In October 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to hire Barbara Byrd-Bennett as the school system's "Chief Executive Officer" following the dumping of Jean-Claude Brizard. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the Board Report making Byrd Bennett the highest-paid CEO in CPS history, at an annual salary of a quarter million dollars. Additional "performance bonuses" since then are not presently on the public record. But many other things are, and one of them shows that Byrd Bennett lied when she signed one of the routine forms that all new employees of CPS have to fill out: the "Residency" affidavit.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett falsified hiring documents in 2012 stating that her primary residence is in Chicago, while at the same time she was swearing in Ohio, in order to get a tax break, that her primary residence is in Solon, Ohio.
In documents obtained by Substance News, the signed "Employee Sworn Residency Statement", Byrd Bennett, on November 11, 2012, acknowledged and represented as fact that her primary residence was 233 East Wacker Drive, #2911, Chicago, Illinois 60601.
Senate hawks like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) do not like diplomacy with Iran. Graham has repeatedly threatened war with Iran, whereas Kirk prefers to starve the Iranian people. Yet, given that most Americans do not want another military adventure in the Middle East, and largely support a negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, the hawks are pivoting. Instead of doubling down on untenable positions, hardliners like Graham and Kirk are now offering their own versions of an unobtainable perfect deal to provide cover to kill the good deal in front of us. The problem is, based on their recent comments on the scope of a final agreement, their versions of a “better deal” are, in many regards, much less stringent than what President Obama and the P5+1 have actually lined up.
Senator Kirk, who has been warning of nothing short of nuclear Armageddon if a nuclear deal goes through, made fairly dubious recommendations during remarks at the Chicago Council on Global Affairslast week. According to Sen. Kirk, a good deal would look like “the agreement that Nelson Mandela signed with the international community to get rid of his four nuclear weapons that he had.” If it’s good enough for Mandela, it should be good enough for Iran, according to Kirk. That’s a catchy phrase, but one that is completely and utterly inaccurate. - National Iranian American Council, 5/19/15
“What would a good agreement look like? A good agreement in my view would be the agreement that Nelson Mandela signed with the international community to get rid of his four nuclear weapons that he had. … I have told many members of Congress, when they ask what does a good agreement look like, I have said, ‘If it’s good enough for Nelson Mandela, it should be good enough for Ayatollah Rouhani.” - Sen. Mark Kirk (R. IL), The Chicago Council On Global Affairs, 5/15/15
“There is one simple plan, if they do exactly what Nelson Mandela did on disarming nuclear weapons. As you know, South Africa built four nuclear weapons, and when Nelson Mandela wanted to get rid of them, he agreed to anytime, anywhere inspections. So international inspectors could go, even go through his underwear in his home at any time, at any place, looking for evidence of nukes.” - Sen. Mark Kirk (R. IL), Hugh Hewitt Show, 3/24/15
Now here's where Kirk gets his facts completely wrong:
The history has been fairly well-documented. The apartheid regime of South Africa had embarked on a secret nuclear weapons program in the 1970s and ultimately built six nuclear weapons (not four, as Kirk stated), each with 55 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium. In September 1989, newly elected President F.W. de Klerk — the last white president of the country — told officials he had decided to dismantle the program.
At the time, Nelson Mandela was still in prison, where he had been for a quarter century. A key motivation to end the program was that de Klerk was intent on ending apartheid and was worried about leaving a nuclear stockpile in the hands of a future South African government.
On Feb. 11, 1990, de Klerk released Mandela from prison. That same month, he issued written instructions to terminate the program and dismantle the weapons. On July 10, 1991, South Africa acceded to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Given that Mandela did not become president until May of 1994, three years after the weapons were slated to be scrapped, what is Kirk talking about?
There’s a clue in the slide that appeared as Kirk spoke at the Chicago Council. With the tagline of “Good Enough for Mandela, Good Enough for Iran,” the slide purports to show how South Africa’s inspections compare to arrangements with North Korea and Iran in terms of transparency. South Africa is represented by a picture of Mandela.
But this is historically inaccurate as well. Initially, the South Africa government chose not to tell the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had a secret bomb program. As Waldo Stumpf, the head of South Africa’s Atomic Energy Corp., explained in 1995, officials believed the country’s “internal political transformation process” was not ready for such an announcement. Moreover, the stand-off at the time between Iraq and the IAEA over Baghdad’s nuclear program made South African officials fearful that they would become a “second Iraqi case.”
But when De Klerk decided to reveal the weapons program in 1993, after pressure from Mandela’s African National Congress and increasing suspicions from the IAEA, he also told the IAEA that they could conduct visits “anywhere, any time, any place—within reason.”
