Why are teachers being threatened over the ISAT?

I found a little time on Saturday to revisit some of the recent issues we’ve covered on the show. We talked quite a bit on the March 1st Revolution and Beer weekend show about the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) boycott that was sparked by several community groups in February. In my googling, I came across Ben Joravsky’s piece from March 4th where he explains the experience of actually reading the school code for the state of Illinois. He was in search of the legally binding mandate to administer the tests. Since dire warnings of punishment, and even threats of termination, were issued to those teachers who declined to give the test, then certainly there was clear language within the code justifying such retaliation. Spoiler alert: He couldn’t find the ISAT in the code.

The comments on articles like this are always interesting at the very least, and sometimes extremely informative. That is, if you can wade through waives brain-dead contrarian BS, partisan cheer-leading, and all-out trolling. Even I couldn’t help myself and had to contribute to the anything-goes political blabber. So much snark; such little grasp of the culture and history of propaganda. You really can’t help but to roll the dice just out of curiosity. This exchange was a favorite:


Aside from some class A comment drama, there was something missing from, or being avoided by, the comments of the pro-ISAT folks on this thread:

“But the law doesn’t specifically mention the ISAT…state law requires that public schools give a test. But there is no law requiring students must take it…That makes me wonder: Did Koch and Chico play hardball with the teachers because (1) they made an honest mistake in their reading of the school code or (2) they do what Mayor Emanuel tells them.”

No one had addressed that.

Also, there are accusations/positions thrown around that the commentors aren’t owning up to:

  1. Just the mere participation of the CTU in a coalition means that the big bad union bosses run the whole thing. (leaves one wondering how such critics would define “community”)
  2. That if citizens have positions similar to the CTU, then they are magically transformed into union operatives; hence their positions and concerns are null and void.

Maybe I’m just missing something, but it appears to me that those applying this rationale are just opposed unions in general, as well as the act of working-class people organizing themselves and sharing resources to better their circumstances, and perhaps even teachers in general. That’s some pretty Koched-up thinking. I guess we should all just stop asking questions and follow orders.

Further Reading:

If you so dare, you too may peruse the school code here.


CTU page about ISAT boycott


Weekly Testing Resistance Round-up:



Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Important NATO3 Update Missed on Saturday’s Show–Please Write and Donate

“We all wasted a lot of money on the war on terror, because if these guys are terrorists, we’ve got nothing to worry about.” – Thomas Durkin, Jared Chase’s defense attorney

Our apologies to the NATO 3 and the NATO 3 defense committee for not getting an update out to our listeners concerning Friday’s follow-up hearing in the trial of Jared Chase, Brent Betterly, and Jacob Church. In all the shuffle and discussion over the ISAT situation on last Saturday’s show that, we forgot to give an update on the air.

On February 28th, Judge Thadeus Wilson set the tentative sentencing and post-trial motions date of April 25th. In addition, the defense team filed a motion for acquittal based on the evidence presented earlier in the trial. We’ll keep our fingers crossed but won’t hold our breath, seeing as Judge Wilson rejected an earlier bid to toss-out the terrorism counts brought by States Attorney Anita Alvarez via a little-used terrorism statute. Lest we forget that Alvarez has a long track record of defending police misconduct.

The verdict was reached back on February 8th when, after 8 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted the 3 men of providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism. They did, however, convict them of two counts of misdemeanor mob action and two felony counts for possessing an incendiary device. The last conviction is odd because the recordings by undercover police officers indicate quite clearly that the officers prodded the three activists through the entire process of making Molotov cocktails from conception to semi-completion.

As we discussed with local journalist Chris Geovanis on our show earlier in February, it was very telling that the Federal Government had little to do with this otherwise high profile terrorism case. This implies that there was a concern about the strength of the case that warranted avoidance of giving the defense a national stage to point out some very un-constitutional activity and possible entrapment, carried out by the police infiltrators.

