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Election Countdown 2012: Chicago Teachers Strike Spreads Across the City, and More

As the Teachers Strike in Chicago puts stress on the Obama campaign, Election Countdown has all the news leading up to November

This week in the Election Countdown: For the first time in history teachers in the Lake Forrest High School District join the teachers strike; A report shows that a shrinking workforce – not job creation – accounts for the drop in unemployment in Florida; The people of Michigan demand that parking their cars is a right not a privilege; Companies associated with a real estate mogul in New York have funneled in $900,000 into Senate races; and More.

Mission elapsed time: T + 6 and counting*

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Montreal. Victoire! “Even if she has a minority Pauline Maois has the firm intention to act rapidly to cancel the rise in tuition, and repleal Bill 101.” Victory…. Or a good start.

Chicago Teachers Strike. Strike spreads: “For the first time in the district’s history, teachers in Lake Forest High School District 115 went on strike today after failing to reach an agreement over salaries during negotiations that ended just before midnight.” … Sympathy strike? ” SEIU Local 1 today informed companies that employ about 1,800 of its members as custodial workers in city schools that those workers might go out on strike with teachers in 48 hours.” SEIU?! … Andy Rotherham, worst person in the world: “Part of this strike, it’s pretty clear, is that the union needed to have some theater for its members, let them blow off some steam, and that’s increasingly obvious.” … Organization: “At another Lane event, Smith and colleague Steve Parsons gave a presentation on Eli Broad, the billionaire whose leadership institute trains business people to run school districts with a privatization agenda. Among the Broad graduates is Jean-Claude Brizard, whom Emanuel appointed CEO of Chicago Public Schools.” … Legacy parties: “Let’s stop kidding ourselves. This is what Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and Arne Duncan and Paul Ryan have in mind when they promote charter schools and the right to fire teachers with tenure: Slash teachers’ salaries and bust their unions.” … Where Rahm’s kids go: “[University of Chicago’s Lab School director David Magill:] ‘Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.'” … Democrats: “Chicago-area Ds — including several who have relatives in the school system — refrained from taking sides in the strike on Tuesday, saying that both they and the White House should give city leaders space to hash out an agreement.” Solidarity! … Progress: “Both [CPS President David] Vitale and [CTU leader Karen] Lewis also said they were hopeful the strike could end and students could be back in class by Friday.”

CA. Refinery fire: “A corroded pipe that failed and triggered a leak and massive fire at one of CA’s largest refineries [(Chevron’s)] had walls as thin as a penny in some areas, federal investigators said.” … No helicopter? “During a high-speed chase, alleged bank robbers threw handfuls of money out their vehicle’s window. The pursuit began after four men robbed a Bank of America in Santa Clarita.” … Air: “Air samples collected near the Salton Sea clinched inspectors’ suspicions of the 376-square mile, murky body of water as the source of the pervasive smell. [I]nspectors collected air samples that contained hydrogen sulfide [from dead fish].”

CO. Abortion: “The CO SOS’s office says the so-called ‘personhood’ amendment will not be on the November ballot, despite any legal action from proponents to prove they collected enough voter signatures.”

FL. Charlie Crist: “In the case of Digital Domain — biggest loser in the history of Florida’s incentives program — Crist had plenty of facts to make a more responsible decision. He could have listened to Enterprise Florida. He could have listened to now-former Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, who tirelessly detailed Digital’s bad-risk history.” … Disemployment: “A shrinking workforce — not job creation — accounts for 91 percent of the drop in FL’s unemployment rate so far this year, according to new projections from state economists.” … Charters, corruption: “In one case, a K12 manager instructed a certified teacher to sign a class roster of more than 100 students. She only recognized seven names on that list.” … Poverty: “What we are finding is, our calls have much more intensity to them and are taking a lot longer” (crisis hotline)

LA. Fracking, corruption: “[Charles “Chip” Groat] led a study of fracking that was released in February. When it was presented at this year’s meeting of the AAAS, Groat pointed out that it had been paid for by the [University of Texas] and its independence was therefore guaranteed. Groat is on the board of Plains Exploration and Production, which paid him $413,000 in cash and stock last year. Since 2007 Groat has received $1.6 million in stock alone from the company. So UT research money is down the drain and [Groat’s] Water Institute [which is entrusted with the preservation of the coast] is dragged collaterally into the mud.” … Corruption: “For the third time in his congressional career, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has made Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s annual list of the ‘most corrupt members‘ of Congress.”

