Archive for Chicago Politics

Total Wow.

Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, considering run for Mayor

To get a sense of the President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, watch this (probably not in the office):

Nice, right? Just the sort of person you want in charge of your child’s education. So maybe Mayor is a better title for her?

Karen Lewis’ potential bid for Chicago Mayor has moved beyond just a thought — it’s an “organic,” growing movement, the fiery Chicago Teachers Union president said.

Lewis revealed on Monday she already has an unofficial exploratory committee in the works, a chairperson has been named and her camp is working to have a representative in each of the city’s 77 neighborhoods.

Since an Early & Often poll released Sunday put Lewis at a 9-percentage-point advantage over Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lewis’ phone has been ringing non-stop, she said.

“They’ve been coming from all over the country,” Lewis said in an interview Monday. “Facebook is blowing up. Twitter is blowing up.”

Lewis lashed out at Emanuel camp’s initial response to the poll published by the Sun-Times political portal. An Emanuel political spokesman called the poll numbers “laughable.”

“There are a variety of ways to look at these problems, but laughable isn’t one of them,” said Lewis, the mayor’s top critic during the closing of 50 schools. “That is how people feel — that they’ve been laughed at and ignored.”

Lewis said she’s still not made a final decision on whether to enter the contest.

But she is already thinking about strategy. That involves drilling down to the community level on resident concerns and having a representative for each of the city’s 77 official community areas.

Perhaps she can be President of the United States someday. Foreign leaders can imagine her in jail, sitting on one of those little toilets.

- Aggie

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Second City, Third World

Every so often, I search the web for news of some of my favorite topics: Detroit’s bankruptcy; Mexican drug cartels; National Health Service atrocities; Chinese coal mining disasters, etc. I am rarely disappointed.

Another favorite theme is gun violence in Chicago. I am sorry to report that, again, I am not disappointed:

At least 29 people have been shot across Chicago this weekend, four of them fatally, officials said.

There are details aplenty at the link, if you’re interested. Don’t know why you would be; you didn’t know the victims.

But that wasn’t the only story that came up:

Yesterday, GunsSaveLives.com published a story about a mass shooting in Chicago. They reported that on Monday night, six people were shot in the Windy City at a laundromat. They included teenagers, and according to the Chicago Tribune, all are on the road to recovery.

The coverage raised the question of how six people could be shot and wounded in a single incident in the United States and get minimal press. It was uncanny, to say the least. A man walked up to a laundromat in Chicago and pulled the trigger an estimated 19 times, according to witnesses. How was this not all over the news?

There were over 80 documented shootings in Chicago in this timeframe [between the UCSB shooting and June 4, the date of this story]. These include fatalities, botched robberies, and gangland killings.

Why is this information not causing a firestorm among politicians and the media? Why has this information not been brought to the attention of the public? Where is the outrage?

One might well wonder:

There are three very possible answers to this question, and they are not mutually exclusive.

The first is that Chicago is the seat and the base of the Democratic political machine in the United States. It is the bastion of state controlled, tax-burdened, socialist capital which helps choose the nation’s Democratic leaders. Chicago is the throne of the Empire of the Donkey.

Chicago is also home, until recently, of the most stringent gun laws in the country. There was no ownership of handguns, there was no concealed carry, and there was no way for law-abiding people to protect themselves except to call the police. That is how the Democrats want it, and Chicago is where they had it.

The changes to allow law abiding Chicagoans to arm themselves have not yet taken full effect, and it will be interesting to watch the changes in the city once they do. Chicago cannot and will not accept these changes wholeheartedly. The city which represents the Democratic idea of industrial socialism and state monopoly of force will never fully respect or abide such a fundamental right as of citizens to arm themselves.

Second, Chicago already has tough gun laws. How can these crimes happen if those guns are illegal? The reaction of the media and the liberal politicians is for the most part to plug their ears and sing loud gibberish whenever a gun rights advocate brings up Chicago. They do not want to hear that their unarmed citizens are at risk; it is inconceivable. The shooter in the laundromat incident fired 19 shots; anything holding 19 shots is illegal in Chicago. Criminals do not seem to care about the restrictions placed upon them by the government, but they do seem to take advantage of them.

