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Election Countdown 2012: Chicago Teachers Go Back to the Classroom, and More

This week in the Election Countdown: Chicago teachers vote to end the strike with plans to ratify a new contract in the next two weeks; Democrats are favored to take the Senate when the new Congress convenes in January; Obama’s post DNC bounce all but disappears in the latest Gallup polls; and More. Mission elapsed … Continued

This week in the Election Countdown: Chicago teachers vote to end the strike with plans to ratify a new contract in the next two weeks; Democrats are favored to take the Senate when the new Congress convenes in January; Obama’s post DNC bounce all but disappears in the latest Gallup polls; and More.

Mission elapsed time: T + 12 and counting*

What’s it going to be then, eh? –Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Chicago teachers strike. Back to work: “The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates decided this afternoon to end the city’s first teacher strike in 25 years and return more than 350,000 students to the classroom Wednesday. After the vote, Delegates poured out of the union hall singing ‘Solidarity Forever.'” … Still no contract: “[CTU President Karen] Lewis said the entire membership of the union will cast a formal vote in the next two weeks to ratify a new contract agreement.” … FTW, Diane Ravitch: “[T]he union pitted itself against Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan, Chicago’s business and civic leadership, and the Race to the Top. It took on the most powerful forces in the city, and yes, even President Obama, who remained neutral. And by taking a stand, by uniting to resist the power elite, these teachers discovered they were strong. They put on their red T-shirts and commanded the attention of the nation and the admiration of millions of teachers. Powerless no more, they showed that unity made them strong. 98% voted to authorize the strike, and 98% voted to end it.”

#S17. Police state: “Councilmember Jumaane Williams took a baton to the chest late last night while observing the NYPD make arrests in Zuccotti Park.” … Police state: “love you all. God jail is boring. #s17 #ows The women’s section was totally threatened with a night in the tombs for singing Solidarity Forever. On line to get my things on the way out, I was in between a reporter for the Boston Phoenix and an elderly couple, one of whom was a priest.” … Zeitgeist watch: Two mentions of Solidarity Forever in two different contexts. Hmm.

FL. Voting: Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign records show he paid $5,000 in 2010 to an alleged boletera, who was accused in Hialeah–during the 2011 mayor’s race–of going door-to-door collecting absentee ballots from the elderly.” … Money: [Todd Long R] attacked [Alan Grayson D] for having referred to a female Federal Reserve adviser and former Enron lobbyist as a ‘K Street whore.’ Long called the 2009 comment sexist and demeaning. Grayson apologized at the time, but he defended the remark Monday. Lobbyists are commonly referred to that way, he said, ‘because they congregate on K Street, and they’re whores.‘” … Nuclear: “Mark W. Hicks, 53, of Port St. Lucie, alleges in the [whistleblower] complaint that he was terminated from his job as operations manager for refusing to start up the plant’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor after recognizing it had a leaky valve.”

IA. Youth vote: “‘Everyone was like, ‘Obama’s coming to town, Obama’s coming to town!'” said Logan Williams, 21, of Iowa City, a student at the University of Iowa. “But this year, I mean I literally had tickets to one of his events in my hands, and I said, ‘No thanks.'”

MD. Debt: “After Regina Friend’s son committed suicide last year, she was at least relieved to know that the loans he took out to pay for his Temple University degree were forgiven. But now, the Cockeysville woman has learned she faces a hefty tax bill on those canceled loans. ‘I thought I was done,’ she said. Then in June she spoke to her tax preparer, who told her that she will owe an estimated $14,000. According to IRS rules, loans that are forgiven in the case of death or permanent disability are treated as income.” … Unions: “With time running out before the contract expires, the union representing 14,500 longshoremen on the East and Gulf coasts and the port employers’ organization will meet Wednesday morning with a federal mediator to try to avert the first strike in 35 years.”

ME. Penobscots: “Matthew Manahan of [politically wired out-of-state trash advocates] Pierce Atwood LLP contacted 10 municipalities and six companies he said have an interest in the lawsuit, in which the [Penobscot] nation is seeking an injunction to keep ME game wardens from policing the river and preventing tribal members from engaging in sustenance fishing. ‘This lawsuit could have significant consequences for non-Indian waste discharge licensees discharging into the river or its tributaries,’ he wrote.”