We obviously feel that the conviction is excessive, and the cost of the entire NATO legacy, not only to the three activists but also the city and the state, is terrible. Please consider donating to help with their legal costs and commissary needs. You can also write letters and send them books and postcards. To find out how, visit http://freethenato3.wordpress.com/contact/. You can also check that site out for updates as they come along.

For more information about the trial and what the activist community in Chicago is doing to help, check out our interview with a member of the NATO 3 defense committee:

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Rants and Radio

I'll believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one.

I love this slogan.

Que Radio AM1710 Create Beauty & Defend It

Here are some notes on what was discussed on the Revolution and Beer morning show, on Que4 Radio, Que4.org, this morning. You can catch the show there every morning, Monday through Friday, from 9-11 a.m. You can catch our two-hour weekend show on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. as well.

Corporate Welfare and Corporate Personhood:

WC provide a rant of radical irreverence a la carte, smothered in an edgy helping of 1788 French radical sauce. Of course, we all hope that much has been learned as to how we structure and maintain a transformation. What got his goose this morning?

DOJ settlement with JP Morgan Chase for $13 billion, $7 billion of which is tax deductible, evidently as a cost of doing business. Talk about corporate welfare!

Hobby Lobby is yet another example of a corporation using the law to gain even more discretion than is allotted to the majority of citizens. A bit extreme for corporate citizenship? How about a class action lawsuit against the Federal Government and the corporations who thrive off of war profiteering? They’ve denied many of us the choice not to waste enormous amounts of money on wars and poorly managed contracts.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Last Saturday’s Show Notes

The burning question on our minds: Could we get the world back on track if we cancelled the debt of the nations and the global working class? It’s an idea that you hear amidst discussions of solutions to the global economic crisis, and it’s far more historically grounded in reality than you might assume. We’ve been inspired by the writing of those such as David Graeber and Murray Bookchin, as well as the Occupy movement’s work on the debt alleviation issue with Strike Debt and Rolling Jubilee. WC mentioned these campaigns throughout the week last week, and we wanted to get deeper into the broader details and circumstances.

The video below is a wonderful discussion from this year’s Global Uprisings conference featuring David Graeber, along with Silvia Federici (in absentia), and George Caffentzis. I first came across this on ROAR magazine on Twitter. It’s lengthy, but believe me, it’s worth the view. They explore the circumstances of contemporary work environments and the nuances of the debt structure.

Climate and Action

We also discussed the climate talks that took place in Warsaw, and the frustration expressed by attendees of the green movement: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25044961. We also discussed how the global climate discussion is being coopted by multinational capitalists, and the cycle of such coopting and marginalization of successful or urgent grassroots social justice campaigns. This frustration with the swindling of the dialogue is expressed clearly in this statement from Oxfam‘s Celine Charveriat:

“We need to tell them you are not allowed to make a mockery of this process. We can’t continue to watch in silence. Enough is enough.”

Here in the states we’ve heard many statements on the importance of diversifying our energy supply to include much more sustainable/renewable sources by our politicians, including many from president Obama throughout his presidency; with a spike during both of his presidential campaigns. However, the realities of hydro-fracking and dirty coal are still causing massive destruction to our surroundings, and there seems to be very little political will by our politicians to curb the rapid expansion of these forms of resource extraction.

We then moved on to discuss how we’ve let ourselves get duped by special interests before, and the importance of all working class people to step forward and take more control over this discussion. We also explored the parallels between the climate situation and the debate over guns; and the use of the race card, and how special interests like the NRA are playing the same game when it comes to the development of any sort of rational gun policy. One example would be the recent murder of Renisha McBride, and the counter narrative being espoused by right-wing pundits related to a grossly exaggerated “epidemic” of the violent pranking known as “Knock Out.”

We also expressed a little of our own frustration over mayor Rahm’s privatization parade, and how the “negotiated” solutions often leave us in a soar place, paying more for weaker service and no accountability.