Lastly, Chicago is the city where Barack Obama himself helped craft the gun laws which are choking the ability of law-abiding citizens there to defend themselves. It was his policies, and it was his efforts that helped keep Chicagoans disarmed in the face of rising violent crime. According to a piece by Brietbart.com, Obama himself declared that the type of laws Chicago had were the type of laws he wanted to pass on a national level. Magazine bans, “assault rifle bans,” background checks and licensing already exist in Chicago, just as they do for the most part in California where the Isla Vista shootings took place. Bringing attention to the gun violence in Chicago potentially hurts Obama, and that is something the liberal media cannot let happen.

I would also add that the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators and victims of Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence are black. This is an inconvenient and profoundly sad truth.

And those weren’t the only stories that came up:

HELP US – WE’RE DYING!

And while you’re at it, we also need to hear from you about all the ways you’re working around the clock to keep more innocent people from being killed in Chicago.

Seven killed, 23 hurt over the last weekend? Eleven more shot on Monday?

These are headlines we expect out of Syria, not The Windy City.

Seriously, what will it take for our country to recognize that there is an all-out war being waged on its soil?

Someone white dying? Nope, Sandy Hook took care of that and WE STILL ARE NO WHERE.

Too many of our men simply aren’t there for them, and every day we see evidence of this: they’re abandoning their kids, dropping out of school, going (or returning) to prison and falling victim to violent crimes at the hands of one another in cities like Chicago and states like Louisiana.

I believe that if we fix the men we fix the kids, male and female.

If we fix the men we fix the household.

If we fix the household we fix the community.

We in the white mainstream, liberal or conservative, may be discomfited by this straight talk. But if we are to have these long-awaited “conversations on race” (20 years overdue), are we to silence voices that live on the front lines, as it were?

The facts are that despite Chicago’s strict gun laws (Fox Butterfield, is that you?), gun crimes are proliferating, and black people are suffering the consequences, unto death. What do we plan to do about it? Besides nothing, that is.

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Coming to America

A heartwarming story of a legal immigrant:

Odeh, who is in her 60s, entered the U.S. from Jordan in 1995 and became a naturalized citizen in 2004.

[S]he’s commonly known as Rasmea Yousef in Chicago. Hatem Abudayyeh, head of the Arab American Action Network, called her an “icon” in the community.

In 2013, Odeh received the Outstanding Community Leader award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, a coalition of ethnic museums and cultural centers in the Chicago area.

What have I left out, you ask? Nothing important. Just a few dreary details that, well, uh…I mean…

Very well:

A Chicago activist might plead guilty in Detroit to failing to tell U.S. immigration officials about her conviction in a deadly bombing in Israel in 1969, her attorney said Saturday.

A court hearing is scheduled Wednesday for Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago.

“We are engaging in serious negotiations, which could lead to a guilty plea,” defense lawyer William Swor told The Associated Press. “If she enters a guilty plea, she will likely have to leave the country.”

Odeh’s case has angered pro-Palestinian activists in the U.S. who accuse the government of trying to silence dissent on Israel.

She is charged with not disclosing her past when she applied for citizenship in Detroit.

Odeh was convicted of an attack that killed two people at a Jerusalem market in 1969. An Israeli military court sentenced her to life in prison in 1970, but she was released 10 years later in a prisoner swap with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Just for the record, another 20 people were injured in Ms. Odeh’s terrorist attack—just about one for every year she’s been in America.

Chicago doesn’t have much like with its “Outstanding Community Leaders”, does it?

PS: That’s not as funny as you think:

A terrorist from Jordan briefly worked as an Obamacare navigator in Illinois while authorities remained unaware of her conviction for involvement in a deadly grocery store bombing and two other attacks.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in several bombings, including the 1969 attack on an upscale Shufersol grocery store, which killed two Hebrew University students who had stopped in to buy groceries for a hiking trip in the Jerusalem hills. Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe were killed by a bomb hidden in a candy box tucked on a shelf, which also injured nine or 10 others, according to a website maintained by the Israeli government to commemorate terror victims.

The Illinois Department of Insurance quietly revoked Odeh’s certification as a Navigator In-Person Counselor on November 24, explaining in a disciplinary report that the decision was “based on an investigation which revealed that she had been convicted in Israel for her role in the bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem and failed to reveal the conviction on her application.” …

Odeh, who has as many as nine aliases, was indicted in October for allegedly lying on her U.S. immigration and naturalization application papers. On Dec. 9, 2004, she had been sworn in as a U.S. citizen in a district court in Michigan, the same state where bombing victim Kanner had spent six months studying English. …

Birds of a feather.

