Ahhh…School Politics

With all of the problems the Chicago Public Schools face, you might think I’d find this little tussle just a silly sideshow:


After the initial sit-in last year, CPS agreed to the parents’ demand for a library and agreed to spare a nearby field house from demolition. However, the district said, the library would be built inside the school, not in the field house, as parents had asked.

Parents at the time accepted that plan, so long as the library was not constructed in newly rehabbed areas of the school. But as the district tried to begin construction of the $400,000 library last week, some parents, community agitators and leftist activists from across the city converged on the neighborhood, blocking construction crews from entering the school.

Protesters said a library inside the school would displace special education classes — an assertion CPS denies. Instead, the group asked the district to support an estimated $750,000 project to transform the run-down, one-story field house into a parent center and library. And the group recently added a new demand: That CPS pay part of the cost of the field house project.


It’s actually a perfect example of stupidity that makes actual changes in the District, or any district nearly impossible. I’m not that thrilled with Brizzard and do not see him as what the CPS needs.  However, trying to extort the rehab of a field house out of a cash strapped district and blocking a library in a school is absurd and a perfect example of the kind of myopic view of activists less concerned with the District’s ability to concentrate on teaching and performance.

If you want neighborhood development the CPS may be a good partner, but it’s not a cash cow for pet projects.

Most Important Article of the Day

Census: Number of black children living in 25 biggest US cities drops by half-million


Last year’s census found that the number of black, non-Hispanic children living in New York City had fallen by 22.4 percent in 10 years. In raw numbers, that meant 127,058 fewer black kids living in the city of Jay Z and Spike Lee, even as the number of black adults grew slightly.

The same pattern has repeated from coast to coast. Los Angeles saw a 31.8 percent decline in its population of black children, far surpassing the 6.9 percent drop in black adults. The number of black children in Atlanta fell by 27 percent. It was down 31 percent in Chicago and 37.6 percent in Detroit. Oakland, Calif. saw a drop of 42.3 percent, an exodus that fell only 6 percentage points below the decline in flood-ravaged New Orleans.


Demographics experts said a combination of factors appeared to be at work. Americans in general are having fewer children than they once did, due mostly to increased use of birth control. That has been true, too, among black mothers. Teen pregnancy rates among blacks have also plummeted.

But the more significant trend, experts said, may be a migration by young black parents to the suburbs.


Saint Louis had the same phenomenon occur.  One of the issues the article doesn’t cover and will become more clear as the rest of the Census data is released is that much of hte housing being moved out of is falling down and there is a cheap supply of obsolescent housing in the inner ring suburbs.  As middle class families have gotten smaller we also expect better housing with more bedrooms and bathrooms.  Much of the housing from pre-and post-war inner ring suburbs is small and doesn’t have what modern middle class families expect.  This has created a glut of cheap housing in a lot of suburbs allowing many working class and working poor black families to move out to inner ring suburbs.

One interesting impact will be on education and it can be seen in many inner ring suburban districts already.  Instead of being able to focus improvements in big school districts, the new reality means that multiple districts have to be addressed making the process that much harder.

The other area is public safety where the challenge of addressing crime is far harder when the problem crosses multiple jurisdictions.

How To Be a Dick



It’s not calling the President a dick that’s a problem. It’s a problem that the entire analysis of the press conference yesterday by the President was dickish because he pushed back at the bullshit Republicans have been pushing during the stand off over the federal debt limit.

Dicks like Boehner, Cantor, and The Turtle from Kentucky have voted repeatedly for an increase in the debt ceiling for years while supporting keeping the wars off budget and ignoring the effect of tax cuts on the deficit.  Yet, these dicks insist on cutting programs and not even closing any unnecessary tax breaks for companies with record profits.

It’s not that he called the President a dick that’s a problem. It’s that Halperin is a delusional dick himself.  And a douche nozzle.  Treating this negotiation as anything other than insane is what a dick would do.  If Republicans want to fight over the budget–fight over the budget, but leave the debt limit increase out of it.

Becoming upset because the President called out bullshit is exactly what is wrong with the Washington commentariat.   Politics is a way of resolving conflict.  A much better solution than the alternative that involves guns and all sorts of nasty stuff.  There’s nothing wrong with a good battle of ideas and idiots like Halperin don’t recognize that there is nothing wrong with it.   In fact, it just might lead to responsible government with clear lines drawn for an election.  Do you want an austerity program that will drag the economy into a long slow lost decade as the Japanese had in the 1990s or do you want to try and get the economy moving and through targeted spending on infrastructure?  It’s not being a dick to give voters a choice–it’s being a leader.

