The Nooner | June 15, 2011
Today in the news: A showdown over teachers' pay, info screens planned for Chicago bus shelters—and possibly the most offensive political ad ever created.
It's a tense day for Chicago Public Schools teachers today; the Board of Education is voting on a four percent teacher pay raise. The raise is ostensibly required as part of their union contract, but vulnerable to a vote-down by the Board. Goodness knows that CPS is in a financial hole right now, so this is not just a matter of someone getting scroogey on teachers. Could a raise-blocking lead to a teachers' strike? Especially as Rahm has promised a longer school day? Yeah, it could.
West Nile flash mob! Okay, that's just me trying to compound all your fears into one baseless source of panic. But it is true that Illinois has just recorded its first case of West Nile Virus for the summer; the good news is that it was found in a mosquito, not a human. Still, you got a lidless garbage can accidentally collecting mosquito-breeding rainwater in your backyard? Tip the puppy out when you get home from work tonight, won't you?
Tired of being the only non-smart-phone-having person at the bus stop who doesn't know when the next bus will arrive? Transportation Comissioner Gabe Klein wants to help. He's hoping to put information screens in most of the city's 2,200 lighted bus shelters. The screen would offer, among other things, Bus Tracker updates. In the meantime, everyone is using the text-your-bus thinger, right? 'Cause that shit is off the hook for those of us with dumb phones. If you're not hip to this, listen and learn: At the bottom of the bus-stop sign, there's a little "text CTAbus###..." set of instructions. Follow them, and you'll never again wait 30 minutes for a bus that's not actually coming at all. You're welcome.
“Gimme yo cash, bitch, so we can shoot up the street!” Talking Points Memo brings to our attention a possibly-most-offensive-ever political ad in the special election to replace retired Representative Jane Harman (D–CA). The Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.–produced spot was released by Turn Right USA, which just filed its paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on June 13. “The paperwork indicates that Turn Right USA intends to operate as a so-called ‘super PAC,’” according to the article, “capable of raising funds in unlimited amount, but will not use those funds to directly support federal candidates or committees.”
Further proof that Samuel L. Jackson is in on the Samuel L. Jackson joke: He's recorded a six-minute audiobook version of Adam Mansbach's profane children's book for adults, Go the Fuck to Sleep. This book, released in hardcover (do you use that term for children's books? How about for childrens' books for adults?) yesterday, is already a favorite of Time Out Chicago's Books Editor, Jonathan Messinger. Yes, Jonathan does have a kid, why do you ask?
And finally, (Yes this borders on a public service announcement for my personal pet cause but what are you going to do about it?) it's Bike to Work Week. If tomorrow's predicted fog and rain don't entice you onto two wheels, plan for Friday. It'll be 75 and sunny (knock on wood). For BTWW, the Active Transportation Alliance is sponsoring free coffee stops and shower facilities scattered around Chicago for cyclists—click that link above to see if there is free coffee on your route to work. If you saw a bunch of cyclists sipping coffee and looking smug at the Polish Triangle in Wicker Park this morning, now you know what they—excuse me, we—were feeling smug about.