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What’d You Do This Weekend?

Bled out. How ’bout you?

Four people were killed and at least 35 have been wounded in shootings across the city since Friday night, Chicago Police said.

The most recent fatal shooting happened early Sunday in the Logan Square neighborhood, where a 21-year-old woman was gunned down while riding in a car on Fullerton Avenue near Kedzie Boulevard.

Cindy Bahena, 21, was a back-seat passenger in a car headed eastbound in the 3500 block of West Fullerton Avenue about 12:25 a.m. Sunday when a group of men standing on a sidewalk shouted gang slogans and fired shots, authorities said.

Police said the male driver of the vehicle is a known gang member, and Bahena was not the intended target of the shooting.

The dead never are. If all their gun laws can’t keep innocent citizens safe, can they at least teach the gang-bangers how to shoot straight?

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Barack Obama High

No, not high as in stoned; high as in high school.

Well, both:

Chicago students vying for hard-to-get spots in the city’s most competitive public high schools will get a new selective enrollment high school named after President Barack Obama.

For parents frustrated with a gut-wrenching process that some have compared to getting their child into an Ivy League school, 300 additional freshmen seats come as welcome news.

For Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the announcement, coupled with an earlier University of Chicago study released Thursday showing more freshmen are on track to graduate high school, was an opportunity to celebrate a new course for Chicago Public Schools.

“For the first time in the city of Chicago, I get to say that (U.S. Education) Secretary (William) Bennett, who in 1987 said the city of Chicago is the worst public school system in America, you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” Emanuel said.

And it only took you 27 years. Way to go, Chi-ca-go! But some people still aren’t happy:

Mayoral critics noted the $60 million high school was announced a day after CPS voted to turn over management of three failing schools in impoverished neighborhoods on the city’s West and South Sides to a private organization. They contend that instead of investing more resources in top-tier schools that serve a small number of students, the money should be used to help neighborhood schools across the city, many of which saw severe budget cuts this school year.

Some also wondered why Obama College Prep was not being built on the South Side in the president’s Kenwood neighborhood or in the community where First Lady Michelle Obama grew up, rather than among well-to-do North Siders.

Remember, Obama is half white, too. He represents all of us. Besides, he likes the Cubs as much as the White Sox:

Wow. “South Side kid”? He didn’t set foot in Chicago until he went there to organize communities at 24. No wonder he can’t remember a single ChiSox name. (The announcers let him off easy—I would have loved to hear him squirm trying to name any Oakland As players: “Uh… the truth is, I liked a lot of Giants, too…”)

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Meet the Next Hadiya Pendleton

First, let’s remember the first Hadiya Pendleton (on whom, I confess, I have a little bit of a crush, if a posthumous one)

Can you blame me?

Now, meet her successor, Gakira Barnes:

The gap between Gakirah Barnes’s front teeth when she smiled, whether she was celebrating on the basketball court or messing around with friends, made her look even younger than the 17 years she spent in south Chicago before being shot to death last weekend.

“At least I don’t have to constantly worry about what’s going to happen to her out on the street no more,” said her mother, Shontell Brown, who wept as she inspected the cemetery plot where Gakirah will be buried on Monday. Her father, who was gunned down on her first Easter Sunday, lies nearby. Her twin brother, who saw his best friend murdered in 2011, will be at the funeral.

Though mourned as a victim by her family and her girlfriend, Gakirah – one of five Chicagoans killed and 36 wounded over the city’s warmest and bloodiest weekend of the year so far – was, according to police and neighbourhood sources, also part of the problem: a hip-hop-fuelled gang war that is raging even as Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasts that crime is at a record low.

Sweet girl that she was, Gakirah was not quite so sweet as my girl, Hadiya:

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Nicknamed K I, Gakirah is said to have run with the STL-EBT crew, a young branch of the notorious Gangster Disciples, who have bedevilled the south side since the 1960s. As allies of Lil Jay, a local up-and-coming rapper, they clashed with boys from the nearby Parkway Gardens projects who are loyal to the rival Black Disciples, and to Jay’s more established nemesis, Keith “Chief Keef” Cozart, who is signed to Interscope Records, the home of superstars Dr Dre and Eminem.