Big Muddy Brewing’s Galaxy IPA

We “sampled” Southern Illinois Brewery Big Muddy’s Pale Ale, brewed with American Cascade hops and the soothing notes of caramel malts. This one finishes with a citrusy and bitter hint that doesn’t linger. We’re endorsing this one for your Thanksgiving after-meal drink. We balanced this just a hint of caramel malt sweetness. A delicious American Pale Ale full of fragrant and flavorful hops.along with a wonderfully dark and caramelly holiday ale.


Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Catching up: An honest man scorned-Wells Fargo vs. Max Smith

Max Smith wants justice for other homeowners Max Smith wants justice for other homeowners. You’d like this guy. You’d like to sit down and have a beer with Max Smith. He the sort of man anyone would be proud to have as a neighbor. I would, because Max Smith is the sort who would give you the shirt off his back. Salt of the earth, as they say. He puts his neighbors first, including those he might never have met.

But Max Smith has a story to tell, and he’s pissed. Max wants justice. He is one of millions of homeowners in this country hammered, both emotionally and economically, by the foreclosure crisis. He may well be one of hundreds of thousands-that have been verified as being abused by the system, by the banks and abandoned by the justice system. Revolution and Beer has carried a number of these stories, illustrating how easily consumers, who do everything right, can become victims of shady banking practices and an emasculated judicial system. That is prone to happen when banks and corporations write and promote industry sympathetic legislation.

The federal government called the National Foreclosure Settlement historic back in February 2012. It involved 5 of the largest banks and lenders, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, to provide some $25 billion to relieve distressed homeowners. Just one small problem, as a key, but not widely publicized provision of the settlement, the States Attorney Generals were made to agree that there would never be any prosecutions. Quite a deal. These AGs can do little more than send really terse letters.

“These banks were supposed to be modifying home loans,” said JR Fleming, of Chicago Anti-Eviction, a community grassroots organization that comes to the aid of foreclosed homeowners. “Instead, the banks have not been doing anything! Wells Fargo is the worst.” http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/about

JR Flemming, Left, organizing a protest against Wells Fargo

JR Flemming, Left, organizing a protest against Wells Fargo

I was introduced to Max at a rally last week in front of the Lincoln Park offices of Wells Fargo on Chicago’s North side. He says that he tried to negotiate with the bank after the Hyundai dealership he worked for closed. Their customer service, he told me, was impossible to negotiate, and the operators showed no interest in helping him. Max could never reach the same operator twice, meaning he’d have to explain the basic issues each time, without getting any nearer to a solution. Wells Fargo operates multiple customer service banks throughout the country.

“It is a crap shoot which one you’ll reach,” said one Wells Fargo customer who asked not to be identified.

But Max was undeterred, and as a responsible homeowner, wanted to pay his debt. Complicating this frustrating issue, Max was a victim of the predatory lending which many banks specifically targeted at minority communities. He quickly found himself saddled with 12% interest on top of the loan amount. What he was asking from Wells Fargo was a modification of the interest amount. For that he was ignored and condescended to, he says. Wells Fargo asked for income verification, which was not a pretext before the housing bubble burst. Max had worked on commission at the dealership, making verification difficult. 20130422_113552

Max is a working man, and quickly found a new job at a nearby Chevrolet dealership; also a commission job. That dealership too fell victim to the economy, throwing him out of work once more. Jobs are hard to come by, and this went on for Max for the better part of 3 years, affecting his health as well, Finally he landed a part-time job at a Home Depot for minimum wage and was able to verify his income. After being threatened with foreclosure and homelessness, the bank at last modified his loan.

But Max, though out of imminent trouble, is “pissed off.” He calls the experience traumatic, and he’s out here for others facing the inhuman and arrogant treatment by the banks that are part of the National Foreclosure Settlement. They simply can ignore the settlement without any fear of accountability from the legal system, and without regard to the rights of the consumer. But deep within the legal maze of the foreclosure process lies hope for beleagured homeowners. That’s where Chicago Anti-Eviction comes in.

