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Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss.

March 2, 2015

Fred Klonsky:

An annual event is celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday with the NEA sponsored Read Across America. Back when I was teaching we celebrated in the art room with the construction of hats inspired by The Cat in the Hat and the reading of Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, Dr. Seuss’ final book, published posthumously.

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:


Tomorrow is Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

The NEA initiated Read Across America to mark the occasion.

This is my first year that I can’t celebrate it with my students.

Kindergarten and first graders and I would make stove pipe Cat in the Hat hats.

And I got to share my favorite Dr. Seuss book. His last. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.

I send this out to all of my students and colleagues.

“All schools for miles and miles around
Must take a special test,
To see who’s learning such and such –
To see which school’s the best.
If our small school does not do well,
Then it will be torn down,
And you will have to go to school
In dreary Flobbertown.”

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There will be hurt. Women will die. That’s what Governor Private Equity means by shaking up Springfield.

March 2, 2015

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In October, during the final month of the campaign for Governor, Mr. Private Equity donated $9 million to himself.

Remember that number as they discuss budget in Springfield.

$9 million.

That’s how much Governor Private Equity wants to cut from the state program that funds breast cancer screening for poor women.

$9 million is a 70% reduction in funding for the program. That is how pitifully small the current funding is for screening poor women for breast cancer.

Even so.

If the Democrats let that happen it will lead to almost 50 percent fewer low-income women being screened.

It will mean longer waiting lists.

It will delay diagnosis of cancer.

More women will die who would not have died otherwise.

More women will die.

All for the cost of a month’s donation that Governor Private Equity gave to himself as a campaign contribution.

Spring break in Chicago.

March 2, 2015


Secret Rahm memo to Clinton: Step up attack on immigrants. Be Nixon on crime.

March 2, 2015

Fred Klonsky:

This was posted on this site last June. But in the last 24 hours it has been reposted thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. There seems to be new-found interest in Rahm’s deportation advice to Clinton when Rahm was a Clinton White House Adviser and to the role that my Congressman Luis Gutierrez is now playing as a front man for Rahm. Gutierrez has been a leader in Congress on immigration issues. Yet, how does he reconcile that role and his unabashed enthusiasm for the deportation mayor? In any case, due to the interest, I am reposting the story today.

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:

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The twelve-year limit on secrecy in the Clinton White House is over.

Now we get to see what Rahm told Clinton in the privacy of the Oval Office.

It’s not the image Rahm probably wants to have out there leading up to the 2015 election for Chicago Mayor.

But here it is.

A Nov. 20, 1996 memo from Emanuel to Clinton after Clinton won his second term.

“This is great,” Clinton wrote on the memo

Emanuel called for the President to expand immigration hearings in Illinois and six other states “to claim and achieve record deportations of criminal aliens.”

“The GOP Congress wants to fight the immigration issue out on government benefits. You want to take it to them on the workplace. The INS should be directed to expand the VIS to key industries, beyond meat-packers and poultry. Halfway through your term you want to claim a number of industries free of illegal immigrants.”

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Jim Keating: We’re all in this together. Don’t read about history. Make it.

March 2, 2015


By Jim Keating. Jim is a retired teacher from the western Chicago suburbs.

There is an old WWI Navy poster that reads, “The Navy needs you! Don’t read about American history – make it!”  That was good advice 100 years ago and is still good advice today. We retired educators may be too old to join the Navy, but we are not too old to join  the IEA-R and the IRTA. The state General Assembly has declared war on our pension benefits. Sign up and join in the fight to preserve what we have earned and start making Illinois history. Both organizations need you and you need them. Join today.

For IEA-R membership, go to,,  click “our members”, click “retired”

For IRTA  membership, go to,,  click  “join IRTA”

If you are already members of at least one of these associations, become a recruiter for your local chapter or unit. Do your part and show your fellow TRS members how valuable the IEA-R and the IRTA are to you. When you get your local’s newsletter via email, send it on to your friends with a little note telling them how you have benefited from being a member. Then ask them to join your chapter or unit. Spread the word that by joining the association they will be kept informed and educated about how the pension issues of today will effect their financial lives as they move forward in  retirement.

