Pride Sunday.

stonewall riots

Stonewall was a riot, June 28th, 1969.

This week’s drawings:



This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers and Pidgeon Pagonis:

While Anne makes the chicken
I put the Fania All-Stars on the Sonos
and set the table on the back porch.
We sit and eat to the sound
of Willie Colon’s trombone.
Not loud.
But like the music we used to hear from
our neighbors
who provided the salsa for our summer porch dinners.
Now all those neighbors are gone.
So we have to provide it for ourselves.

-F. Klonsky ’17



The Rev. William J. Barber II leading a Bible study at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., last month. Credit Dina Litovsky for The New York Times

With Democrats until recently effectively excluded from official power, the business of pushing back against the conservative revolution has mostly fallen to outside activists — none more so than the Rev. William J. Barber II. The pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, an eastern North Carolina town most famous for its Air Force base and a couple of standout barbecue restaurants, Barber was until this month the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When I met Barber on a Friday night this past winter, he was holed up on the 16th floor of a Marriott in downtown Raleigh. The next morning, he would lead over 80,000 people on a march to the State Capitol; now, as the clock neared midnight, he was working with about a dozen advisers on the speech he would give to that crowd.

Barber is a giant man with sleepy eyes and a permanent hunch — a result of a debilitating arthritic spinal condition. He is sufficiently infirm that he’s uncomfortable sitting or standing, so most of the time he can be found propped up on a stool or leaning on a cane. But when Barber speaks in his rolling baritone, not just at the pulpit or on the Capitol steps but even in casual conversation, his back seems to straighten and his eyes come alive. “One of the great gifts of Pentecost was not that they spoke but that they heard,” Barber said to his advisers, asking them to tell him what he should talk about the next day. “I think about that other text in Isaiah that says, ‘Oh Lord, open my ears every morning that I might hear and that I might have the tongue of the learned.’ ” New York Times



Fathers Day Sunday.

When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that for all these years, there’s been schools named after the renowned union leader, Cesar Chavez, that resisted unionization and collective bargaining rights for teachers. Detroit’s Cesar Chavez Charter School was unionized back in 2013.

They called our arguments “preposterous”. DFER’s snarky response was, “No one’s holding a gun to their heads.” In other words, if teachers really wanted a union they would have one, or if they didn’t like the conditions at school like Chavez, they were free to leave and go elsewhere.

Turns out they really wanted one. Mike Klonsky’s Small Talk



Protesting against the verdict in the case against Philando Castile’s murderer in St. Paul, MN. Photo credit: Caroline Yang

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Chicago Puerto Rican Day parade. Division Street. Photo courtesy of Jesse Mumm.


Shortly after a special session of the Illinois General Assembly ended a couple weeks ago, Representative Daniel Biss described the failure to enact pension “reform” by the politicians assembled in Springfield this way:
“We all look like idiots.”
This line, widely reported, pretty much summed up the view held prior to the special session of roughly 800,000 working and middle class Illinois public employees who keep us safe, care for our sick and elderly, inspire our children, or generally ensure Illinois keeps working. But although this might be a great summation of a growing majority of those paying close attention to the actions of their elected representatives in Springfield, for me this line was more a glimpse into the esteem Springfield politicians hold the majority of people who elected them to office.
We look like idiots to them.
How else can candidates like Daniel Biss, who wants to be the next Democratic state senator from the ultra-deep blue north shore, think we won’t notice that his website describes “our promises of future Medicaid, pension, and retiree health benefits” – rather than an outdated flat tax system or corporate giveaways – as the focus of his “tough decisions” he’d make to fix Illinois’ structural budget deficit? Does he think we won’t notice that his five-point plan for “Jobs and the Economy” has as its first priority a corporate tax cut that subsidizes private sector labor costs with taxpayer dollars? Does he think we won’t notice there is no mention of the need for a graduated income tax, an end to corporate give away, or the reform of TIF district use?
Does Biss think we’re idiots? September 2012, Glen Brown’s blog


Sunday times.

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Saturday’s climate march in Chicago.


Trump and Pence may crow about bringing back coal, but the truth is more natural. The future, which they will deny and turn away from coal and fossil fuels, and instead turn to renewables.  The cost of solar and wind will become more and more economical and scientifically worthy – two areas in which neither have any faith or comprehension.

