous, existential threat from Republican terrorists, including Trump’s Mini-me in the governor’s mansion, and we need all hands on deck, our Springfield Democrats are determined to sabotage any unified front against a horde that wants to destroy us all. Will we face the next election again wringing our hands with the choice of voting for the party that’ll kill us more slowly than the Republicans? Great timing, guys and girls! Please pinch me! I want to exit this nightmare…

Karl, your Democratic precinct captain from the West Suburban front

Karl Gabbey: They’re not nuts. It’s the Tribune.


Karl Gabbey (right) and me.

– By Karl Gabbey. Karl is Democratic Precinct Committeeman, Precinct 56, Bloomingdale Township.

Sorry, Fred, that it took until this morning to weigh in on this one. I found it difficult to restrain myself…

I‘m no fan of Chicago’s news sources, broadcast, online. or print. My criticism of our local media has grown exponentially over the years. The Chicago Tribune is at the top of my s#*t list. Shallow reporting and commentary reflect mostly ideologically conservative and corporate influences which are contrary to the interests of 99% of Chicagoans and are just plain irrational, or in common parlance: “Nuts.”

I once had a subscription to the Trib for quite some years which ended abruptly when its editorial board supported Al Salvi over Dick Durbin in the 1996 U.S. Senate race. Al Salvi was a misogynist teabagger; actually, just a teabagger ahead of his time. That was the final blow. I dropped my subscription immediately. Then came a call from the Trib to urge me to continue, but I told the sales rep that I was fed up with the “nutty” content of its editorials plus its habitually pathetic endorsements of some of the most retrograde political candidates imaginable. Don’t these people ever do serious homework? I suppose if one is so ideologically immersed in a conservative/ libertarian/ corporate cesspool as the Trib’s editorial board is, there’d be no need for homework because its members like Kristen McQueary already have the answers to everything. Inconvenient facts just get in the way of their sacred beliefs. That’s why an overconfident, arrogant, and cavalier Ms. McQueary is able to put her foot in her mouth so easily. Some consider that “Nuts,” but let’s go beyond the extreme insensitivity of her “Katrina” metaphor and concentrate on the merits of her editorial.

In 1996, I had no idea just how “Nuts” the Trib’s endorsements and editorials would become. True to its tradition of shoddy judgment, the Trib endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004. That topped the Al Salvi endorsement. A major reason for its support, according to its editorials, was that Bush “would fix (Chicago’s) ‘(f)ailing’ schools.” Bush’s prescription was “No Child Left Behind.” The brilliance of NCLB matched the brilliance of Bush perfectly which, in turn, also matched the brilliance of the Trib’s editorial board.

Today, we have the Obama-Duncan “Race To The Top” fiasco which is just another version of NCLB. Why not? What could possibly go wrong with a disaster on top of a disaster? Clearly, McQueary’s wish that a “Hurricane Katrina” should destroy Chicago in order to impose her Ayn Rand “vision” of a New Orleans-type of privatized utopia that would “fix our (f)ailing school system” raises the bar of what rational beings consider “Nuts.” NCLB and “Race To The Top” are already the equivalent of a “Hurricane Katrina” for our public schools. Perhaps the Bush-Obama-Duncan version of “Hurricane Katrina” for public education in Chicago isn’t hastening the destruction fast enough to suit Ms. McQueary. Just for good measure, she might propose that someone drop a nuclear bomb on Chicago in “celebration” of last week’s seventieth anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why not? One mega-disaster on top of another mega-disaster will assure us an efficiently-run school system with better schools. Just a minor thought… Is it still possible to raise the level of insanity of the folks on the Trib’s editorial board another notch, or have they already reached their very pinnacle of “Nuts?”

Has anyone in Washington, in Springfield, in Chicago, or someone on the Trib’s editorial board ever heard of the National Defense and Education Act [NDEA] (1958) or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESA] (1965)? Provided we have people of good will with some degree of intelligence on school boards, those two examples of rational public policy might serve as models for improving our public schools without destroying them. I’m told that a majority of our politicians and members of editorial boards really don’t think of improving our schools. Why should they? Their mutual goal is to hasten the destruction of America’s entire public school system so they can watch its miraculous rebirth as an efficient, lean, corporate Phoenix arising from its ashes. Are they all “Nuts?” Take note, Ms. McQueary and fellow members of the Trib’s editorial board, so far your version of Phoenix arising from its ashes only worked in mythology.