Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* CPS MAKES HISTORY, CLOSING SOCRES OF SCHOOLS IN LESS TIME THAN IT TAKES TO BOIL AN EGG
By Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times
History was made in Chicago Wednesday in about 90 seconds, but most of the folks who witnessed firsthand the death of a record 50 Chicago Public Schools didn’t even realize it.
Rather than list the names of the doomed elementary schools, the Board of Education took a single group vote on most of the closings that will affect some 27,000 children. The board secretary read out the numbers assigned to each resolution and asked for the vote.
But onlookers didn’t even get that, as the board president resorted to parliamentary maneuver to speed the process along.
“Madam Secretary, if there are no objections from my fellow board members, please apply the last favorable roll call,” Board President David Vitale said, referring to the previous vote of six ayes and 0 nays. And with that, the bulk of the history — 49 of the 50 schools closed — was made in a unanimous sweep.
The closing of Von Humboldt Elementary passed on a separate 4-2 roll call vote.
Fifty of the district’s 472 elementary schools are going away for good, 48 of them in June. Canter Elementary will get a one-year reprieve, and Attucks Elementary will close at the end of the 2014-15 school year. […]
* A BATHROOM BREAK WITH RAHM EMANUEL
By Joel @ Occupied Chicago Tribune
As the mayor’s hand-picked Board of Education prepares to vote on school closings, Joel Handley had the chance to confront Rahm Emanuel in person – and found a man lost without his talking points.
When he broke from his front row table at the breakfast banquet, I knew it was my chance to catch him. I followed him down the hallway from the Hilton Chicago’s Grand Ballroom, and called out to him, “Sir, Mr. Mayor.”
He turned around, and I shook Rahm’s damaged hand. With all the stories of his cursing and bullying opponents, I took him as the type that would try to out-grip anyone he met, but his hand was limp, uncertain, and cold as a mortician’s.
“I’m trying to use the bathroom,” he said.
“Me too, but can I catch you on the way out?”
“Sure,” he nodded.
The small, marble-tiled bathroom was filled with six or seven business men, all angling to or from the three urinals. As we each waited for an opening, the suits casually said good morning to the mayor.
Rahm and I pissed together, separated by just one urinal. And as I stared at the wall ahead, listening to his stream hiss against the porcelain, I was struck by the surreality–that a man who has become a demon in the imaginations of many Chicagoans still must do something so low and human as relieve himself.
He finished first, washed his hands quickly, and was halfway down the hallway, walking briskly back to the ballroom, when I got out. Not exactly surprised he didn’t wait for me, I caught up when an old, white-haired gladhand stopped him at the entrance. I continued through the main doors, into the ballroom, and waited for him to enter.
There were about 400 donors in the hall on Tuesday, May 21–each had paid somewhere between $250 and several thousand dollars for a plate of breakfast. It was a fundraiser for buildOn, a well-connected philanthropy that boasts about “breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations” for students in Chicago and across the country, largely by having student volunteers do the work, for free, that governments should be doing. In after-school and summer programs, buildOn has its students volunteer to tutor young children, feed the hungry, and build hundreds of schools in depressed communities around the world.
But it became clear I’d been had–there was no chance to talk to the mayor unless I caught him myself. So when he re-entered the ballroom I asked, “How are you closing the schools of 46,000 students while supporting the building of schools around the world?”
He wasn’t pleased, naturally, but his expression was almost hollow. I’d been expecting some kind of combat–an angry response, a forceful denial, at least a stomping away with conviction! He took a meek step closer to his table before he tried an answer: “I’m not supporting the building of schools, I’m–” […]
* AUSTERITY COMES TO AMERICA
By Gerald Friedman, Center for Popular Economics
Economists at the University of Massachusetts and elsewhere have thoroughly discredited research suggesting that cutting government spending will promote economic growth during a time of recession. Even while scholarship has exposed the fallacy of austerity economics and this news has reached wide audiences through Twitter and the Colbert Report, the United States government is embracing austerity’s policy prescriptions. While employment has barely kept up with the growth of the labor force and the best measure of the unemployment rate (which accounts for those who have given up on looking for work or who work part time because they can’t find full time employment) remains stuck at 14%, the federal, state and local governments are slashing payrolls and reducing spending in order to meet arbitrary deficit targets. The ghost of bad austerity economics continues to haunt, and even to drive, the living.