We are jolted from one crisis to another – North Korea, Syrian blasted under Tomahawk missiles, a fence and no fence, a China enemy and then friend – we are subjects now to whims, many determined in the wee hours of the morning by a sorry child-man wandering alone in the hallways of an historical building, his children hired to help prevent his emotional outbursts from throwing us all into some disaster or, worse, a nuclear Armageddon. RESIST! John Dillon, Pension Vocabulary




When you go home, I hope you all say that your trip to the White House was something very special.  I know Melania has been working with you now for quite a while.  She is a tremendous fan of wonderful teachers. But she’s worked very hard and we’re having some special times here. This is Melania’s birthday and you were very nice to sing happy birthday, even though we’re celebrating you.

So thank you all very much and God bless you all.  And you go back and keep teaching those students because, like I said — oh, look, and you’re crying —

PARTICIPANT:  Sorry, I’m always crying!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I know, the Oval Office can do that.  I have had some of the biggest executives in the world and they’ve been here many times.  I said, have you ever been to the Oval Office, and they said no.  I mean, I once had here like the biggest, from the biggest companies. And they walk into the Oval Office and they start crying.  I said, I promise I won’t say to your various stockholders that you cried.  (Laughter.)   But I have seen people cry that you’d never believe.  It’s a very special place, and it’s a special building.  So thank you all very much.  Thank you. Donald Trump’s remarks at National Teacher of the Year event at the White House.


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May Day Chicago events.


Some 5,000 workers at 53 Chicago-area nursing homes are threatening to go on strike next week if long-running contract negotiations don’t satisfy their calls for higher wages and staffing levels.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois announced the walkout plans Thursday morning before the last scheduled contract negotiations took place between the union and Illinois Association of Healthcare Facilities, which represents the nursing homes staffed by SEIU members.

“We’ve prepared as though we’re going on strike,” said Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois.

If the walkout happens, it would begin May 4 at 15 nursing homes, with the rest joining May 5 and 6, and would continue indefinitely, Kelley said. The workers on strike would include certified nursing assistants, food service workers, housekeepers and janitorial staff. Among the 53 nursing homes affected are 10 facilities in the Alden network, one of the larger nursing home operators in the state. Tribune.




Eighty years ago, on April 26, 1937, the fascist Francisco Franco bombed the Spanish village of Guernica from the air. It was the first time a civilian population was a military target by an air force. It was the subject of outrage around the world. Pablo Picasso painted what is considered by many the greatest painting of the 20th Century.

Now bombing civilians is considered a measured response.

Sunday in Brooklyn.


Lou Reed and me.


The footage shows Mr. Brown entering the store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, shortly after 1 a.m. on the day he died. He approaches the counter, hands over an item that appears to be a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. Mr. Brown is shown walking toward the door with the sack, then turning around and handing the cigarillos back across the counter before exiting.

Jason Pollock, a documentary filmmaker who acquired the new tape, says the footage challenges the police narrative that Mr. Brown committed a strong-armed robbery when he returned to the store around noon that day. New York Times.



Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are now trading insults over their inability to adequately fund schools.  It’s not like the old days, when they were shoulder-to-shoulder against the Chicago Teachers Union, with charter school expansion as their prime weapon.

While Rauner can’t pass a budget and Emanuel presides over wave after wave of fiscal crises at Chicago Public Schools, charter teachers are organizing.  With a quarter of its charter school teachers represented by the Chicago Association of Charter Teachers and Staff – Local 4343 of the American Federation of Teachers, known as ChiACTS – Chicago is now the most heavily unionized charter school system in the nation.

And for the second time in a year, Chicago faces the prospect of being the first city in the nation whose charter teachers go on strike. (Update: Aspira Charter teachers reached a tentative agreement with the charter’s management late Thursday night, averting a strike.)

That’s certainly not the direction Rauner and Emanuel thought they were headed a few years ago.

The recent news that teachers at the Noble Network of Charter Schools are launching an organizing drive must have rankled for both of them. Curtis Black, Chicago Reporter



Protests have heated up in Chicago since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and so too have online methods for organizing them.

 With names like Persist List, Indivisible Chicago, People’s Action and Chicago Activism, the websites and social media groups are helping activists mobilize quickly to respond to daily news.

Karen Goldman doesn’t consider herself an activist. But in January she created Persist List, a Chicago website dedicated to grass-roots activism at the neighborhood level.