MO. Akin: “In what looks like another gender-related gaffe from R Senate candidate Todd Akin’s campaign, a website purporting to show his female supporters pictures a D Party operative who was only there to monitor his activities.”

NC. Police state: “The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), under the leadership of Sheriff Terry S. Johnson, has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law.”

OH. Fracking: “Some landowners in Mercer County were hoping for answers Tuesday night as to why they are being passed over for their mineral leases. A statement from Halcon [Energy Resources] said they did due diligence on the leases and found some landowners did not qualify. That fragmented the land making it impossible to have the necessary acreage for horizontal drilling.” … Voting: “Voter registration rolls have shrunk by 490,000 statewide from the last presidential election, in part because of efforts to eliminate duplicated and outdated entries, as well as voters who had been inactive for more than four years. Cuyahoga County accounts for 44 percent of the reduction statewide” [Cf. NC 2012-09-15].

PA. Voting: “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 4 to 2 decision this afternoon, has vacated a Commonwealth Court’s earlier ruling, which had denied a temporary injunction on the state GOP’s polling place Photo ID restriction law. Rather than issuing their own injunction, they have has sent the matter back to the lower court for review.” … Fracking: “A group of environmental and community planning organizations, as well as government entities, filed a series of amicus briefs with the PA Supreme Court in support of a Commonwealth Court decision that found Act 13 unconstitutional. This PA law would have permitted fracking virtually everywhere in the Commonwealth without any regard to community character or the existing local economy.” …. Small towns: “The median population of a NJ municipality is about 22,000; in PA, it is 1,900.”

TX. Privatization: “Six of the seven Laredo residents who pleaded guilty to illegal [straw purchases of] guns Monday worked at the Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, [which is] privately managed by The Geo Group.” … Pipelines: “Twenty-six people were killed and at least 51 injured by a Tuesday morning explosion at the Petróleos Mexicanos gas pipeline distribution center on the outskirts of Reynosa.”

VA. Tea party: “This is not to denigrate the Tea Party. I may not agree with most of the views of Tea Party leader Jamie Ratdke, who lost a primary fight for U.S. senator to George Allen, but I respect her and realize she’s not exactly a nut case.” Not exactly.

WI. Money: “The Wisconsin Realtors Association funneled more than $1 million to [the Club for Growth], against the wishes of some members whose dues funded this contribution.” … Fracking: “[U]sing job-site estimates developed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation*, found that when existing mines and those being built are fully operating, the [fracking sand] industry will employ about 2,780 people.” [* I’m wary. WEDC is not *.gov, but *.org.] … Unions: “State AG Van Hollen on Tuesday asked a Dane County judge to hold off enforcement of his ruling that overturned much of a controversial collective bargaining law until the state has appealed the decision.”

WV. Extractive economy: “Alpha Natural Resources has identified the eight mines it’s closing in Central Appalachia. Some 400 workers are being laid off Tuesday. Another 800 layoffs are looming as Alpha shifts its business away from U.S. power plants and toward overseas steel mills.”

Outside baseball. Privatization: “Privatisation was not a Thatcher patent. The Spanish economist Germà Bel traces the origins of the word to the German word Reprivatisierung, first used in English in 1936 by the Berlin correspondent of the Economist, writing about Nazi economic policy.” … Teaching: “In 1988, the modal number of years of teacher experience was 15 (meaning there were more teachers with 15 years experience than any other cohort). By 2008, the modal years of teacher experience was ONE. There were more first-year teachers than any other group.” … Election reform: “Reforming our elections must be integral to our agenda, even once we’ve figured out that the Messiah hasn’t been nominated.” … The blob: “Most damningly, Jeff Connaughton in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,] writes about something he calls ‘The Blob,’ a kind of catchall term describing an oozy pile of Hill insiders who are all incestuously interconnected, sometimes by financial or political ties, sometimes by marriage, sometimes by all three. [T]aking on Wall Street even with the aim of imposing simple, logical fixes often inspired immediate hostile responses from The Blob; you’d never know where it was coming from.”