“We aren’t going anywhere,” says Fleming. “Regardless, there are channels that Chicago Anti-Eviction will find. It’s a lose/lose in the end for Wells Fargo.”

And they have scored victories, but their small group is swamped by struggling and desperate homeowners, and these cases take time. The cost to the homeowner, financially, emotionally and to their health can be substantial, leaving deep and lasting scars not at all unlike the post-traumatic trauma suffered by war survivors. It is simply exhausting, which prompts many to give up and accept foreclosure. To that Fleming is adament, “when faced with foreclosure, never give up your home. Once you leave, the bank wins.”20130422_113732

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Corporate Welfare: Radio Notes, Sunday, April 14, 2013

We had updates on the CPS actions from the last week, a Rogers Park meeting of Democracy in Action, Woodlawn Protest Thursday. The Beer of the week, Saugatuck’s Singapore IPA and Chef AJ Francisco’s delicious food pairing, and your property taxes given directly to millionaires?

Higher numbers of #homeless kids, significantly higher special ed needs, higher unemployment, lower median income, higher poverty. Families drive communities. The failed policies of the city government have created dead zones in the city. 2.2bill has been spent on schools since 2010, 2.7on incarceration. CPS has said they will spend $676,000 per school for additional security personnel, police support, and safety programs.

Beer of The Week:

Saugatuck Singapore IPA, 7% APU. IPAs were traditionally crafted with higher alcohol by volume, ABV, to preserve it on long trips from Europe to Asia. Today that’s called an SUI-sailing while intoxicated. This is a very smooth IPA, with a fruity aroma, nice bitterness. A.J. Francisco, our resident chef, paired this beer with sweet and spicy honey and chili pepper glazed wings, Ancho chili, and coffee encrusted strip steak, with a creamy reduction drizzle made with this IPA.

Read our full write-up on this beer.

Upcoming Events:

  1. Woodlawn, fight for your schools
    Thursday, April 18th 6-8pm 1st Pres. Church 6400s. Kimbark woodlawn
  2. REMINDER – DIAC – monthly meeting Sunday, April 14th – 3:00 p.m. – Special Presentation Sunday, April 14th  3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. @ A Just Harvest 7649 North Paulina Street, Rogers Park, Chicago, IL 60626 Featured speaker – Jacob Swenson from The People’s Lobby. A Just Harvest is located at the southeast corner of the Paulina and Jonquil Streets intersection, one block north of Howard at the Red Line end-of-the-line station

May Day 2013

maydayWe have posted a good list of events and actions leading up to, and happening around May Day. Chicago generally focuses it’s efforts around May Day on immigration. This year’s theme is still on that point. The main rally has been named the “International Workers Day March for Immigration Reform.” See our expanding list of events here to find a way to plug in.

Thanks to Tom Tresser this past Thursday for sitting down with us at The Peoples Church, in Uptown area of the 46th ward of Chicago. We talked about the gross mismanagement of the city’s TIF funds, for example: 29.5 million TIF funds to a river north skyscraper in the West Loop, when there is already ample empty office space throughout the loop. There is no demand for this building. This is our money going to already wealthy developers, and nowhere near what most of us would consider a blighted neighborhood. This is a high end district. This means TIFs from your property taxes, skimmed from your money and given nakedly to the wealthy. Austerity, anyone?

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Chicago Teachers Union–Sunday’s Segment Notes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Beer:

Our Beer of the week was 5 Lizard, Latin-style beer, from a great local brewer, 5 Rabbit.  We have a mouth-watering food pairing with 5 Lizard, just in time for spring outdoor dining???? Or have we just skipped ahead to October?

Our Guest on Sunday’s Show: Jackson Potter, Staff Coordinator for The Chicago Teachers Union

This week Revolution and Beer and Our Town were out covering the teacher’s protest. More than 100 protesters sat down on LaSalle Street in a show of civil disobedience in front of city hall. Revolution and Beer was right up front as the Chicago Police detained and ticketed the protesters. In a statement mayor Rahm Emanuel rebuffed the teachers, parents, union members and students demands to keep more than 50 schools in almost exclusively black and Latino neighborhoods, by saying the decision to close these schools is a “done deal.”