ME. Occupy: [M]ore than 20 [Occupy Augusta] protesters stood outside the Diamond Building along with picket signs and handing out flyers that denounced Colby’s support for its board of trustees Chairman[, Barclay’s] Bob Diamond.”

MI. Cars: “Parking is not a right, but a privilege. We should not feel entitled to parking our vehicles in such close proximity to our destination that it erodes our landscape.” … Poll: “A poll done by EPIC-MRA showed Obama with a commanding 10-point lead over Michigan-born-and-raised Mitt Romney.” Swing state Keynsianism. … Income: “MI’s median household income rose by 2.4% in real terms in 2011 — at a time when incomes nationwide fell slightly.”

MO. Akin: “But Akin can see what game the GOP is playing. They want to push him out of the race, and their deadline to get him out is September 25. If he stays in the race until then, at that point they’ll be stuck with him. Todd Akin may be crazy, but he’s not stupid. Wait. Let me rephrase. He may be crazy and stupid, but he’s not unable to spot a bluff.”

NY. Corruption: “Companies associated with luxury real estate mogul Leonard Litwin have funneled more than $900,000 into races for the NY State Senate so far this election cycle — mostly to Rs.” … Corruption: “Assemblyman Vito Lopez demanded the strict confidentiality clause that initially kept secret a $103,000 settlement with two former staffers who had accused him of sexual harassment.” … Fracking: “Officials say right now, the state has no tax structure for state taxes to be recouped [from fracking] and that’s a real concern if New York is even considering allowing gas drilling.”

OH. Referendum: “The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with backers of proposed revisions to the state’s redistricting procedures [and] compelled the Ohio Ballot Board to quickly reconvene to replace the text its members had approved to describe November’s Issue 2.” SoS Husted again.

PA. No longer in play: “The GOP is off the air in PA.” …. Fracking: “The PUC says Pitts­burgh City Coun­cil over­stepped its author­ity by ban­ning frack­ing, some­thing the com­mis­sion says only the Com­mon­wealth can do. the Pitts­burgh City Coun­cil plans to ignore the PUC’s censure.”

OR. Vital bodily fluids: “The City Council has voted to add fluoride to Portland’s water, meaning OR’s largest city is no longer the biggest holdout in the U.S.”

TN. Unswing states: “[AL GORE:] “I’ve seen how these states are just written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race, and I really do now think that it’s time to change that.” Easiest route to a Constitutional Convention?

TX. Public good: “But rather than let the building become an eyesore, [McAllen] scooped it up and spent $24 million transforming the drab structure into a 123,000-square-foot public library that now serves as a vibrant space for the city’s residents.” …. Management bloat: “The new head of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department plans to [reduce] the number of top supervisory staff by as much as 20%, and has handed out writing assignments to agency leaders.”

USVI. Primary: “In a rare occurrence in Virgin Islands politics, Rs will have a primary for their Delegate to Congress candidate. Holland Redfield II will face off with Vincent Danet for the chance to run against the winner of the Democratic primary and independent candidates Warren Mosler [here], Guillaume Mimoun and Norma Pickard Samuel.”

VA. Uranium: “VA politicians are better at doing some things than others. One thing they do especially well is doing nothing. And that’s probably what they’ll do on uranium mining.”

WI. Public good: “Lloyd, a former librarian, was entranced by the Little Free Libraries she’d encountered on her bike trips around Madison, and decided to establish one at Brittingham — one of the city’s smallest, but very well used, off-leash dog parks.” Also memorial to Maggie, her dog. … Panic: “The Department of Administration confirmed Tuesday that it installed 482 panic buttons in offices around the statehouse, in an effort to provide a level of comfort for staffers who they say have felt harassed by the presence of protesters in the historic building.” And not one incident of violence.