Boehner, Cantor, The Turtle from Kentucky all are being just as combative every day, but only in Washington does that make Obama a dick.  He’s upsetting the Mark Halperin cocktail circuit and that’s most important.

For Those Who Thought a Second Trial Was a Waste

There was a gadfly juror last time that stopped a number of counts.   This was always a solid case overall and it shows today.


Judy Baar  Topinka’s release:


CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released the following statement Monday in response to a jury finding former Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 counts against him:

“I am heartened by the Jury’s verdict against Rod Blagojevich, and pleased to see justice after many months of waiting. But make no mistake: this is nothing to celebrate. Through his unconscionable behavior and reckless leadership, Blagojevich inflicted damage on Illinois that will take years, if not generations, to repair. He broke the public trust and mismanaged dollars with a zeal that was unique even in our storied state.

“I find his behavior reprehensible and am personally pleased to see him held responsible. But more important, I hope that today’s verdict delivers a reminder that elected leaders serve the public, not the other way around – and they will be held accountable, even if it takes a while.”

“While I look forward to turning the page on Blagojevich, I hope that the lessons learned from his prosecution live on. Ironically, it would prove to be his greatest contribution to our state.”


Many of us, including her, tried to tell everyone.  It’s amazing what it took to get this clown out of office.

I Love Michelle Bachman


Washington Times

Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: “Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” (Someone has already posted the clip to YouTube under the name BachmannLovesGacy)

John Wayne, the movie legend, is in fact from Iowa and the John Wayne birthplace is a celebrated landmark — only it’s in Winterset, which is a nearly three hour drive away from Waterloo.

Gacy, though, had his first taste of the criminal life in Waterloo, where he lived for a short time, and where he had his first criminal conviction for an attempted homosexual assault, which landed him in prison for 18 months.

He would move back to Illinois, where his killing spree started, and lasted about six years. In 1980 he was convicted on 33 counts of murder, and was executed in 1994.


Michelle Bachman wouldn’t brag about it, but Waterloo has one of the larger and historic African-American populations in Iowa and is a diverse place.  It’s a great town, even though it produced this idiot.

Guilty on 17 Counts

Including all of the charges on the Senate shakedown.

Guilty on race track and hospital verdicts

No decision–Ari Emanuel and the school and one on the tollway. One not guilty on the tollway charge.

Justice is sometimes slow, but it usually comes along. He will receive a long sentence most likely and will likely not be in the lowest security prison to begin with.


At 5 PM and perhaps 6 PM Stuart Shiffman, a frequent commenter here, will be on WICS to discuss the verdicts.




Not quite as good as this one from last cycle though:


GOP Congressional Fights

Via Rich as well

In some cases, the freshmen are being pitted against each other, creating political enemies among rookies who should be spending their first term bonding with fellow home-state newbies. For example, in Illinois, Republican Joe Walsh may have to run against freshman Randy Hultgren, meaning one of them will end his career after just one term.

Do you want a sane, very conservative Congressman such as Hultgren or a tea party crazed idiot in Joe Walsh?  As a Dem, that’s an easy one.  Please put Joe Walsh on teevee even more.

For now, the 87 GOP freshmen are relying on political advice from House Republican leadership and campaign offices, which have organized teams to work with the freshmen and their reelection preparation. Although party leaders are keeping their hands off potential conflicts, they might quietly take sides on behalf of a clearly superior candidate.

A House GOP source, for example, noted that Rep. Adam Kinzinger, 33, would bring “more energy, fundraising ability and a brighter future” to a showdown with the 67-year-old Don Manzullo, who hasn’t had a serious reelection challenge since he was first elected in 1992.

The idea that Kinzinger might get the RNCC nod is fascinating, but also will likely lead to a whole lot of mess in the Republican caucus.

A Good Crop of Candidates

Rich runs down the efforts by people running for Congress with new entrants. One of the more interesting races puts Tammy Duckworth against Raja Krishnamoorthi.   Raja ran a decent campaign for comptroller and probably was better off by losing in the primary.  He also has the requisite name that is damn near impossible to spell off the bat, but Tammy will have my support in this one. That’s not a knock against Raja at all who has a real shot and would make a good Member of Congress–I just have a ton of respect for Tammy and want to see her in Congress.

