The 99% Spring

It’s coming:

From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country.  We will organize trainings to:

Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it

Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and

Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.

This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.

via The 99% Spring.

Let’s see… April 9th through the 15th… if only there was something these folks could be training for.  Maybe something going on say, a month later.  Maybe if there was a big gathering of heads of state and other world leaders and if maybe it was going to take place in May somewhere.

Oh, May in Chicago is going to be one wild ride.  Hang on to your hats ’cause in the Windy City it’s surely going to blow.

Emanuel vs. Lewis

Karen Lewis, the Chicago Teacher’s Union President, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have a testy relationship at best.  …

The two leaders met privately last year ahead of Emanuel’s inauguration.  They went for dinner and to attend a dance — both are fans of the art form — and to develop a working relationship.   …

“In that conversation he did say to me that 25 percent of the students in this city are never going to be anything, never going to amount to anything and he was never going to throw money at them.”

via NBC Chicago.

But naturally Emanuel’s people respond:

The Mayor’s Office said Lewis made up the anecdote.

“That’s simply false,” said Emanuel Press Secretary Sarah Hamilton. “The Mayor is committed to making sure that every single child in Chicago has access to an excellent education, which is why he is fighting so hard to transform the Chicago public schools that have failed our children year after year.”

No one knows what was true except those who there.  But that’s not really the point is it?

The real issue is that CTU President Karen Lewis believes that the way to improve education is to throw money at it.  And doesn’t that just about say about everything that needs to be said?

We have been throwing more and more money at CPS for years.  The results have not trended with the spending.  Check this out:

Educational Spending Over the Years

I wonder how much more money Ms. Lewis want to spend?

Businesses Get the Old Yes No on the G-8/NATO Summits

Well which is it?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was asked Thursday whether businesses located within the inner-most security perimeter will have a process to recover lost profits incurred during the May 19-21 events at McCormick Place.

“The [NATO and G-8] Host Committee is working on it. They’ll have a process for that,” he answered.   …

Later, after some reflection:

His answers to the questions, once reported online Thursday, set off a flurry of denials. A spokeswoman issued a statement saying: “We have no plans to reimburse businesses – the city is open for business.”

When Jennifer Martinez, a spokeswoman for the NATO and G-8 Host Committee, was asked about compensation, she said: “The plan is for all businesses to be open. We do not anticipate businesses being closed. We will not reimburse businesses that decide to close on their own.”

via Chicago Sun-Times.

Oh, I see.  I guess they didn’t want businesses closing to protect themselves and their employees from what might be 50,000 nutty protesters.  I mean, other businesses are going to be doing just that:

Already, DePaul University has decided to close its Loop campus on the day before and the day after the summits and deny access to classrooms, labs, the cafeteria and offices in the Loop campus over a four-day period.

That seems a bit extreme for a private university.  If there’s one thing the protesters understand it’s education.  They want more of it for free.  So why bother a university?  Maybe DePaul knows something they’re not telling.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has said it has “extensive contingency plans” that would allow its employees to “work from home” or from an “off-site location” in the event that demonstrations turn ugly during the summits.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is an old building that has few doors and no windows.  It has it’s own very intense security barriers between the street and the building itself and 24 hour armed guards in the adjacent alley.  It is a fortress.  And yet this place is making plans for employees to work from home or from an off-site location. If this place ain’t safe what chance does the rest of the city have?

And the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that the civil courtrooms at the Daley Center … could be closed down for security reasons in the days surrounding the unprecedented gathering of world leaders.

Earlier this month, United Airlines employees worried about how they will get to Willis Tower during the summits questioned Emanuel during a roundtable about the potentially $65 million event expected to turn the world spotlight on Chicago.

So it’s safe to say that a lot of people appear to have some very reasonable concerns.  It’s not a much ado about nothing situation.

The mayor played down the inconvenience by describing the summits as a “weekend” event, conveniently ignoring the fact that protesters and world leaders are likely to arrive days before the meetings begin.

But, what was it that the protesters were saying again?  Oh ya…

On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month.

via AdBusters.

Note to Rahm:  It’s not the Heads of State breaking windows, blocking traffic, and starting squad cars on fire that people worry about.  It the protesters.  And they plan to be here for a month.


Beavers Indictment: Where’s Madigan?

So I understand that our unwanted and tried to be run out of town U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois has indicted Old Man Beavers.  The feds are usually pretty good about putting their case together and have a 85-90% conviction rate.  So it’s safe to say that the Hog of Cook County is going to join the long list of Chicago (specifically and Illinois generally) politicians who in the end do time.  Way to make us proud.

