Public Hearings Tomorrow Decide Fate of Three Chicago Public Schools

The CPS plans to turn around three elementary schools this month. These “turn arounds” are school closings by another name. Rather than allocating sufficient resources to these schools, the CPS is expanding the already unprecedented wave of school closures in Chicago.

On April 9th, the CPS will be holding a public meeting about their plans for McNair, Dvorak, and Gresham elementary schools, where 90% of the students are African American and low income, and over 50% of the staff is African American. If the plans proceed ALL staff will be laid-off, and the future of each school will be handed over to the controversial Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL). The AUSL has an inconsistent track record of raising performance, and has close ties to Chicago’s unelected Board of Education.

Please attend the public hearings and help the communities fight to keep their jobs and control of their schools. These hearings take place:

Wed, April 9th
CPS Central Administration building, 125 S. Clark Street, 5th Floor
5:30-7:30 p.m. for McNair & Dvorak
8-10 p.m. for Gresham

Here’s a facebook event page if you want to send the details around.

More info:

http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/news/2012/02/03/19811/ausl-progress-not-magic

http://www.ctunet.com/blog/emanuel-continues-war-on-black-schools

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Bridges through Time

This weekend passed, in near complete absentia a sad, but important historical anniversary. Twenty two years ago, April 6th 1992, the siege of Sarajevo began with the Bosnian War. The siege of Sarajevo remains the longest siege in human history. As each year passes I am saddened that the crime and tragedy of those years is forgotten a bit more. I should not be entirely surprised. Humanity seems doomed on a future of forgetting the lessons of the past, which is why the progress of our species seems altogether slow and even regressive when it comes to the protection of human rights. Bu this is not really a lesson in history, but rather in the personal nature of history.

You see, hardly more than a year and a half into the war and the siege of I arrived in the Balkans as a witness to the genocide against Bosnia’s Muslims and to the destruction of a vibrant and passionate culture. 1911975_10203143784826519_442693471_nIt would become a fateful journey through the perils and handicaps of my own ignorance and shortcomings, and prove a salvation as well. During the second year of the war, on a dusty and sunny October afternoon in the heart of war torn Sarajevo I met and soon thereafter married a beautiful Bosnian artist.

It seemed easy in the drama and tumult of the war, where she and her family had suffered for so long to play the part of would be savior. There was nothing I could do to mitigate the war the privations, violence, fear and horror. I simply had to be, and there was a certain hope imbued in that being. One thing was certain though, and that was that I was hope for her, and that from the moment of my promise to marry her I made a covenant with god, or the universe or simply myself to care for her all the days of my life.

It was easy to be hope for her then. Things change however, but I still resolve to be that hope. Ana several years ago was diagnosed with Lupus, Hoshimoto’s disease and fibromyalgia, piled on top of a severe Thyroid disorder. When I was laid off last year I also, due to a dear friend was offered an unpaid gig on a radio show. Instantly I found I had a talent for broadcasting, and at 50 decided that I might well pursue this towards some independence for both of us, and for some hope for Ana.

Last summer there arose a fateful meeting at and Iraq Veterans Against the War cookout in a city lot one evening. An acquaintance had a small radio station and transmitter that were essentially not being utilize, at least not to anything approaching their potential. Being passionate about the disappearance of independent media in our nation I saw an opportunity build a media reflecting the city I knew, and to once again be that hope for Ana.

The station built itself practically. With some great talent already there, activists and artists from around Chicago threw their heart and soul into the project. In just 4 short months the station went from 1667 people engaging our website to 12,000 in March. And now I am trying to be hope for them as we build something truly special and remarkable, but it comes at a price.

Standing up to power in this country, the insincere and self power that has taken this nation down a darker path feared by the founding fathers. Literally with the change in our pockets, choosing food, bartering a few bucks here for a gallon of gas to make it to the studio and a small bit of equipment for the studio is exhausting and keeps me up nights. In the dark of the room, while my wife sleeps, I stare into the abyss wondering whether I am bartering her future wellbeing for a dream, and wondering whether anyone beyond this radio family we have created truly cares if a station for the people, fighting for those better American principles would care whether we exist or not.