“I honestly thought like 20 of my friends would look at it,” she said. But it has a much larger following of people who “want to make a change but are kind of overwhelmed because there are so many events out there.” Chicago Tribune



A troubling new poll was just released showing that the Democratic Party is significantly less popular than both Donald Trump and Mike Pence. My gut tells me that Democrats will ignore this poll, or blame it on bad polling, and continue down the same course they are currently on: being funded by lobbyists and the 1%, straddling the fence or outright ignoring many of most inspirational issues of the time, and blaming Bernie Sanders for why they aren’t in power right now.

As a general rule the Democratic Party doesn’t listen well and struggles to hear the truth about itself.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the overwhelming majority of state legislatures and governorships. This new poll from Suffolk University illustrates just how that’s possible. Here are the base results of the poll with favorable/unfavorable ratings. Shaun King, The Daily News


Podcast download: Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers #6

Resistance Sunday.


I made a critical mistake the other day at my fitness center.  I brought The New Yorker to read while I schlepped along on my elliptical runner.  It was a great article: How to save youth football from injuring itself into extinction.

It wasn’t the article that caused my later issues.  It wasn’t even the cover design, because let’s face it; the New Yorker can put out some crazy political covers.  Witness the eight years of Barack Obama.

Did you know that Half Price Books takes the New Yorker in trade or cash and will pay more for those politically spectacular moments?  That “fist bump” with the President and Michelle fetched at least $3.

This cover was entitled “Waterways” and was a dark watercolor image of ship lights on the Hudson River, I suppose – or maybe the lights at Ellis Island in the wet darkness.  Whatever, it was the bold white letters “New Yorker” across the banner that did me in.

I had inadvertently peeled off my façade – my uniform whiteness, my Southside camaraderie, my required participation in seething anger.  The guy behind me riding his stationary bicycle and watching one of the four big screen stations tuned to Fox News noticed the magazine’s title. John Dillon



More than 5,000 supporters of Planned Parenthood turned out in St. Paul Saturday to counter the protest of forced-birthers who seek to defund the women’s health organization.




GUADALUPE GARCÍA DE RAYOS: [translated] Arpaio, Arpaio—I was the victim of former County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. After following through with the process, all was good. I was given permission. I was working. And everything was going well. And then, with the check that was done, the felony that Arpaio gave me came back, which made me a criminal. For them, I am a criminal. The simple fact that I work made me a criminal to them. I don’t think that is just. … Imagine that I underwent a checkup every year, and they wait, and they see that everything is good. And then they say, no, they cannot give me permission, that I will be arrested. They practically took away my right that I had before, for the felony that I previously had. Democracy Now!



The Trump Administration has taken sweeping, drastic measures that it says are necessary to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism, including its executive order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the radical policies and beliefs of this administration could just as easily end up fueling the narratives of extremist groups fighting the United States. When Trump ran a campaign built on promises to destroy ISIS, how can one explain the fact that supporters of the group in Mosul were reportedly celebrating his Muslim ban?

The order was based on plainly dubious claims about national security, targeting for scrutiny some of the most heavily vetted visitors to the United States. But the tangible purpose it did serve, before being at least temporarily frozen by the courts, was to divide Americans from millions of people in the Muslim world by sending the latter a message of gratuitous insult and contempt — and emboldening the very extremist movements the order was ostensibly directed against.

That kind of polarization may be exactly what some members of the White House want. High-ranking members of the current administration — most notably its chief strategist, Steve Bannon — have publicly espoused apocalyptic theories of history that center on a forthcoming clash between Western countries and the Muslim world, a conflict that many of them seem to perceive as both inevitable and desirable. The Intercept

Live from Chicago. It’s Sunday morning.

A top ally of Gov. Bruce Rauner warned members of the largest state employee union to be “careful” about “crossing” the Republican governor by going on strike, suggesting that individual jobs are more important than the group’s political standing in Springfield.

The comments by House Republican leader Jim Durkin come as members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 are voting on whether to authorize a walkout amid a prolonged contract battle with Rauner.

“They are dealing with a person who’s a very determined individual, and he’s a tough person. And he drives a bargain,” Durkin said during a Friday taping of WLS-AM 890’s “Connected to Chicago” that airs at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“But the fact is, if you cross him, I think you have to be careful. That’s a situation, if you do that, you’re crossing a governor who’s, I think he’s going to do what he thinks is best at the end of the day, which is not going to be in the best interests of AFSCME members and their families and loved ones,” Durkin said. Chicago Tribune


Trump protesters at Republican Congressman Peter Roskam’s office in suburban Wheaton, Illinois. No place to hide.