But has anyone asked where Lisa Madigan was when all this was going down?  Isn’t this corrupt political number six or seven for the U.S. Attorney?  How many politicians has Ms. Madigan prosecuted?  Exactly NONE.

Well ain’t that something.

Beavers Indictment: Talking When Should be Quiet

Talk about passing the buck:

Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, an old-school Chicago politician who likes to call himself “The Hog With the Big Nuts,” has been indicted on federal tax charges.  …

But Beavers, 77, called the indictment “horse s— I’m not worried about.”

He said the feds only indicted him because he refused to wear a wire on fellow Commissioner John Daley, the brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and of former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

What?!  Assuming this is true, isn’t this just about the last thing you want to say?  How does this help Beavers or Daley?  It doesn’t.

Can you imagine some knuckle-dragging bent nose Tony Soprano wanna’be getting indicted and walking out of booking shouting, “They wanted me to wear a wire on Tony.”  Now what you’ve done is tie the two of you together and make both of you look guilty of somethin’.

Looks like Daley certainly took it that way:

John Daley said he was surprised at what he characterized Beavers’ attempt to change the story.

“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Daley said.

He said Beavers never approached him to say that any federal agents had asked Beavers to wear a wire on him. Looking at the indictment against Beavers, Daley said: “It’s pretty obvious what this is about, and this has nothing to do with me.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

Yes, yes.  Of course John.  This has nothing to do with you.


Workers Occupy Goose Island Plant

A group of about 65 workers who occupied a Goose Island window factory in 2008 have once again locked themselves inside the plant in a desperate move to save their jobs.

California-based Serious Energy said Thursday it is closing the plant’s doors and consolidating operations in Colorado and Pennsylvania.

via Chicago Tribune.

This is not good on so many levels.  Jobs leaving, union occupying, government failing… etc.

“Ongoing economic challenges in construction and building products, collapse in demand for window products, difficulty in obtaining favorable lease terms, high leasing and utility costs and taxes, and a range of other factors unrelated to labor costs, have compelled Serious to cease production at the Chicago facility,” the company said in a statement.

Isn’t this just a nice way of saying, ‘We can no longer afford to continue to operate this plant in Chicago where it’s incredibility expensive to due business’?

If a company making windows can’t survive in Chicago then what kind of manufacturing jobs can we sustain here?

It’s Not All Bad

It’s important that every once in awhile we remind ourselves that aside from all the corruption, the parking tickets, the traffic, and the weather (generally but what happened to winter this year?) and the massive debt that the Machine has thrust upon us and our children that Chicago totally rocks for business.

[LevelUp founder Seth] Priebatsch said he was attracted to Chicago because of its size and importance, as well as its active startup community. The company, which has about 120 employees, has opened an office in Chicago with seven people.

via Chicago Tribune.


PNC Bank is opening three new branches in Chicago, bringing 200 new jobs to the city by the end of 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The positions will be located at the three new branches and at PNC Centre, the company’s regional headquarters at One North Franklin.

via Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Teachers Asking for 30% Raises

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for raises amounting to 30 percent over the next two years, the opening salvo in heated contract negotiations with school officials who are implementing a longer school day across Chicago Public Schools next school year.

Documents obtained by the Tribune show that in the face of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s expansion of the school day, the union has led with an offer seeking a 24 percent raise in the 2012-13 school year and a 5 percent increase the following year, the net effect being 30 percent.

via Chicago Tribune.

This just goes to show the world how completely out of touch the CTU is with the taxpayers that pay the bills.

The city is broke; the state is broke; the feds are broke.  The wheels are falling off the bus, people everywhere are struggling, and here comes the teachers asking for a 30% raise over two years.

According to CPS’s own website the starting salary for a teaching with a bachelor’s degree is $50,577.00 for 38.6 weeks or 193 days.  It further provides that, “[t]he salary and total compensation figures are based on a regular school term of 40 weeks, at 6.25 hours per day….

The way I figure that’s $50,577.00 / (6.25 * 193)  = $41.92 / hour.  That’s not too bad for some 22 year old right out of college.

Consider some other public servants: Assistant State’s Attorneys.  A Cook County ASA starts at $57,196.00 for a regular, real, full-time job.  $57,196.00 / 2080 = $27.50 / hour.

So we, the taxpayers, already pay teachers with a bachelor degree over 150% more per hour than we pay ASA’s with a law degree and passed the bar exam.  And on this they want a 30% raise.

It’s no wonder our schools are failing.  Their They’re run by greed greedy pigs.

UPDATE:  Fixed some bad grammar as noted.