David Albright, a former weapons inspector and an expert of the South Africa case, said “it was de Klerk who made this offer after he admitted to a nuclear weapons program. It was definitely de Klerk who set this up with the IAEA.” - Washington Post, 5/21/15
Pretty shameful that Kirk has to resort to to distorting Nelson's legacy in order to start a war with Iran. Democrats are eyeing to take him out next year. I for one am backing Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign who has bashed Kirk on Iran in the past:
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday criticized Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk as "irresponsible" for recently signing an open letter to the government of Iran regarding ongoing nuclear talks.
Duckworth was referencing a letter signed this month by 47 Republican senators who warned Iranian officials that any nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration could expire as soon as the president leaves office. Democrats argue the letter interferes with talks to curtail Iran's nuclear activities.
"To come together in a very partisan way and send a letter to a foreign nation that does not have America's best interest at its heart, that undermines our nation's unity, I think is very irresponsible and it's certainly not befitting of a United States senator," said Duckworth, a two-term lawmaker from Hoffman Estates. - Chicago Tribune, 3/31/15
If you would like to donate and get involved with Duckworth's campaign, you can do so here:
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) voted "Yes" on NDAA, H.R.1735, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, in its 261-159 passage (Roll Call 239). Duckworth has asked progressives to vote for her against Mark Kirk in the Illinois 2016 Senatorial race but yesterday she voted against all progressives, the Democratic leaders, the White House and Sec. Def. Ashton B. Carter. The whopping $612 Billion bill includes $40 Billion non-sequestered "temporary war" funds of so-called "Overseas Contingency Operations".
Adam Smith (WA-9) was the sole cosponsor of the bill and even he voted against it. Smith is ranking minority member of House Committee on Armed Services, the committee of jurisdiction. Duckworth who rebelled at his leadership is 15th ranking Democrat.
Some sources claim that the NDAA-2016 House passed authorizes $604.2 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs in only fiscal 2016, including $89.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, of which $38.3 billion would be authorized for non-war base budget operations and maintenance. Excluding the war funding, the bill would authorize roughly: $136.6 billion for operations and maintenance, $109.7 billion for procurement, $136.4 billion for military personnel, $7.3 billion for military construction and family housing, $68.4 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation, and $31.7 billion for the Defense Health Program.
Defense Secretary Carter called it “clearly a road to nowhere” in his testimony to Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in a Defense Subcommittee Hearing on May 6, 2015. Nancy Pelosi said:
“Republicans are trying to use war funding as a virtual slush fund for one part of the budget while letting the ax fall on everything else, leaving priorities essential to the strength of our country — the veterans’ budget, infrastructure, education, innovation — grievously underfunded,” she said. “The Republican defense authorization bill is not only disingenuous, it is dangerous.”
Senator Jack Reed (RI) is ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, with three other Democrats, on Thursday May 14th opposed moving the Senate military spending bill out of committee in a 22-to-4 vote.
Adam Smith put up H.AMDT.221 to Strike sections 1036, 1037, 1038, 1039, and insert a new SEC. 1036 "Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Closure Act of 2015" that Failed by recorded vote: 174 - 249 (Roll no. 231).
Ruben Gallego (AZ-7) ranks 22nd in the Committee on Armed Services. On the House Floor he moved to recommit the overarching bill, H.R.1735, with instructions to the Committee on Armed Services to require the bill to be reported back to the House with an amendment to provide a 2.3% pay increase for for members of the uniformed services and to ensure that the Secretary of Defense must guarantee members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps continue to receive compensation for their service in defense of the United States despite any government shutdown after September 30, 2015. The House proceeded with 10 minutes of debate on this Gallego motion to recommit with instructions. The motion Failed by recorded vote: 184 - 234 (Roll no. 238).
Duckworth is backed by Foster in her fight against both Senator Kirk and Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp. As for Zopp, think Rahm-BillDaley-Zopp as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) tries to stay out of this slug-fest that Robin Kelly (IL-2) might enter.
On Friday, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Mark Kirk. Zopp will face at least Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the primary; Rep. Robin Kelly and state Sen. Napoleon Harris have been talking about running too, though they can't be happy with the idea of facing another African American from Chicago.
While national Democrats have indicated that they prefer Duckworth, the DSCC has not gotten involved here. Some African American leaders have been working to recruit Zopp, and she'll also have the backing of former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley. Zopp's time as a corporate lawyer should also give her the connections she'll need to raise money.
However, her service on the Chicago School Board is a potential liability. Zopp signed onto the controversial decision to close 49 public schools. Mayor Rahm Emanuel easily won re-election last month despite his role in the closures, but unlike Chuy Garcia, Duckworth will have the resources to hit Zopp on this issue if she wants to. Kirk will have a tough time winning re-election next year no matter what, but the GOP is not going to complain if Duckworth and Zopp use up their resources going after each other while Kirk consolidates his warchest.