Over time, we’ve seen that it’s very hard to have an authoritarian or a totalitarian society, a state that runs, without a secret police. And you can’t—what you need the secret police for is to gather information secretly. The surveillance techniques and abilities that we have today are really unparalleled in history.

And while we can’t yet be sure what the Trump administration’s motives are, what they have at their disposal is far greater than what was had in Soviet Russia, in Nazi Germany. I’m thinking in particular of Himmler complaining that he had trouble keeping track of all the people he needed to, because he needed so many agents. But when you have the kind of technology that we do, you don’t need as many people, if you have the right tools to use. And so, the ability to gather that kind of information and then potentially use it, domestically or on foreigners who happen to be here, I think is something that’s worth paying attention to and to be concerned about. Andrea Pitzer, Democracy Now!



The Washington-based judge, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2004, is almost certain to remain in national headlines, as a latest target of Trump’s ire. The last time Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, started picking a public fight with a federal judge, Trump’s openly racist attack on the judge dominated news cycles and became a major talking point for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

This wouldn’t even be the first time Robart received national media attention regarding a hot-button political issue. In August, during a court hearing for a 2012 lawsuit filed by the Obama administration against the Seattle Police Department, Robart declared that “black lives matter,” and sharply criticized the Seattle police union for holding the city “hostage.”

“According to FBI statistics, police shootings resulting in deaths involved 41 percent black people, despite being only 20 percent of the population living in those cities,” Robart said during last year’s hearing. “41 percent of the casualties, 20 percent of the population. Black. Lives. Matter.” The Daily Gawker


IEA members are encouraged to show support for Elgin Unit District 46 bus drivers and assistants by attending a rally followed immediately by the U 46 school board meeting at the district office.

The rally at 355 E Chicago St, Elgin, begins at 6pm on Monday, February 6.

The drivers and assistants say the proposal to turn their jobs over to private companies runs counter to the goal of ensuring all students travel safely to and from school.

We’re not only connected to our students. Because we are employees of the district, we’re plugged-in with teachers, paraeducators, administrators and the parents—everybody in the school community. That means, together, we can all work to help every student be successful.

Most of us live in the district. We know the kids’ names, and we know all the local routes in our community because we’ve driven them for years. Some of us have children and even grandchildren in local schools. Members of the community trust us because they know us.

Privatization means replacing trained, reliable and dedicated local school bus drivers and assistants with people who have less experience and aren’t part of the school community. Plus, you lose quality control that’s important in making sure students have the kind of experience and service they deserve.

Show your support for these  hardworking education employees. The rally at 355 E Chicago St, Elgin, begins at 6pm on Monday, February 6 and will be immediately followed by a meeting of the U46 school board.



Coffee bars around the country are raising money for the ACLU this weekend. This is Damn Fine Coffee in Logan Square, Chicago.



The police came to Last Child Camp in broad daylight, with armored vehicles and guns drawn, to rip our people from our land.  Many water protectors were on prayer walks and in ceremony. We watched from the top of the hill at Oceti Oyate Camp as the troops moved in against them. We sent our prayers to those innocent and brave warriors who came to stand with the people of Standing Rock, and to protect the sacred waters of Unci Maka (Mother Earth). Ladonna Bravebull Allard 

On Saturday four million in the streets made America great.


“The Democratic Party has got to make it very clear that they are prepared to stand up to powerful special interests like the pharmaceutical industry and like Wall Street, and they’re not going to win elections and they’re not going to be doing the right thing for the American people unless they have the guts to do that,” said Sanders, the leader of outreach efforts for Senate Democrats. USA Today




Cleveland coach Greg Popovich on Trump and the Women’s March (low sound).










New Year’s resolutions.


We ought to have learned from the Judith Miller episode. Not only do governments lie, they won’t hesitate to burn news agencies. In a desperate moment, they’ll use any sucker they can find to get a point across.

I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He’s gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything. And Donald Trump, too, was swine enough during the campaign to publicly hope the Russians would disclose Hillary Clinton’s emails. So a lot of this is very believable.

But we’ve been burned before in stories like this, to disastrous effect. Which makes it surprising we’re not trying harder to avoid getting fooled again. Matt Taibbi. Rolling Stone




Billionaire hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin is putting his two newly purchased properties at Faena House in Miami Beach back on the market for a total of $73 million.