In November of 1994 I had to escape Sarajevo. Running a two day gauntlet through front lines, secret tunnels, shelling and nearly freezing to death on an embattled mountain overlooking Sarajevo only one simple thing maintained me; live for Ana. I would not allow death to interrupt or steal the hope I wished for her, and which buoyed her through those dark and terrible days and months of war before she too could escape. She could hope for a safe place to escape to.

And now I stand at that precipice again, risking everything for her and for hope once again. I risk everything but death for a greater ideal, as there are no great ideals in death, but rather in living only. I ask myself minute by minute if the sacrifice, the dream and sleep stealing terror of challenging media behemoths is even possible. But something compels me forward. Something compels me to that microphone daily and to squeeze out change for a smartcard here or a cable there.

At the end there is always Ana and the hope and life I wish to give her. Married now almost 20 years I still struggle every moment whether the love and trust and hope I see reflected in her eyes is something I have the power to give her, or if I build false hope as a drug to move us from day to day. But one thing is clear. It is as clear as it was on those shell and bullet battered streets. I am still at war. This moment is bridged with the past. As the din of monstrous and intransigent cynicism draws those battle lines tightly I understand that the enemy remains the same, just with a different mask. And I stand at the center of that whirlwind holding tightly to that beautiful young woman painting the illusion of strength and promising hope while struggling for both myself.

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Flight Plan: A Revolution and Beer online novella. Part 2

“Eden 224,” came the air traffic controllers smooth voice, as the plane climbed above the hills and mountains of the mainland. “selemat pagi identified. Climb to flight level one eight zero.”

One Eight zero, Eden 224” the pilot responded. “Quiet night,” he remarked to the copilot, a young man with a round face and a natural deep bronze complexion.

“God willing,” he replied in Maylay without looking up as he checked and reset course corrections. Samar Saaduddin wasn’t Malay by birth, but had been born thirty-six years before in Banda Aceh. Though his family had emigrated when he was young to Kuala Lumpur, he always maintained a deep passion for that homeland. When the tsunami devastated the city in 2004 he asked for leave from the Maylay military to give assistance, not understanding until he arrived the historic devastation he was to find. Devoutly Muslim, Samar was shocked and outraged as Western Christian missionaries flooded into the region to take advantage in proselytizing to desperate and frightened Muslims, most of whom had lost everything. And it made him appreciate even more the life he had in Malaysia. But the anger never left him, and though he had many Western friends after nearly a decade with Eden Air, Samar found that he could never fully trust a Westerner. Drone strikes in Pakistan and across the Mideast, the constant rhetoric of Islamic terror, the anti-Muslim sentiments layered on the Western psyche, like sediments on a river bed only affirmed and secured that mistrust.

Rezak was a bit concerned about the amount of fuel onboard. For a trip that was a shade under four hours it was odd that the ground crew had nearly topped her off. He checked the weather reports once more, but could find nothing but scattered clouds approaching Hong Kong. Certainly nothing to warrant a full load. With a maximum range of better than thirteen thousand kilometers, or seventy-four hundred miles, they could fly almost half way around the planet.

“We’re going to land heavy with all this extra fuel on board,” he remarked. “Comfortable bringing her in that heavy?”

“I think we’ll be fine.”

“We could take the long way around Manila,” Rezak managed a joke. “Burn off some of this fuel.”

Samar didn’t respond, but only smiled. The radio crackled to life. They were nearing the limits of Kuala Lumpur ATC. The controller’s voice sounded distant and the feed was breaking up a bit with static.

“Eden 224 contact Lumpur Radar one three two six. Good night.” This was Ali Razak’s first flight with the young copilot, but he was fully at home with the A330. He still wondered over the excess fuel. That weight at this destination risked a terribly heavy landing that wasn’t good for the aircraft of those on board. Still, he had faith in his skills as a pilot, and was growing more comfortable with Samar’s as well, almost to the point of true admiration. Samar could see the thoughts moving in Rezak’s expression.