Oh, okay. That explains everything.

Some at Parkway Gardens, which is nicknamed “O Block” in Perry’s memory, blame Gakirah for his death. “That’s false information,” said her mother. “Rip K I Da Shooter,” Lil Jay wrote under a picture of Gakirah pointing her hand like a gun that he posted to Instagram, after she was killed. The battle continued in the comments below. “This summer gone get real,” warned one user. As social media buzzed with accusations, Keno Glass, an aspiring rapper and cousin of Coleman, was shot dead in a drive-by at 2:40am on Tuesday. He was just 16.

What would people do to me if they learned I ran around with the Scarlatti gang? Dom probably had his enemies, same as everyone.

One Sonata in G Major and I’d be a dead man.

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Illinois + Medicaid = $$$$$

If I knew being dead paid so well, I might have topped myself years ago:

The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

The memo states that more than $7 million has been recovered and the rest is expected to be recouped by year’s end.

How do they do that? By digging up the bodies and selling their organs? Melting down their fillings? My arithmetic shows that the average stiff raked in $4,138. Unless they were buried in Versace, I don’t see how you can “recoup” that much money from dead people.

“It’s disappointing and somewhat enraging for taxpayers, but it’s not surprising,” Righter said. “I wish this administration would spend more time trying to solve the problems rather than trying to convince taxpayers that they’ve already solved them.”

That’s an Illinois State Senator talking about the Democrat Governor. But, boy, he could be talking about the federal administration, couldn’t he? Run by a former Illinois State Senator, I note. Who learned well.

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Out: Do it for the Children—In: RACIST!

If a equals b, and b equals c, what do we know about the value of a compared to the value of c?

As Eric Holder would say, you don’t want to go there, buddy:

In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).”

Byrd-Bennett is black.

No way!

Way.

What is the insidious plan this Aunt Jemimah has in mind for black children?

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools.

And we can’t have that.

Woody Guthrie once wrote the refrain, “You can’t scare me, I’m stickin’ to the union.” If it read today “stickin’ it to the union”, it would be relevant. The union sure has been sticking it to kids—black kids—for decades.

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Change and Hope

All due respect to our Obamabot friends, but that’s the better order.

For only after you change can you begin to hope:

The choir sang hallelujah as the congregation of 15,000 clapped and sang along. Reverend James Meeks ratcheted up the intensity of his speech. “Man looks at the outside,” he shouted rearing his head back. “But God looks at your heart! Are you with me here?”

Judging by the response, Meeks had the faithful at Salem Baptist Church hanging on his every word.“One hundred percent with Reverend Meeks,” said parishioner Eugene Harris outside the mega-church on Chicago’s fiercely Democratic South Side.

Meeks is careful not to preach politics from the pulpit. That doesn’t mean he does not have a political side. This former state senator is active as a leader in Chicago’s African-American community and also has considerable political clout.

This gubernatorial election he is not throwing that clout behind the Democrat, incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. Instead, Meeks is lining up behind Bruce Rauner, the wealthy Republican businessman from Chicago’s predominantly-white North Shore.

“The Democratic party just assume always that 97 percent of the African-American vote will go to the Democratic party. If that assumption is true, they never have to work for our vote,” Meeks said.

Look at the other places where elections are decided by similar margins. North Korea, Crimea, Saddam’s Iraq, Cambridge…do any of those strike you as free?

If the definition of insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then too many black Americans are indeed bat-[bleep] crazy.

God bless Reverend Meeks:

“Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable,” says Meeks. “And we still get the same promises from the Democratic party, but we don’t get any deliverable. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.”

“I would hope that I would get a chance to influence a lot of African-Americans to look at how we, as a voting bloc, [are] being taken for granted,” Meeks says.

Change lies within you. Now you can hope.

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What is “Social Justice”?

I’ve come to be very suspicious of the phrase, given those who are so fond of using it, but what does it mean?

Wikipedia?

Social justice is the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.

Realize their potential—you mean like charter schools, where the pupil, not the teacher, and certainly not the teachers union, is paramount?

Ha-ha, very funny:

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants schools to teach social justice, not “consumerism,” she said in a video.

“You want to talk about organizing? You want to talk about social justice?” the Chicago union leader asked. “People always talk about how that there’s no political and values in math, that you can teach math without a place for social justice.”

