March 3, 2015 archive


Chicago’s black voters key as Garcia battles to defeat Emanuel in mayoral race

By Mary Wisniewski and Tracy Rucinski, Reuters

Mon Mar 2, 2015 7:08am EST

(I)n 2011 majority African-American wards gave overwhelming backing to Emanuel, who was previously President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, some disillusionment has set in since. A persistently high crime rate, the decision to close 50 schools in mostly poor areas, and a sense that Emanuel is out of touch with the community and its problems has hurt him among black voters, some political activists say.

After spending more than $7 million on television ads alone, Emanuel won 45.5 percent of the vote in the first round last Tuesday – the largest tally of the five contenders but short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid an April 7 run-off.

Emanuel’s backing in predominantly black wards slipped to just 42 percent, from about 59 percent in 2011, according to the Illinois Election Data web site, while Garcia had 26 percent of the votes. The other 32 percent in those wards went to the three other candidates – two blacks and one white – who have now been eliminated from the race, leaving those votes up for grabs.

“Dead even”: New polls show Rahm Emanuel in danger of losing Chicago runoff

by Luke Brinker, Salon

Monday, Mar 2, 2015 12:50 PM EST

One week after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to clear the 50 percent threshold required to avoid an April runoff, new polls find a deadlocked race between Emanuel and progressive challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Capitalizing on progressive discontent with the mayor’s school closures, privatization schemes, and hostile relationship with organized labor, Garcia has campaigned in the mold of such progressive populists as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. He captured 34 percent of the vote last week. Emanuel won just 45 percent, despite a massive campaign war chest and the support of much of the political establishment.

While 55 percent of voters supported candidates other than the first-term incumbent, some analysts have speculated that many cast votes against Emanuel to simply to register a first-round protest. Presented with a choice between Emanuel and Garcia – and after another month of being deluged with Emanuel’s campaign ads – many of those voters will come home for the mayor, the thinking goes. But the latest numbers underscore that an Emanuel victory is far from assured.

The People of Chicago Stun Obama’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Now It’s Round 2

by Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report

Wed, 02/25/2015

“Turnout was near an all time low, but it didn’t matter,” one campaign associate told Black Agenda Report. “The voters who did come out were really motivated,.they know Rahm is an absolute pig.”

“There were also two advisory referenda our forces helped place on the ballot, which brought out the anti-Rahm vote. The first was a citywide vote on taking the big money out of elections, which carried 80%. The second referendum was for Chicago getting an elected school board instead of the mayoral dictatorship the President, privatizers and corporations love so much, that we’ve had since the Daley era. The mayor’s people would not allow a school board vote on the ballot citywide, so the Chicago Teachers Union and their allies in the communities across the city hit the streets and did a ward by ward petition drive, which got it on the ballot in 37 of the city’s 50 wards. This measure got 270,000 to 34,000, almost 9 to 1.”

Rahm Emanuel, called by some “Mayor One Percent” had every conceivable advantage. President Obama cut multiple campaign commercials for him, and made well publicized visits to his campaign offices. Besides millions in cash to spend, he had most of the city’s black and Latino political leaders, including congressmen Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez in his kennel. His Hollywood pals did an 8 part CNN mini-series for him by the same folks who did the “Brick City” series to boost the political fortunes of Newark’s Corey Booker. The CNN series broadcast fake stats about Rahm and his top cop bringing down the city’s murder rate, debunked almost immediately by news reports while the series was still being broadcast. And under Rahm and the Daleys, Chicago has expelled roughly as many poor and black residents in the last 20 years as New Orleans after Katrina. The city that elected Harold Washington in 1983 was over 40% black. Today’s Chicago is about 27% African American.

The established neoliberal candidate playbook on winning big city elections is to discourage poorer and left leaning voters from coming out, while spending heavily on media. Thanks to the long term mobilization of the teachers union and many forces across the city, it didn’t work this time.

Rahm Emanuel is also vulnerable for the many, many privatizations, sweetheart deals, and grand thefts he’s helped perpetrate while on the fifth floor. He pretended to “reform” the Daley era deal which gave all the city’s parking spaces to a consortium that appears to include J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi for the next 75 years. If a parking meter breaks or the city decides there’s no need for meters on a particular street, the contract obligates Chicago taxpayers to pay the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi and the other shadowy investors what those meters would have produced for the remainder of the 75year contract. Rahm secretly had the yellow light interval shortened a couple tenths of a second to produce more revenue for the city and the contractors who manage its red light cameras.

Some Thoughts from Bill Black

Iceland’s Supreme Court Upholds Jail Sentences of Four Banking Executives, February 23, 2015

An Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis, February 27, 2015

HSBC Offshore Tax-Evading Scandal Widening, March 1, 2015


TBC: Morning Musing 3.3.15

I have 4 articles on a common theme for ya this morning!