In 2007 and 2008, as we entered the Great Recession, economists knew what should be done to prevent another Great Depression. Drawing on theory developed in the shadow of the Great Depression, Keynesian economists argued that government needed to spend to fill the gap when private spending and investment contracted during an economic crisis. The work of Milton Friedman, Anna Schwartz, and their students and followers, had persuaded monetary authorities that they needed to act aggressively to provide liquidity to prevent a financial system meltdown. There was a politics here. On the left, those who favored a large public sector and a generous social wage seized on the opportunity created by fiscal stimulus to boost public spending while conservatives and their Wall Street allies favored monetary policy because it subsidized banks while avoiding public spending.
These disputes were put aside after the financial market collapse in the Fall of 2008 when both Friedman monetarists and Keynesian fiscalists stared into the abyss. For a brief moment, economists and policy makers joined in recommending that we walk on both legs and use all the tools available to prevent the Great Recession from becoming a full-fledged Depression. In striking contrast with the experience of the early 1930s, the Federal Reserve aggressively pushed liquidity into the banking system, and the new Obama Administration pushed an $800 billion stimulus program through Congress. While the Obama stimulus was much smaller than Keynesian economists recommended, and was further diminished by political bargaining that substituted tax cutting for some needed spending, it did provide funds for infrastructure and for local and state programs threatened by the plunge in state and local revenues that resulted from the recession. Together with the Federal Reserve’s actions, the Obama stimulus prevented a complete economic collapse. […]
* WHY ARE HOMEOWNERS BEING JAILED FOR DEMANDING WALL STREET PROSECUTIONS?
Bankers go free while cops tase peaceful protesters and the Department of Justice targets journalists
By John Knefel, Rolling Stone
A two-day long housing protest outside the Department of Justice this week has resulted in nearly 30 arrests and several instances of law enforcement unnecessarily using tasers on activists, according to eye-witnesses. The action – which was organized by a coalition of housing advocacy groups, including the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes – called for Attorney General Eric Holder to begin prosecutions against the bankers who created the foreclosure crisis.
“Everyone here is fed up with Holder acknowledging big banks did really bad stuff but [saying] they’re too big to jail,” says Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, who helped organize the event. Holder has previously suggested that prosecuting large banks would be difficult because it could destabilize the economy. The attorney general recently tried to walk those comments back – but the conspicuous lack of criminal prosecutions of bankers tells another story, one that Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi has written about extensively.
Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street employee and current Occupy Wall Street activist who was also at the event on Monday, agrees. “I want Eric Holder to uphold the rule of law, regardless of how much power the criminal has,” says Goldstein. She says the lack of criminal prosecutions has created a “culture of immunity” that only gets further entrenched by the small settlements that banks now consider a cost of doing business. “There’s no risk,” she says, adding that the DOJ is effectively “incentivizing breaking the law.”
Around 400 homeowners and 100 supporters took part in Monday’s actions outside the DOJ, according to Basta. One of them was Vera Johnson, of Seattle. “I’ve been dealing with foreclosure issues for three years,” says Johnson, just minutes after being released from the jail where she was held for over 24 hours for participating in this peaceful protest. Bank of America recently granted Johnson a loan modification after the media picked up on a Change.org petition that she started to save her home; this reprieve turned out to be a time bomb, as her rates were set to return to their original levels after four years. It’s an all too common story, and Johnson went to Washington, D.C. to “join in solidarity” with others in similar situations. […]
* OOHA FIGHTER VIOLENTLY ARRESTED WHILE DOJ REFUSES TO ARREST BANKERS
Source: OOH Atlanta, youtube
* DEFENSE AGAINST THE PSYCHOPATH