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Blog, Featured: Paul Ryan praises “strong conservative” Bob Dold

Take it from Paul Ryan: Bob Dold is a “strong conservative.”

Rep. Paul Ryan added Rep. Bob Dold of Kenilworth to a list of his favorite GOP candidates running in 2016. Dold, who voted for the controversial Ryan budget, has a track record of voting with Republican leaders on key issues.Dold_Bob

Who are Ryan’s other picks?

— Climate science denier Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
— Koch Bros.-backed Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin)
— “Life Begins at Conception Act” co-sponsor Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado)

A section of the website adds that Dold “shares Chairman Ryan’s vision.”

It’s no surprise to those who know him best — Dold voted for the infamous Ryan budget, which included major benefit cuts, and would end Medicare as we know it.

Full list on Paul Ryan’s Prosperity PAC site: HERE.



Blog, Featured: Rep. Alan Grayson speech to Coalition to Restore Democracy audience

On April 8, 2015, Congressman Alan Grayson spoke at an event in Northbrook sponsored by the Coalition to Restore Democracy. The videotape of that speech is presented here:


Click here to see videotape.

Blog, Newsletter Articles:  Distributed Solar: The Best Renewable Energy


By Donnie R. Dann

Several forms of “green” energy may do more harm than good. So what types of renewable energy are better? Is there a renewable energy source that is both wildlife-friendly and relatively low cost? Yes, there is: “distributed solar.”

Current energy generation sources are primarily large-scale coal- and gas-fired power plants, massive hydroelectric dams, and nuclear generating stations. Even renewable energy mostly originates from industrial-scale wind farms or multi-acre solar arrays. But with distributed solar, the energy generators are spread out, dispersed, or decentralized. Think rooftop photovoltaic panels on suburban homes, urban factories, or even rural farm buildings.

Distributed rooftop solar systems send power directly to the user — no power plants and no power lines are needed to get it there. The user is “off-the-grid.” Moreover, installing these systems does not require erecting structures that destroy habitat or displace, injure, or kill plants and animals. On the contrary, distributed solar fills in otherwise unused space on rooftops. Last, and perhaps most obvious, distributed rooftop solar systems avoid fossil fuel use to the extent that they displace power that would otherwise need to be purchased from coal- or natural gas-fired power plants.

But is solar energy a practicable solution for the U.S., a country with significant areas of cloud cover? Yes, according to the experience of Germany, hardly a very sunny country. Germany currently produces more than 23 gigawatts of solar energy, which provides over 50 percent of the country’s electricity.

Some critics also claim the solar solution is impractical because their roofs are not south-facing. As Michael Richard has pointed out, a west roofline orientation may be even more suitable.

As to the cost of solar, there is no doubt that the downward trend has been significant. David Roberts writes that “the rapidly falling cost of solar PV [photovoltaics] is the clean-energy story to beat all clean-energy stories!”   Many companies make the financing of solar installations relatively painless by applying the utility bill savings to the lease cost.

In Illinois, energy-conscious consumers have an additional incentive. In addition to the federal solar tax credit, Illinois passed legislation in 2014 authorizing up to $30 million for supplemental “distributed generation for solar procurement.” Other states have similar incentives.

Considering the benefits of passive solar, the rapid advances in solar storage capacity, and the decline in installation costs, there is little uncertainty that this technology is not just the wave of the future, but is also the best way we can provide efficient, benign power today.

Blog, Job Listings: Opportunity for High School Students

DePaul University Labor Center offers an intensive one-week union summer school program for high school students. This program, founded in 1948 serves as a resource center to students, labor activists, academics and community leaders seeking a deeper understanding of labor issues and economic justice. This forward thinking program is facilitated by Bob Breving, who in the 70’s and 80’s was a member of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and worked tirelessly along with others to organize many of your councils.

Bob has reached out to Local 504 along with the Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor (our Illinois AFL-CIO Central Labor Council) to hold a

one day program for high school students on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 9:30-2:30 here at the Union Hall.

Students will learn labor history and participate in a mock collective bargaining role play. The program is entirely free and students who complete the one day program will receive a $25 stipend a few weeks later.

In this day of “Union bashing” the timing couldn’t be more perfect to engage our future leaders in conversations about workers and working class communities. In order for this event to be successful, we need at least 25 students. Please help us recruit those 25 students and get back to me with their names by Monday, April 27.

Thank you for your assistance in teaching students about labor.

Susan Eberle  |  Bookkeeper
Lake County Federation of Teachers, Local 504
248 Ambrogio Drive, Gurnee, IL  60031
T:  847-623-7725, x-10  |  E:

Blog, Newsletter Articles: The Top 10 Republican Presidential Candidates – The Cast of a New Reality TV Show?



By Steven Gan

One of the things I like about Facebook is that it gives me a wonderful opportunity to debate with my conservative friends all the issues that we so passionately disagree on. Whether the topic is gun control, women’s reproductive health, marriage equality, immigration, climate change, my days and weeks can be filled with exhausting and pithy back-and-forth banter. With a few of my conservative FB friends, at least the ones who haven’t unfriended me yet, the debate threads sometimes go on and on: we’re like two boxers who are barely standing by the 10th round.