Ouch. Illinois governor, Bruce Rauner, watched his anti-union bill called, 'Right-To-Work,' die a swift, cruel death in the House, on Thursday, with zero votes. Natasha Korecki with Chicago Sun Times reports the the tally was 0 yes votes, 72 no votes, and 37 voting present - "offering a blistering rebuke" to Rauner’s agenda.
A handful of Republicans went for a walk during the vote, not publicly falling on one side or another.
Isn't that nice. How healthy it would be for them, and us, if Republicans would take more walks during voting sessions.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, lambasted Democrats for moving what he said amounted to “sham bills” in the House. The legislation voted on Thursday was not drafted by the governor’s office. Last week, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan had urged Rauner to give him language for a bill, needling Rauner that he had talked about right-to-work for 100 days.
“What’s happening today, what happened last week really is a disservice to this body, to this chamber and to this building,” Durkin said. “I’m embarrassed to be part of this process today. I think this is a very dark moment in this body’s chamber.”
We're embarrassed too, Jim Durkin, but not for what happened on Thursday. We're embarrassed that we have elected officials who want to sabotage unions and union workers in this country, under a misguided bill with a misleading name like, 'Right To Work.' It's kind of like the misnomer, 'Citizens United,' which has nothing to do with 'citizens uniting' at all. It's about uniting and breeding, 'Koch-Suckers.' I digress.
Asked whether the vote on right-to-work was meant to embarrass him, Rauner said:
”Difficult negotiations in government often involve political theater. That’s a little bit of what that is. I don’t take it that way. This is just part of a political process. We’re working together and we’ll get through it. . . . There’s a lot of pressure from special interest groups who don’t want to change. We are in a long slow decline we need to grow pretty strongly . . . we are encouraging Republicans to stay strong together. We’re a super-minority.”
That's just super, Bruce. ZERO. Go on with your bad self.
Last night, Wednesday, May 13th about 8pm., three young men got in a car to go shopping on the south side of Chicago. A vehicle pulled up next to them and gunned the three down.
Twenty year old Shamari Salter was taking his mother's car to go shopping, getting ready to escort his next door neighbor to her prom. He died at the scene from a shot to his head. Another 19 year old, Terrence Canady, was also shot in the head and stomach and died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The third, also 19, was shot in the chest and is listed in serious condition.
Three more tragedies from gun violence, a total of 15 shootings on Wednesday night in the City of Chicago. For one mother, it's her second time for tragedy within a year.
In 1871, the most famous fire in American history swept across Chicago and destroyed much of the city. According to legend, the Great Chicago Fire was started when a cow owned by an Irish immigrant named Mrs O'Leary kicked over a lantern in the barn. But from the ashes, Chicago was rebuilt, and the city's rebirth changed the face of every major American urban center.
While it has been generally known for the past two weeks, two sites near the University of Chicago will be considered for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. One of the sites identified was also part of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. If the siting photo is correct, the Jackson Park site once featured the Woman's Building at that World's Fair
In a news release, the Barack Obama Foundation announced early Tuesday that the library would be erected on park land that was proposed for the site by the University of Chicago. The site was selected over bids made by Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and affect change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago." Obama said in a video accompanying the release. "All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago. That's where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service. That's where I met my wife. That's where my children were born."
We have an ongoing discussion - for lack of a better word - about how to (A) rein in the out-of-control cop behavior we see every day now and (B) providing some sort of support of benefit to their victims.
We all have heard about people suing the police for millions and winning, but it doesn't EVERY actually impact the police.
Chicago has something brewing.
I am bringing the article to your attention and will only excerpt a tiny bit: you must go read it as that is the purpose of this diary.
Received this e-mail today from Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign:
Abusive lenders have long preyed on military families. They surround bases with misleading advertisements and charge heavy interest payments, causing unmanageable debt.
The good news is that the Department of Defense is working to prevent predatory lenders from targeting military families with high-cost loans. But banking industry lobbyists are trying to delay important new protections.
I introduced an amendment last Wednesday to immediately protect our service members from predatory loans, and it passed the House Armed Services Committee. Now, we need to ensure that members of the Senate stand strong against banking industry lobbying too.
Join me and VoteVets: tell the Senate we should protect military families from predatory lending without delay:
Why are so many of Chicago Financial elite so interested in public education?
Like sleek predator birds circling a large wounded animal, Chicago's economic royalist are eyeing the Chicagol Public Schools billion dollar money pot. This comes to light with the revelation that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's picked CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Barbara Byrd-Bennett is under federal investigation for granting a no-bid $20MM contract to a former employer.
The company, SUPES provided management training services that would have been available from local universities at a much lower cost. The deal was approved unanimously by Rahm's appointed school board.
There's a bunch of compelling aspects to this situation, but the one that fascinates me is how it exposes the real basis of the City's business/financial elite interest in education reform, namely investment opportunity.