Our guest had a few things to say to the good mayor about that.


April 5, this Friday, join us on the Loyola commons when we show support for students and their parents who are facing massive meal hikes (150% increases) on already heavily burdened family and students. Members of “Loyola Organized in Action” is organizing this protest.

Special thanks to David Hatch from the People’s Lobby, Kristi Sanford from A Just harvest, Toby Chow from Fair economy Illinois and Michaela Lovegood from IIRON, joined revolution and Beer yesterday for a taping of our 3rd TV show, which will air end of may, discussing corporate tax cheats and the politicians you love them in Illinois. Thanks to Frank, Bianca, Valentina for the incredible hospitality at Leadway Bar and Grill 5233 North Damen. If you are looking for a cozy hideaway, in a quiet neighborhood, Leadway is the place to be.

Beer and Food:

Featured Beer: On that show we paired our featured beer with the inspired cuisine of Revolution and Beer’s very own Chef, AJ Francisco. From 5 Rabbit brewery in Bedford Park, 5 Lizard Latin-style Witbier, or white beer. We’ve sampled several of 5 Rabbit’s brews, a classy alternative to the common Mexican beers. These beers are made for dining.

A Belgian Style ale that’s very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered Often referred to as “white beers” (witbieren) due to the cloudiness / yeast in suspension. This is made with hints of coriander, lime and passion fruit that paired beautifully with AJ’s 3 Citrus Ceviche, using the Zest & the juice of Lemon, Lime, & Honey Tangerines. Sweet Scallops & fresh Pico de Gallo. The citrus pairs with 5-Lizards coriander essence marvelously.

The 5 Vultures Dark Ale will pair well with an Empanada, made with fresh Chorizo, sweet potato, raisin, & Chipotle chilies with a Roasted Poblano salsa. This bold beer stands up to big flavors.



This May Day, Occupy Chicago asks supporters: Who does the American government work for? Occupy Chicago calls on our brothers and sisters throughout the city to join us on May 1st to stand up against the assaults on the 99%. At 1:00pm on May 1st we will gather at Union Park, Randolph and Ashland. At 2:00pm we will march to Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Jackson. After the march, the group will gather in Federal Plaza, where we will engage in a lively speakout on the struggles of the common worker and who really has the power in this country.

Further Reading:

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Wrap-up From Sunday’s Radio Show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beers of The Week:

  • Murphy’s Red Ale
  • O’Fallon’s Rager Red
  • Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale
  • Murphy’s Stout
  • Smithwick’s Red Ale

Get all the details here:


Revolution and Beer the TV Show

Thanks to Michael Roper, owner of Hopleaf, Dave Funcheon from 101 celsius and Dr. Lora Chamberlain for joining Brian and I on the first Revolution and Beer show, which will air this May on CAN TV.

Issues and Actions:

Out of the Shadows Immigration Rally


From the north side to the south side, we’re working our asses off to help people as they fight for their homes.



Revolution and Beer was on the front lines as Michael Madigan flip-flopped on a moratorium of fracking. He cynically used the moratorium issue to squeeze Fracking companies for more taxes, and it seems to have worked. He would love for you to call him and demand his support for HB3086 and SB1418 @ 217/546-7404. Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois. Call your IL Rep and Sen at 1-217-782-2000

CPS bans the book “Percepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi:

This week, CPS banned the book, Percepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a coming of age novel about a young girl in Iran growing up under a tyrannical and oppressive government. Sound familiar? Call the CPS Chief executive Barbara Byrd-Bennett and suggest a book she can ban next @ (773) 553-1500. Be creative with your choices.

Keep your calendars open for April 5th.

Next week we will have a major announcement, so stay tuned.

And just for fun:


Get active, change the world, and please do it with a decent beer in your hands.

P.S. Hope you made it safely back to your bed after St. Patrick’s day!

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post