“Johnny has five pencils and if he spent two cents for the red pencils and eight cents for the green pencils, and he has 47 cents, how many pencils can he buy? We’ve all seen that, right?” Lewis said. ”That’s a very political statement, because it’s all about consumerism — it’s about buying stuff, right?”

Instead, Lewis prefers the approach of one progressive teacher who uses union-approved rhetoric in math problems, instead of the damaging consumerism of two cent pencils.

“Bob Peterson tells them about Jose working in a factory making piecemeal clothes. He uses the same numbers and gets the same answer,” Lewis explained. “Math is political, too.”

Told you it was funny. Apparently being a teacher is political, as well:

Lewis is best known for leading a strike within the ailing Chicago Public Schools system. Lewis’ strike caught national attention, winning 17.6 percent pay increases for Chicago teachers, who then earned on average $71,000-$76,000 per year.

Lewis is currently focusing on fighting potential pension cuts to city teachers. Illinois is facing at least $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for public workers.

Don’t give up a penny, Karen. Green pencils don’t grow on trees.

I thought liberals celebrated “consumerism”. That’s what Pelosi and Obama tell us when they celebrate welfare and unemployment benefits. “Folks” have the money to buy pencils, “piecemeal clothing” (thongs?), Big Macs, whatever, thereby employing stationers, seamstresses, and fry cooks—at least until a hike in the minimum wage forces employers to cut back.

As a conservative, I not only approve of but celebrate the opportunity for people to “realize their potential”. But what that has to do with this fat hackette’s (sorry, not really, for the ad hominem attack) nonsense escapes me. The very reason Jose is working in a sweatshop is that he was failed by the Chicago schools. They didn’t teach him English or good communication skills, didn’t teach him that red pencils are just as good as green, and cheaper, didn’t teach him that capitalism is the best system for people to “realize their potential”—but you have to have something to offer, a trade, skill, talent, whatever to sell in the marketplace. Those who do indeed do “realize their potential” and found businesses and whole industries. Those who don’t tend to work at the lower end of those businesses and industries, until Democrat policies ruin the economy, and they get laid off.

In this sense, “social justice” would seem to mean a vicious cycle of liberal nonsense. Which is what I thought.

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Thank You, Detroit

Seriously, thank you.

You scared Chicago straight:

Gov. Pat Quinn launched Illinois’ epic attempt to bail itself out of a $100 billion public employee pension debt Thursday, signing into law an ambitious financial, legal and political effort to restore the state’s tumbling credit ratings and unstable economy.

Despite the historic nature of the law, which takes effect June 1, the Democratic governor signed the measure behind closed doors, joined by top lawmakers. The quietness of the event symbolized the controversial nature of a package that has split longtime political allegiances and quickly become fodder for the 2014 campaign season.

The private bill signing stood in sharp contrast to the public pep rally that master of ceremonies Quinn held when he put his signature on Illinois’ gay marriage law little more than two weeks earlier, a move that reaffirmed support among progressives.

The We Are One coalition of unions, headed by the state AFL-CIO, called the new law “attempted pension theft and it’s illegal.”

“Leading politicians and their followers chose to violate their oaths of office, trample on the Illinois Constitution, and willfully ignore the plain letter of the law,” the coalition said in a statement. “Once overturned, its purported savings will evaporate and the state’s finances and pension systems will be left in worse shape.”

At issue is a clause in the 1970 state constitution which defines public pensions as an “enforceable contract” with benefits that cannot be diminished or impaired. But supporters of the measure, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, have maintained the law will be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Bring it on, Jimmy Hoffa.

Hey, the pinkie-ringed union thugs may be proved right. But so what? What’s an “enforceable contract” when there’s no money? The goons knew as well as the politicians that such pension deals weren’t worth the paper they were written on. It was all about the announcement, not the actual collection.

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Eating Detroit

It tastes like chicken. Unless that’s racist.

Maybe chicory:

A private company is snapping up 150 acres on the Motor City’s East End — property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood — and turning it into what is being billed as the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.

So, Detroit hasn’t merely gone to the dogs; it’s gone to the cows.

Not everyone is a fan of turning such a huge swath of Detroit into a farm. The proposal was met with criticism from local residents and even area agricultural groups. It squeaked by the City Council by a razor-thin margin of 5-4.