“We could have asked for a refuel,” said Samar, knowing full well it was a lengthy process, one the airline would not take kindly to. Settling him was the confident hum of the aircraft’s twin Rolls Royce engines, driving them through the sky with better than seventy thousand pounds of thrust and a cruising speed of four hundred and seventy knots.

“The delay would have been prohibitive. I have an excellent on time record, but I’ll want maintenance to give it a thorough going over before we leave Hong Kong.”

Razak was a Malaysian air force veteran, trained by the US military before landing the job with Eden Air a shade over 21 years earlier. At 55, Rezak was still in exceptional condition. Small but powerfully built, he had a sort of professorial appearance, with thin silver hair, small thin mustache and square glasses.

It was just two months since his wife had left him and filed for divorce. Their two sons had taken their mother’s sude, at least as far as they believed in her right to make choices over her own life and happiness. He was taking it hard, the shock and confusion still potent and almost debilitating when not in the cockpit or filing flight plans. Rezak felt alone, and it was not a place he ever recalled being before. Normally gregarious and optimistic Rezak was now notably quieter and more reserved now. And it might have been simpler if it had been over something concrete like infidelity or something else. That she had simply packed up and moved back Sungai Petani to help her sister care for their mother. And so Rezak went mechanically through the day, melting a wounded heart into the regimen of the job, and struggling to fend off much darker thoughts.

The lumbering airbus crossed the coast at Dungun and headed out over open sea. The lights, the sparse traffic of the coastal roads, the snow-white waves breaking at the shoreline slipped silently behind the airbus as if they were the edge of the world, and the dark see the endless abyss of space. Behind them, behind the locked flight deck door the flight attendants were just starting with the first beverage service. Samar and Rezak looked out into the midnight-blue waters of the South China Sea. The sea was perfect and smooth as a mirror, seeming to extend into eternity. The Milky Way blanketed the sky. The moon was still more than an hour from rising, and it was still too early to pick up the lights of the Vietnamese coast some 500 miles distant. By this light it was easy to mistake or second guess the aircraft’s altitude. As they climbed steady towards thirty thousand feet a tired mind could easily have believed they were flying so much lower than the instruments indicated.

“Would you like to make the first address, Captain,” said Samar dutifully.

“If you care to,” came a stoic reply from the veteran pilot.

“No worries,” Said Samar before speaking into the aircraft’s public address system. “Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Captain Rezak and myself I would like to welcome you onboard Eden Air Flight 224. Apologies for a late departure, but we anticipate clear weather and should land in Hong Kong on time. Our flight is three hours and thirty minutes. Despite the clear weather it is advised that everyone keep their seatbelts fastened securely and that you remain in your seats…”

Rezak glanced over at the young man and thought it a bit odd that all passengers should remain seated for the duration. Samar met Rezak’s eyes for a moment. Rezak managed a smile and nodded respectfully.

“…I will update you on weather conditions as we near our destination. Relax and enjoy your flight.”

“Keeping them in their seats, huh?” Rezak couldn’t help but remark, his gaze trained through the cockpit windows into the darkness ahead.

“Three and a half hours. They’ll survive,” Samar said hollowly.

The radio crackled to life again. Rezak glanced expectantly to Samar. Samar keyed the microphone.

“Eden 224,Good evening,” came the controller’s voice. It had the quality of a seasoned professional. “Climb to flight level two five zero.”

“Eden 224, copy, flight level two five zero,” Samar said, confirming they were at the prescribed altitude of twenty-five thousand feet.

Five minutes later came new instructions from the Controller, “Eden 224, climb to three five zero.”

Samar keyed the mic again. He looked over at Rezak, his brow deeply tortured by a thought.
“Eden 224, climbing to three five zero.” Samar punched in the command and let the onboard computer do all the work. Samar frowned. Rezak looked to be a million miles away.
A moment later the controller said. “Maintain three five zero.”