But when, recently, one of my stalwart opponents made a final comment to me, for perhaps the first time we found ourselves standing on common ground. “Unfortunately, the GOP doesn’t have a single, clear, and popular candidate who can really enthuse and rally the party and its supporters,” he said.

To read my Facebook antagonist’s honest assessment was almost shocking, but anyone who follows the silly antics, outlandish comments, and bizarre perspectives of the GOP candidates can easily come to the same  conclusion. Let me take a moment to give you a quick rundown on my top 10 Republican candidates for 2016 and point out why they’re nothing but part of the cast of the next new reality TV show.

1) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

According to a nationwide Quinnipiac poll released in early March, Walker has recently been leading the GOP pack with 18 percent of Republican primary voters. That’s impressive, considering that he’s really not well-known nationwide.

In February, Walker went off to England to obtain some semblance of foreign policy credentials.  When asked by one UK reporter whether he believed in evolution, he responded…. well, actually, he had no response. I suppose he just didn’t want to go down a path that could alienate the religious conservatives of his party.

But I got more insight into how Walker’s mind works when he was asked recently at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference how he would handle ISIS.  His coy response was, “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.” Comparing the teachers, firemen, policemen, and other union supporters who were peacefully protesting to radical terrorists who commit heinous, violent crimes just makes me cringe.

2) Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

While the rest of the country is moving forward, accepting marriage equality and being open-minded about other social issues, Huckabee is digging in his heels. His new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy, is nothing but camouflage for his religious liberty crusade.

I was watching one of Huckabee’s comical interviews when he declared, “Forcing people opposed to same-sex marriage to accept it is the same as telling Jews they have to serve bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli.”

Mike, if you’re reading this, just for the record, no one is forcing any kosher deli owner to sell shrimp wrapped in bacon.  Just as you can marry someone of the opposite sex, if you prefer.  However, if you were to walk into a kosher deli, you could not be refused service, no matter how repugnant your ideas.

3) Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

Talk about delusional.  When you’re under federal indictment for abuse of power and you still think you have a chance to become President of the United States, something upstairs is amiss.

I know Rick Perry is very good at leading thousands in prayer, and maybe he thinks that this talent will somehow save him from going to trial, but the reality is that he’ll drop out of the GOP race as soon as the Feds set a trial date, most likely once the campaign season gets underway. It’s all about perfect timing.

4) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

The George Washington Bridge traffic rerouting scandal is probably not going to matter all that much anymore. What will probably hurt Christie is not anything to do with his policies or the fact that New Jersey’s bond rating has been downgraded a few times since he’s been governor. Instead, he’ll pander to the Tea Party element of the GOP telling them that he’s the “real conservative,” while the other candidates keep showing pictures of him embracing President Obama right after Hurricane Sandy.

5) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

I once thought Jindal was not as entrenched in GOP ideology as the others, but since he’s been thinking of throwing his hat into the ring, I hear him espousing the conservative line more and more. Jindal is currently fighting with his own party over how to, on the one hand, fill a $1.6 billion budget hole and, on the other hand, maintain his anti-tax bona fides. Republicans like to think of each state’s economy as a microcosm of the U.S. economy.  If you can’t balance the budget in your own little corner of the world, then what makes you think you would be able to balance the budget of the entire nation?

6) Kentucky Senator Rand Paul

For several months, Paul was kind of leading the GOP pack. His “outreach” to the African-American community and his anti-interventionist foreign policy seemed to make him a little more palatable. Then came his statements in support of parents who withhold vaccination from their children. Followed by rapid back-pedaling.

Paul has had a history of making outlandish and highly provocative comments, only having to explain them later. That said, he seems to be probably the only one who can appeal to the hardline conservatives and then try to soften up his libertarian and Tea Party credentials for the general election.

7) Texas Senator Ted Cruz

You may be surprised to learn that I didn’t think Cruz would run for President.  I thought he just enjoyed letting everyone think he might run.  He should know he doesn’t have a chance. He’s caused way too much destruction to this country (leading the government shutdown) and has fomented endless turmoil within his party. His obsession to repeal the ACA drives him. He has done nothing but be an obstructionist on every issue no matter the damage. His claim to fame is that he knows how to read Dr. Seuss’ sbook, Green Eggs & Ham.

Honorable mentions

8) Dr. Ben Carson

One might expect some scientific insight from a former neurosurgeon.  That’s why Carson’s recent assertion on CNN that men go into prison straight and come out gay, which he offered as scientific proof that being gay is a choice, is so appalling.

9) Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina

Fiorina has been toying around with the idea of running for President since 2008. The problem is that she has never held any public office and seems to think tha,t having been a corporate CEO, she can just waltz right into the presidency. Talk about having hubris.

By the way, wasn’t she forced to resign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard?  And hasn’t she ranked as one of the worst tech CEOs of all time?

10) Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin & Mogul Donald Trump

I’m lumping these contenders together.  Neither has any real intention of ever running, and both love the attention they get by feeding into any speculation they might give it a try.

As horribly inarticulate as she is, Sarah Palin is probably smart enough to know that she’s way out of her league running for President. As for Donald Trump, it’s all about doing what he can to increase ratings for The Apprentice.

With the above pool of illustrious candidates, no wonder my Conservative FB friend and I agree that this line-up is a television station’s reality show dream team come true.