“I think there’s concern in this transaction,” said Nevin Cohen, a professor of Environmental Studies at New York’s New School who has been monitoring the plan. “The city [Detroit] needs to figure out its blight problem without hurting the members of the community.”

“Replicating a community farm is not as important as addressing issues of race and class concerns — which underlie Detroit’s problems,” he said.

Come on, hasn’t Detroit’s obsession with race and class underlaid Detroit’s problems? Why not give broccoli rabe and chard a try?

Fine, if you don’t want to eat Detroit, maybe you can eat on Detroit—what’s left of it:

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A new store opening today in the Motor City is putting materials salvaged from Detroit’s abandoned homes to good use by repurposing it for made-to-order furniture. Called “Workshop,” the store will be open through the holidays selling benches, tables, and other home goods in a pop-up location in the city’s Fisher Building. Most items will be made to customer specifications, but the showroom currently houses seven items–four benches and three tables–all made from the wood of an abandoned home located on the far West Side of the city.

Deconstruction is a relatively recent urban planning trend in which a structure is carefully and systematically dismantled with the intent of saving the most useable materials for future use.

“We are turning the page here in Detroit,” Jeremy Haines, who currently heads Reclaim Detroit told FoxNews.com. “There is a flipside to the blight. There’s a stockpile of materials.”

“It’s an opportunity to do something positive. We are helping to bring industry back to the city,” he added.

In the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit is rebranding itself as the DIY, or do-it-yourself, City, with projects such as urban farms, small businesses selling locally made products, and residents pitching in to handle municipal upkeep. Reclaim Detroit and Workshop are firmly entrenched in this new ethos among the locals, who are committed to bringing Detroit back from the brink.

Detroit is not at the brink: bankrupt, decrepit, derelict, it’s so far past the brink it might as well keep going and hope to reach it from the other side.

First farmland, then furniture, now fine art:

A coalition of the largest creditors in Detroit’s bankruptcy is taking the first legal step toward pressuring the city to sell art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Three bond insurers, the city’s largest employee union and several European banks filed a motion in federal court this afternoon asking Judge Steven Rhodes to appoint a committee to oversee an independent evaluation of the market value of the multibillion-dollar city-owned collection at the DIA.

The motion formally takes the fight over the fate of the DIA into court for the first time. The filing suggests major creditors are unlikely to agree to any restructuring plan if they believe Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is offering a low-ball figure for the value of the art. The move increases the chances that Rhodes will be forced to decide whether the art can legally be sold.

An executive at New York-based bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., which led the drafting of the filing, told the Free Press in an exclusive interview that the city must sell art to satisfy creditors.

“We recognize that this is a very sensitive issue,” said Derek Donnelly, managing director of FGIC. “Whatever process we undertake here, we would hope would create a win-win situation — that ultimately there will be a viable DIA that will survive this process and possibly even thrive. But at the same time there needs to be a construct that addresses the fact that the DIA, or art, is not an essential asset and especially not one that is essential to the delivery of services in the city.”

No money, no Monet.

I don’t think we fully realize the phenomenon of reprimativization taking place in Detroit. It’s like Chernobyl, without the roentgens.

But Illinois appreciates:

Top Illinois legislators said today they’ve reached agreement on a plan to deal with the state’s worst-in-the-nation unfunded public pension liability and expect to vote on it next week.

Details of the measure were unclear today and its prospects of passing remained uncertain. But both Democratic and Republican leaders said they agreed on a proposal, the first such sign of progress in more than two years of discussions spurred by a continued downgrading of the state’s credit rating.

The debate has centered on how to reduce costs while balancing the legal protections to public employee retiree benefits laid out in the state constitution. The public employee unions have repeatedly threatened to challenge in court any pension proposal that lacked their support, and they were quick to criticize today’s announcement.

Officials for public employee and teachers’ unions, while unfamiliar with the details, said in a statement that they believed the proposal was “an unfair, unconstitutional scheme that undermines retirement security” since it was based on previous proposals that they had fought.

“It’s no compromise at all with those who earned and paid for their retirement benefits,” said the “We Are One” coalition, an umbrella organization for the state AFL-CIO, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Illinois Nurses Association.

Squawk if you must, pinkie-ringed union thugs, but unless you want to see Wrigley Field converted into a patch of corn, in a reverse Filed of Dreams, you’ll need to be a little more flexible.

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