A bright shooting star swept across the sky. Neither of the pilots noticed as they went over their instruments and checked the weather to destination once more. Samar’s hands were sweating. He wiped them on his navy blue slacks and took a deep breath. Rezak noticed the tension in the young man’s face.

“Everything okay?’ he asked.

“Fine,” came the answer. Samar started to say something, seeing that Rezak wasn’t satisfied. Kuala Lumpur ATC interrupted him an instant later.

“Eden 224, contact Ho Chi Minh at 120 decimal. Good night.”

Samar felt a shiver come over him, and was suddenly anxious. He keyed the mic once more. “Good night, Lumpur, Eden 224.”

Those would the last words that anyone would hear from Eden air. That realization would come reluctant and slow at first as controllers in Malaysia and Vietnam both tried in vain to contact the suddenly silent jetliner. All that remained was the final radar signatures showing the jet’s sudden and precipitous climb before banking hard to the left. Seconds later it disappeared from civilian radar screens. Following some 25 miles behind Eden Air 224 was Korean Air 747 freighter headed for Seoul. They were just reaching Eden’s last known position.

“Korean 341, Lumpur ATC, please advise if you can see anything. Is there anything in the water?”

In those first desperate minutes ATC control rooms fell deathly silent but for the persistent calls to the missing aircraft.

“Eden 224, please report,” said the Lumpur controller several more times, ignoring a garbled transmission from the Korean freighter. The controller sighed and rubbed his tired eyes which refused to leave the radar in hoped that Eden Air 224 might suddenly reappear with apologies from the chagrined flight crew.

“Korean 341, can you report anything?”

“Lumpur ATC, Korean 341,” the pilot replied. “Negative. Do you want us to go around for a closer look?”

“Korean 341, negative. Thank you. Remain level at three five zero.” The last thing he needed was to have giant aircraft flying off course and creating more confusion…or worse. he knew the Korean pilot knew better as well. The airlines were akin to something of a global family. The pilot had to ask, wishing that others might care as much if he was lost.

“Korean 341, you’re su…okay Lumpur, level at three five zero.”

An impending sense of doom fell over the various control towers from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh to Brunei and Palawan. Freighters running those still waters reported nothing unusual that night. On land, in the air or at sea the answer always came back the same; Eden Air 224, a huge Airbus 330 with two hundred and twenty two people on board had seemingly vanished from the face of the earth…

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A Beer with Tim Meegan, CTU Member and Candidate for Ward 33 Alderman

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Tim Meegan, candidate for alderman in Chicago’s 33rd Ward, joins us for a couple to discuss his vision for the ward he resides in. With his 10 years of teaching at Roosevelt high school under his belt, as well as his experience as a father of two boys, his commitment to the ward where he has lived with his family fuels his desire to make it safe and accessible for people of all types. He also dives into the status of public education in Chicago and outlines many of the main challenges facing our public education system. We love it when informed, working-class people like Tim run for office. We especially love it when they’ll come onto the show and speak openly about what drives them to do so.

Check-out Tim’s Facebook campaign page here.

We also recently interviewed Anne Carlson and Juan Gonzalez, two Chicago Public School teachers from Drummond Montessori about the recent parent/teacher campaign to Opt Out of the ISAT.

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Shut Up! Revolution and Beer Reactionary of the Week

The strategy of the Democrat party is that people will become dependent upon government so they will continue to vote for Dems. So says the deposed Representative Joe Walsh, a man who has been or done nothing but fail at everything he’s done. He’s never run a business, created anything, but never mind that as he accuses Barack Obama, who managed to get elected twice, of the same thing. He has crafted a gig as a skilled liar and propagandist, and is sly enough to deflect to the dullest among us that he is not actually a bigot and a racist.