Mr. Griffin is listing the units separately. The penthouse, which encompasses the top floor of the building, will be listed for $55 million. It has five bedrooms and measures about 8,270 square feet. In addition to a roughly 2,700-square-foot roof deck with its own pool, the penthouse has a wraparound terrace measuring about 7,300 square feet.

The second unit, which is directly under the penthouse and encompasses half of the 15th floor, will be listed for $18 million. It has three bedrooms and measures about 4,240 square feet. The unit also has a terrace measuring about 2,720 square feet.

Mr. Griffin bought the properties in the fall of 2015 for a total of $60 million. He went into contract on the units in 2014, before the building was completed.


Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker said that despite the fact Trump often makes “questionable” and “challengeable” statements, he’s instructed his staff to keep their social media postings straight laced in order to maintain the trust of the readers.

Asked by host Chuck Todd whether he’d be willing to call out a falsehood as a “lie” like some other news outlets have done, Baker demurred, saying it was up to the newspaper to just present the set of facts and let the reader determine how to classify a statement.

“I’d be careful about using the word, ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead,” Baker said, noting that when Trump claimed “thousands” of Muslims were celebrating on rooftops in New Jersey on 9/11, the Journal investigated and reported that they found no evidence of a claim. Politico



Bears/Vikings. #NoDAPL



Sunday breakfast.


Steven Biko would have turned 70 years-old today.

Educators have paid too little heed to this criminal justice crisis. Criminal justice reform should be a policy priority for educators who are committed to improving the achievement of African American children. While reform of federal policy may seem implausible in a Trump administration, educators can seize opportunities for such advocacy at state and local levels because many more parents are incarcerated in state than in federal prisons. In 2014, over 700,000 prisoners nationwide were serving sentences of a year or longer for nonviolent crimes. Over 600,000 of these were in state, not federal, prisons. Economic Policy Institute





Most Americans believe, with good cause, that our nation has been hugely positive in world affairs, promoting democracy and human rights, and taking on tyrants in two world wars. And the U.S. military amounts to the biggest humanitarian agency in the world, rushing relief to regions plagued by hurricanes and tidal waves. Yet all these virtues need to be considered in the context of American eagerness to meddle in other nations’ affairs. In the past century, for various reasons, Washington has played a role in either ousting governments or interfering in elections in Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Italy, the Congo, Chile, Haiti, Grenada, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala — and those are just the interventions that have been confirmed.

This history led Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive, to decry “a long pattern of U.S. manipulation, bribery and covert operations to influence the political trajectory of countless countries around the world” in a 1997 interview. San Diego Union-Tribune



We have replicated in our organization some of the same inefficiencies we fight against in our school districts. The challenges of the past can inform our future, but we can’t continue to use the same strategies to solve our new challenges.

We tie the hands of our leaders through complicated resolutions and policies. We lack the flexibility to rapidly adapt in a texting, Facebook, technologically “do it now” society.

We must promote and enable greater flexibility within NEA governance structures for a rapid response to the changing political and educational environments. We must take the primary responsibility for the quality of teaching and for student learning.

It is time for our union to evolve. The Nebraska State Education Association’s new executive director, Maddie Fennell .


Sunday mishmosh.


Today we were notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that on Dec. 5th, they will close all lands north of the Cannonball River, which is where Oceti Sakowin camp is located. The letter states that the lands will be closed to public access for safety concerns, and that they will allow for a “free speech zone” south of the Cannonball River on Army Corps lands.

Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever. We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition. Our concerns were clearly articulated directly to them in a meeting on Sept. 30, 2014. We have released that audio recording from our council meeting where DAPL and the ND Public Service Commission came to us with this route.

We ask that the United States stop the pipeline and move it outside our treaty lands.

It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe. Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the President will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman, Dave Archambault II,




Happy 63rd birthday Steve Bannon. Here is your domestic violence police report. .





Kayjuan Raye, of south suburban Dolton, died of a gunshot wound to the back, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled a homicide, the office said.

Although the unnamed officer who was involved said the teen pointed a gun at him, Johnson said during a Thanksgiving Day news conference that a grid search failed to uncover a gun.


CIA docs from the time they used the Chicago mob to attempt to assassinate Castro
They waived their usual fee too.…/DOC_0001451843.pdf


The steel jobs are not coming back. Coal is a dying industry, unless the people making billions on fracking can be convinced to trade us new earthquakes for old respiratory ailments. The opioid drug problem in places like Johnstown isn’t going away even if you dig a 100-mile moat between Texas and Mexico and fill it with piranha and burning oil. Charlie Pierce