Frerichs is out, which I expected in IL-13.  Frankly, a statewide run would be smarter for him so I didn’t expect much else.

Koehler is already putting in phone time which is great news.  When he was a in the Lt. Governor selection process he really impressed me and I think he’d be a perfect fit for that District. His biography is compelling (and yeah, George Ryan aide Scott Fawell ended  up doing time at his old college now converted into a prison).

Prior to serving on the Senate, Koehler spent six years on the Peoria County Board and eight years on the Peoria City Council—including two years as Mayor Pro Tem.  In every elected position, Koehler has worked tirelessly to serve the voters who elected him and to improve the quality of life of the communities he represents.

Before he first held elected office, Koehler embarked on a career of community development.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yankton College in 1971 and earned a Masters of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  From 1972 to 1978, he worked for the National Farm Worker Ministry, helping improve the lives of migrant workers.  After moving to Peoria in 1978, Koehler began a job as a community organizer and later became manager of Peoria Friendship House—an organization that helps the city’s most vulnerable citizens secure education, nutrition, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities.

In 1985, Koehler became the first Executive Director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM)—a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cooperation between labor and management in the area’s many unionized factories and facilities.  In 1992 he also became President of PALM’s Labor Management Cooperate Health Programs—a purchasing cooperative aimed at finding low-cost, high-quality health care for its members and the community.

I usually wait for endorsements, but I’m on board for him as well as Duckworth.

Finally, Oneman will be annoyed as Foster jumps in the 11th with Atkinson bowing out of the race leaving the question of what Atkinson is thinking of doing.

Why Chris Christie Will Never Be President And Probably Be A One-Termer


He might get to be judge–calling Mike Bilandic.

But more to the point, he has the same game for anytime he’s called on his bullshit.




I’m not big on caring about using state helicopters or planes for a variety of reasons so I don’t care that he took the helicopter so much, but the notion that he gets caught being stupid and he gets to play he loves his family reminds me of one particular asshole here in Illinois.  Add to this his temper and he’d never make it through a campaign for president and may well not make it through a reelection race.

Next You Know Villagers Will Be Shocked by Swearing

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post about the stupidity and incredible hypocrisy going on over Weiner.


What makes the Anthony Weiner story somewhat unique and thus worth discussing for a moment is that, as Hendrik Hertzberg points out, the pretense of substantive relevance (which, lame though it was in prior scandals, was at least maintained) has been more or less brazenly dispensed with here.  This isn’t a case of illegal sex activity or gross hypocrisy (i.e., David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley (who built their careers on Family Values) or Eliot Spitzer (who viciously prosecuted trivial prostitution cases)).  There’s no lying under oath (Clinton) or allegedly illegal payments (Ensign, Edwards).  From what is known, none of the women claim harassment and Weiner didn’t even have actual sex with any of them.  This is just pure mucking around in the private, consensual, unquestionably legal private sexual affairs of someone for partisan gain, voyeuristic fun and the soothing fulfillment of judgmental condemnation.  And in that regard, it sets a new standard: the private sexual activities of public figures — down to the most intimate details — are now inherently newsworthy, without the need for any pretense of other relevance.

I’d really like to know how many journalists, pundits and activist types clucking with righteous condemnation of Weiner would be comfortable having that standard applied to them.  I strongly suspect the number is very small.  Ever since the advent of Internet commerce, pornography — use of the Internet for sexual gratification, real or virtual — has has been, and continues to be, a huge business.  Millions upon millions of people at some point do what Weiner did.  I know that’s a shocking revelation that will cause many Good People to clutch their pearls in fragile Victorian horror, but it’s nonetheless true.  It’s also true that marital infidelity is incredibly common.


Weiner was stupid–really stupid.  However, what he did even if it included Congressional equipment is worth nothing more than a reprimand.  He didn’t commit a crime–he may, may have violated a rule of Congress.   This sort of hand wringing is much like what goes on when someone on the internets says a naughty word.   Not surprisingly when you spend time with some of those villagers, profanity isn’t absent yet they are terribly offended by it when the public sees it.  Weiner didn’t hire a prostitute or even involve diapers in his escapades.  He didn’t solicit anonymous sex in a public bathroom.  He was a cad.  A rather cheesy one at that.