Dependent on government. Hmm. But this is the tripe, along with tangential and veiled racism the Right has become afflicted with. On yesterday’s show Ole Joe, who still lies about busloads of illegal immigrants coming down from out of state to vote for Tammy Duckworth(Got proof, Joe. It’s a felony to rig elections. It is also a crime to conceal evidence of a crime, Joe). She’s the veteran the chicken hawk Right, like Joe, who never served a day in his life, panders to, but then belittles and berates. Despite losing half her body in combat, Walsh, who has only seen combat in his own pants demeaned and derided her sacrifice.

Then there was this, one of his unending hypocrisies that his sycophant audience, all as embarrassingly ridiculous, self-amused and ill-informed as Walsh, never seem to get. Walsh slobbered over a story purported to show Dems in California were in an open conspiracy to trick people into voting Democrat by pre-checking the “D” box on voter registration cards. Joe, who doesn’t believe there is any global climate crisis fully regurgitated an obviously false story by an “unnamed California Republican couple” showing the only pre-marked card. He then went on to say that it was obviously about illegal aliens voting and getting free healthcare. However, regarding a Sun Times story about a Northwest side man, 54 year old William O’Connell, a conceal carry holder who pulled a gun over a rent dispute Walsh used the Allegedly 9 times. He never once used the word in regards to the unnamed republican couple nor questioned why only one card, sent out by the Secretary of State’s office and not the Dems turned up. And if you want to argue that California SoS Debra Bowen is a Dem, that just bolsters my argument for the dissolution of both parties in favor of a vibrant multi-party system. So shut up!

“(the) Sun Times puts this one incident on the front page,” Walsh fumed, “as if 16 people died!” Although 16 or 60 wouldn’t matter to this reprobate who openly politicized the deaths of children at Sandy Hook and called for more guns and less gun control. see here is the rub, guns aren’t about your safety, it is about the unprecedented profits to the gun industry who, through Walsh’s manipulation, keeps you afraid of shadows in order to buy more guns. It is about a society and people isolated from those around them because of guns and fear that makes you easy pickings for corporate propaganda, which Walsh proliferates.

Walsh is never at a loss for faux outrage, invoking fear and meanness about the poor, immigrants, Muslims to his white audience of bigots, 17th century mentalists, and critically misguided and misinformed poor and middleclass and predominantly suburban audience, while the corporations he fellates robs them blind. Never once has be discussed the corporate coup crafted under TPP to steal America’s sovereignty and loot our treasury, because he’s part of the “look over here at the shiny keys” crowd. He’s positively orgasmic over cutting a few billion in food stamps to the poor but never once, never once, mentions the conservative estimate of $476.4 billion, state, local and federal given to corporations annually. he’ll condemn your kid’s teacher’s pension before acknowledging the corporate welfare whores who are the true robber barons. His listeners pretend their patriotism. Real patriots don’t advocate for smaller government that will be replaced by bigger corporations!

Finally, the great patriot and tough guy behind the microphone called Israel, which is arguably an ally, a “sacred” ally, saying that Palestinians were to blame for the conditions they live under. “The territories aren’t disputed,” he said, “they’re Israel, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel!”

This was after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an elected US official was rhetorically sodomized into begging forgiveness to billionaire election manipulator Sheldon Adelson after remarking how’d he’d flown over the “…occupied territories…”

Where is your fraudulent patriotism now, Walsh and Tea Partiers? Not a word as representatives of a foreign nation force an American elected official to grovel, albeit because he’s a whore for the money.

Walsh supports crimes against humanity, which brands him in my book a war criminal. He supports elected officials being controlled and subservient to a foreign power, making him a traitor. And he perverts religion by supporting this twisted anti-Jewish end-times death cult, which, in my view makes him a heretic and anti-Christian-and certainly anti-Semitic. Also, after dodging multiple challenges for a debate on our radio, social media and TV show, Walsh is kind of a Dick. He won’t because he fails on truth and real American and Christian values. What’s it gonna be Joe? Man enough to come on our show? I’ll buy the beer.

The lines are open on my show, daily from 9-11am on AM1680, que4.org, with the most dangerous voice on the Left. And I take calls at 773-217-8344. Righties, this is the sound of the Left fighting back!

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