Now if I may just  speak about the IRTA for a moment. The leadership of the IRTA  is committed to a vigorous and robust defense of our pensions, and they want as many retirees as possible to have their backs. They would like to increase their membership to 40,000 plus by the end of the year. So ask your friends to do their bit. Ask them to join the IRTA and welcome them to the fight for our financial justice.

There really is strength (and political power) in numbers, and we need that now. Large memberships in both the IEA-R  and the IRTA will show the state’s General Assembly that we are a strong and determined community of retired educators. Our state organizations  will fight the good fight to keep what we have earned no matter what the GA tries do. Join the fight. Join both organizations. We are all in this together and together we will win this war on  our pension benefits and make Illinois history.

Golan strikers celebrated their victory today by working with a union contract.

March 1, 2015



 Photos: Fred Klonsky

This afternoon I was so pleased to join with the Golan workers at their victory celebration.

Ironically and happily, many of the workers could not be at the celebration. March 1 is a big moving day, and many of the workers were on the job, working under a union contract.

Our IEA Retired chapter, the Skokie Organization of Retired Educators (S.O.R.E.) has been one of the members of the Skokie Workers Action Team and we had supported the six-month long strike.

We joined the mostly immigrant workers when they met with Skokie State Senator Dan Biss and requested he intervene with the Golan owners on their behalf.

Which Biss agreed to do.

Both Biss and north shore Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky spoke and both made reference to the attack on collective bargaining rights coming from Governor Private Equity.

The attack on public sector unions and private sector unions are inseparable.

As are the issues of defending collective bargaining rights and public sector pension rights.

We have some work to do on explaining that to Senator Biss.

Who is claiming easy victories?

March 1, 2015


Nothing easy about this. Carlos Rosa wins the 35th.

I read In These Times regularly.

And so should those who want to follow what is going on in the Progressive Movement.

I say that not just because they have published a column by me a couple of times.

So, I was surprised to read an article on their online edition suggesting Chicago progressives were claiming an easy win over Rahm Emanuel.

“The City’s Progressives should claim no easy victories,” warned the pundit.

The warning to claim no easy victories come from the Guinean anti-colonial leader and revolutionary Amilcar Cabral.

“Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…”

This is good advice whether you are making revolution in Guinea or working on electing an alderman in the 35th ward.

I could not help but wonder what progressives the pundit was referring to.

Who was claiming this easy victory?

I didn’t think any of this was easy, even for the victories we did win: Carlos Rosa in the 35th, five of the seven Progressive Caucus alderman, two more incumbent progressives surviving a $2 million campaign assault by the mayor. Diane Dalieden’s amazing 40% against Pat O’Connor, the mayor’s man in the City Council. And the many runoffs that those aldermanic water carriers for Rahm must now endure. And possibly lose.

It was a continuation of the change in the political landscape the CTU President Karen Lewis called for. We are building on Will Guzzardi’s electoral win last Spring. And the surprising showing by Jay Travis against Christian Mitchell.

Certainly a number of national observers noticed that Rahm did not win and that Chuy did what had not been done in Chicago in 30 years.

The real question, instead, was whether he’d be able to win more than 50 percent of the vote, and thus avoid an April runoff election. Historically, this is something Chicago’s mayor has almost always accomplished with relative ease; it’s even more perfunctory than when an incumbent president “runs” in his party’s primary before the general election. Yet despite his national profile, the backing of the city’s formidable Democratic machine, an ungodly sum of money, and the support of his former boss (and fellow Chicagoan) President Obama, Emanuel fell short. Experts on Chicago politics described his failure as “a huge embarrassment.”

I guess we can argue all day on what constitutes a victory. There are all kinds of victories. There are moral victories, symbolic victories, real victories, false victories and partial victories.

But nothing that happened last week was an easy victory.

What did happen is the result of the hard work of a new generation of young activists knocking on doors in white, Latino and African American wards with energy for an election not seen in this town since 1983.

I think they deserve a pat on the back. And more than that.

Another victory April 7.


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