Legacy parties. Jerseys: “‘Remember,’ he said. ‘We all wear blue jerseys and play for the Blue Team.'” I’ve been using the jersey as a metaphor for tribalism for years. But I didn’t know insiders used it, too.

The trail. Senate: “Ds are now favored to retain control of the Senate when the new Congress convenes in January.” … Gallup: “Obama’s small bounce in the polls following the DNCon has all but vanished in Tuesday’s Gallup daily tracking poll.” …. The Gaffes: “Many a news cycle was built on a ‘gaffe’ with a remarkably short shelf life.” Handy charts! … The polls, Lynn Sweet: “The Romney and Obama campaigns have this in common: They don’t pay much attention to national polls, except to discern certain trends or themes or show them to wavering mega-donors.* The polls that matter are the battleground state surveys.” [* Pretty amazing. They’d actually engineer a poll result to win a contribution? I guess so.] … All good things must come to an end: “With just 49 days left until the election, the room for error — for both candidates — continues to narrow.”

Green party. Press releases: Nothing on the secret Romney video. Missed opportunity.

The Romney. Strategery: “Mitt Romney, sensing an opening in the Middle East mess and catching flak from conservatives for giving too little detail about his policy plans, is rolling out a new and broader strategy to make the election a referendum on “status quo versus change,” chief strategist Stuart Stevens told POLITICO” (before the secret tape eruption). … “Bitter” then, “entitled” now, Carter’s revenge: “[S]elf-described “oppo researcher”James Carter IV told NBC News in an interview that, starting late last month, he tracked down the source who took the secret Romney video via Twitter — and then in a series of messages encouraged him to release the full tape to Mother Jones magazine.” It was recorded May 17. Masterful timing by Axelrove! Here are the full, unedited tapes. … “Bitter” then, “entitled” now, Department of Unfounded Rumors: “Somebody shipped this tape to Corn for the express purpose of confirming every single stereotype of Romney in which people already had come to despise.” … “Bitter” then, “entitled” now, Department of Unfounded Rumors: “Susan suspects that the video was made by one of the serving staff at the event. Maybe a union member? Wouldn’t that be sweet.” … “Bitter” then, “entitled” now worth jail? ” In FL, it is either a felony or a high grade misdemeanor under 934.03 for the individual who made the secret recordings of Romney to have done so.” …. “Bitter” then, “entitled” now: “My reaction to listening to excerpts from Obama’s “bitter clingers” speech: That guy doesn’t understand or like people like me and mine. My reaction to listening to excerpts from Romney’s “47 percent” speech: That guy doesn’t understand or like people like me and mine. One of these guys will be president for the next four years. Dammit.” … “Bitter” then, “entitled” now, a note of sanity: “The underlying problem is the assumption that politicians have a true self that must somehow be revealed. It’s useful to know what Romney says in private to donors, but we will never know whether those statements actually reflect his true beliefs.”

With friends like these: “Romney should then leave without taking questions, perhaps issuing a detailed statement of these points later.” … Drudge: “[In a Fox News interview Tuesday,] Romney several times referenced a 1998 clip that surfaced just before his interview [how convenient], which shows Obama, then a state senator, advocating for helping the poor through ‘redistribution.'” … Lesser evil: “[The Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas:] ‘And so those of us who have said yes (to Romney), we’re going to support him as the lesser of two evils, but at the same time, we’re making very clear that we’re doing so realizing Mormonism is not Christianity.'” … Gaffes: Top 20 from The Romney.

From the Barcalounger: Ya know, I’m happy to pass the popcorn — not least because damaging either legacy party wins merit — if and while The Romney explodes, but anybody who thinks blowing the Mittster into a million little pieces will prevent a collective diet of Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food is delusional. Official Washington is committed to that policy, and The Obama is personally committed to it. Very happy to be wrong, but have you heard “Not one penny of cuts” from The Obama? No?

The Obama. “One thing I’ve learned” riff: “[OBAMA:] One thing I’ve learned as president is that you represent the entire country.” Oh, you didn’t know that when you were running? Why did you run, then? … “Folks“: “[OBAMA:] When folks are breaking the rules, we go after them.” Well, unless they’re banksters. … Gaffes: Top 12 from The Obama.

* Slogan of the day: For the Motherland, for The Romney, for World Peace, for Private Equity!