Outside baseball. Zeitgeist watch: “[Miley] Cyrus played up the grunge look with her slick blond ‘do, an ‘Anarchy’ cut-off tee and chunky boots.” … Libya flap: ” At the very least, the attack in Benghazi should make us a bit more skeptical the next time we hear that the U.S. will gain goodwill by taking the side of an opposition movement.” … Totem and taboo: “The main tactic of both parties, in any case, and of all political camps, is the same: anathematization of the opponent on grounds of taboo-violation.” … MOOCs: “Instead of teaching dozens of students or even a couple hundred, star teachers will reach thousands. What will that mean for the not-so-great instructors and the no-name educational institutions that employ them? Perhaps they will provide supplementary services, as intermediaries or subalterns, to students who crave that face-to-face experience. Perhaps they’ll go out of business. Either way, they will adopt [sic] or die.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Democrats: “But members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are warning that they’ll fight to kill any budget package that would cut Medicare coverage, Social Security benefits and safety net programs for the poor — all elements of the Simpson-Bowles plan.” They’ll cave…

The trail. Debates: “Free & Equal is working for a 2012 presidential debate, to be held in Chicago on Tuesday, October 23, the day after the last Commission on Presidential Debates event is held. Candidates who are, or may possibly, be on the ballot in states containing a majority of the electoral vote are invited.” … Son of Ross Perot: “If enough Rs are disgusted with Romney by election time and if enough Ron Paul voters turn out for Johnson, there’s a possibility that a few of the blood-red western states might wind up being competitive for Obama.”

Libertarian Party. Ballot access: “The Libertarian Party reports that Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in at least 47 states, plus the District of Columbia.”

RNCon. Lessons learned: “I’m rooting for a different lesson, however: that it’s a bad idea to base your convention theme around an out-of-context quote, and that it’s a bad idea for your vice presidential candidate to reel off one whopper after another in his convention speech – especially obvious lies that the media can’t help but pick up on.” You never know!

DNCon. Foto Funnies: Romney, Ryan Sneak Into DNC While Posing As Caterers.

The Romney. Libya flap: Timeline (WSJ); Timeline (TPM). … Libya flap, Nooners: “Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.” … Libya flap, Frum: “The Romney campaign’s attempt to score political points on the killing of American diplomats was a dismal business in every respect.” … Libya flap, WaPo editorial: “Mr. Romney’s rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign.” … Eastwood, Newsmax loon: “It is beyond belief that seasoned political pros would allow Eastwood, whose political views and loyalties have been all over the map through the decades, to take the stage right before the nominee’s speech and ad lib a speech.”

The Obama. Walter Russell Mead: “9/11/12, the day the roof fell in. The Chicago teacher strike raised doubts about the President’s domestic leadership, the publication of Bob Woodward’s new book raised questions about his economic management and political skills, and 11 years to the day after the 9/11 attack, radical America-hating Islamists stormed the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, assassinated the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others even as U.S. and Israeli relations sank to another low point.” Well, when you put it that way… Srlsy, did somebody take Romney aside and say “Kid, this ain’t your night”?

Slogan of the day: “Salute workers, peasants, intellectuals, and cadres in the Swing States!”


Dear supporter of the Chicago Teachers Union,

Here is the information on how supporters can donate to buy lunch for the striking Chicago teachers:

You can show your solidarity with striking Chicago teachers by donating to pay for their lunch. For however long the strike lasts, striking Chicago Teachers Union activists and supporters will meet at their strike headquarters after morning picket lines and before a mass picket downtown in the afternoon.

The Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign has made arrangements with Primo’s pizza, a locally owned and teacher-friendly restaurant near the strike HQ, to deliver pizza, pasta, and salads. You can help defer the up to $1,000 a day cost by calling Primo’s and asking them to take a donation with your credit card. At the conclusion of the strike, any unused funds will go toward the ongoing campaign to defend public education and fight for an elected school board in Chicago. (Consider pooling donations with others and making just one phone call.)

Call Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052. Primo’s is at 816 W Van Buren Street, Chicago. Open 11 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, but try not to call during lunch rush 11:45 to 1:15.

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