First, TransCanada is using eminent domain to seize land, and all those property rights folks on teh right are strangely silent, go figure:

TransCanada Is Seizing People’s Land To Build Keystone, But Conservatives Have Been Dead Silent

Crawford, who lives in Direct, Texas, had been trying since 2011 to keep the pipeline company off her property. But she ultimately lost, the portion of her land needed for the pipeline condemned through eminent domain – a process by which government can force citizens to sell their property for “public use,” such as the building of roads, railroads, and power lines. Crawford can’t wrap her head around why TransCanada, a foreign company, was granted the right of eminent domain to build a pipeline that wouldn’t be carrying Texas oil through the state of Texas.

That question – how eminent domain can be used in a case like Keystone – has some anti-Keystone groups stumped too. But the groups that usually are vocal proponents of property rights, including the Institute for Justice, have been silent when it comes to the controversial pipeline.

“I have not seen a single group that would normally rail against eminent domain speak up on behalf of farmers or ranchers on the Keystone XL route,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of the anti-Keystone group Bold Nebraska.

That’s surprising to Kleeb, whose organization is supporting the efforts of a group of Nebraska landowners along the pipeline’s proposed route who have held out against giving TransCanada access to their land. She had thought that at least a few conservative or pro-lands rights groups would have voiced their general support for Keystone XL, but still denounced the use of eminent domain to get it built. That hasn’t happened, Kleeb said – not among property rights groups nor among most pro-Keystone lawmakers.

“If this were a wind mill project or a solar project, Republicans would have been hair-on-fire crazy supporting the property rights of farmers and ranchers,” she observed. “But because it’s an oil pipeline, it’s fine.”


On This Day In History March 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 3 is the 62nd day of the year (63rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 303 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1887, Anne Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously uncontrollable Keller flourished, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the older woman’s death in 1936.

Sullivan, age 20, arrived at Ivy Green, the Keller family estate, in 1887 and began working to socialize her wild, stubborn student and teach her by spelling out words in Keller’s hand. Initially, the finger spelling meant nothing to Keller. However, a breakthrough occurred one day when Sullivan held one of Keller’s hands under water from a pump and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” in Keller’s palm. Keller went on to learn how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan’s assistance, Keller attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.

Helen Keller became a public speaker and author; her first book, “The Story of My Life” was published in 1902. She was also a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality, as well as socialism. From 1920 to 1924, Sullivan and Keller even formed a vaudeville act to educate the public and earn money. Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 87, leaving her mark on the world by helping to alter perceptions about the disabled.

Late Night Karaoke

The Daily/Nightly Show (Show Fix)

Larry continues to feel his way forward with his format and tonight could actually be a big leap forward if his bookers can keep coming up with high profile guests.

Tonight we’ll spend the whole half hour with Bill DiBlasio and I’ll be interested to see how it works out.

After a month or so now of some hits and some misses (hey, if you put it in play 50% of the time in Baseball you’re generally considered a pretty good bat) I’m kind of hoping that this format kind of works for him.

You see, the problems are first that we are not getting a set up each night.  The opening monologue is where you introduce the players and frame the debate, kind of like putting your leadoff men on base.  Secondly 4 people is too many for the panel, especially when so many of them are lightly known.  They don’t get enough face time with the audience to demonstrate their expertise (if they are serious) or be funny (if they are) and frankly it’s hard to keep them straight.

What I think could actually work is an old fashioned kind of Meet The Press style- 1 to 4 minutes of monologue (why are we watching this, who will we talking to) and then a short segment with just Larry and the guest developing the guest’s point of view.

After that we can bring in the panel (and I’d recommend no more than 2 to allow the audience time to familiarize themselves with them) and put the guest on the grill for about 10 – 12 minutes.

I do think the whole ‘Keeping it 100’ thing works and I would keep that part of it, but Larry and his writers need to be able to step in and pick it up because the questions so far are lame.  I don’t know if that’s just because they aren’t getting many good ones or they’re picking bad ones.

Finally, Lary can’t be allowed to slide off the hook with ‘Weak Tea’ like this-

What the heck is that???  All 4 of the ladies on his panel?  If I was his wife it would have been a long, cold weekend on the couch after that one.  And it may have been gallant but it was a stone cold weasel.

You know, I had another clip in mind (opening panel segment), but frankly last Thursday’s whole show was nothing special and the clip (though the highlight) was no better than the rest of it.


Well, we’ll see if Jon survived his taping of Monday Night Raw (or maybe not until tomorrow if they did it after The Daily Show.  These Rock and Wrestling mashups rarely work though ever since Cyndi Lauper teamed up with Captain Lou Albano they keep trying it.

The lowly, average, regular rich

This Week’s Guests-

I do hope Robert Smigel talks about some of his SNL work like ‘The Ambiguously Gay Duo’ but I suspect he’ll be talking about the return of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in Friday’s The Jack and Triumph Show on Adult Swim.  It’s a funny bit…

For me to poop on.

The real news below.