Archive for May, 2009

Question: Where does the union bug go when …

by , posted on Sunday, May 24th, 2009 at 12:47 am

… you get your house painted?

Answer: Nowhere. Not when you hire a non-union painter to do the job.

So here’s the deal. A few days ago somebody slipped some photos under the cyber-door here at The Progressive Fox. Pics of a lovely home in Aurora getting spruced up with a little fresh paint. And it turns out that’s Vernon and Linda Chapa LaVia’s home.



Dick Cheney

by , posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 1:47 pm

is irrelevant.


A Kennedy in Obama’s Senate Seat?

by , posted on Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 12:29 am

That’s what CNN’s Political Ticker is saying:

Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is taking steps to run for Senate and could announce his candidacy as early as next week, a source close to the Kennedy family told CNN Wednesday…

A spokeswoman for Chris Kennedy, an Illinois businessman, would not go as far as to say he is in the race, but acknowledged that he is “seriously considering” a Senate bid…

But a second source, an Illinois Democrat also speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN that Kennedy’s political allies are telling state Democrats that he will indeed seek the Democratic nomination for the seat once held by President Obama.

Not that I want to see Burris keep it, but I’m completely fed up with the political dynasty thing, whichever side of the aisle is festering our ill-disguised trend toward annointing royalty, it always strikes me as disturbing, as it seems unlikely it will get us any closer to real representation of real people.


Drive-Through Care

by , posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 10:51 am

I received an e-mail this morning from a friend who is a breast-cancer survivor and a person I admire beyond my ability to describe. She requested that I sign a petition to help stop drive-through mastectomy.

The text of the e-mail is copied below – please follow the link and sign the petition. This sort of “cost control” is inhumane – and a prime example of why we – the wealthiest nation on earth – rank 37th in health care, well after much poorer nations like Morocco, Costa Rica, and Columbia and certainly after every single other industrialized nation. And it isn’t me who says so – it’s WHO.




by , posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 7:09 am

Take that, silly creationist persons.


100 Days Without Rod Blagojevich

by , posted on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

100 Days of Reform

Because Rod Blagojevich is still looking for a post-political TV gig, the title of this blog post should probably be 100 days of reform and leadership under Governor Pat Quinn. 

Following the attempted sale of Barack Obama’s Senate seat and the subsequent removal of pay-to-play Rod, Illinois voters have had a taste of democracy under Pat Quinn.  You all weighed in on Blagojevich and you deserve an opportunity to weigh in on the Quinn reform agenda.

We have had more progress under Governor Pat Quinn than we did under both of his predecessors who are, or will be in jail.  We will use the space below to highlight Quinn’s 108 days of success, make a case for keeping Governor Pat Quinn and encourage Speaker Madigan to get behind Quinn’s reform agenda.



A Tale of Two Health Care Systems

by , posted on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

First, an apology – I’ve been incredibly busy since this blog launched, mostly living as a road warrior for work, but also providing necessary grandmotherly support for the birth of not one, but two, new grandchildren. Jane Danger, who arrived in this world at about the same time this blog did, and Joseph (aka “Joe-normous”) who appeared exactly one month later. So since January 1 or so, if I haven’t been hanging out helping their Moms – my daughters – I’ve been on the road in Michigan, Iowa, Oregon, wherever, for work. All of which means I’ve spent about a grand total of ten minutes a day on-line since January 1 – hardly the most efficient way to launch a new blog – so my apologies to those who’ve been checking in and finding me absent.

Which leads me to my “followers,” or in this case my Twitter followers. There aren’t really that many. I think I’ve spent about ten minutes total on Twitter in my life, and don’t think I’ve even uttered a tweet yet, but there are a few followers – mostly people I know. One I picked up very recently particularly caught my attention, considering the juxtaposition between said follower’s occupation and what was going on in my real life at the time.

So follow me, if you dare (and have a fair piece of time to spend – this will be loooonnnng) into the Tale of Two Health Care Systems.



Another Blow to Dennis Hastert’s Highway

by , posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 9:40 am

Last night, May 11, 2009, Alderman Bob Hausler was sworn in as the new Mayor of Plano.

It was an exciting night for progressives, union members and environmentalists — Bob Hausler is all of the above. The retired UAW Local 145 member

is well known for taking his retirement in stride by enjoying the outdoors at Silver Springs State Park with a fishing rod in his hands. He successfully ran for Alderman in 2007 and became the popular voice of the people almost instantaneously. A year into his first term as Alderman, Bob became the voice of opposition to a proposed waste transfer station in Plano and we all knew that Plano would soon have a new Mayor.

Bob fought off two strong opponents with a steady, consistent door-to-door campaign and became the Mayor-elect on April 7th. Much more could be written about the shy, grassroots Mayor of Plano and the many activists who helped get him into the winners circle, but I want to get to the good stuff.



Obama’s First Hundred Days: A Critical Assessment From the Left

by , posted on Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Cross-posted from ZNet, where it was published on May 1, 2009.

A shortened version of this speech was given at a public forum sponsored by AWARE, the local Anti War Anti Racism Effort in Urbana, Illinois on the evening of April 30, 2009 at the Urbana City Council Chambers.

Thank you for inviting me to speak on the new administration’s first hundred days of centrist rule. Along with a number of other left writers and speakers over the last two years including Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberly, Pam Martens, Michael Hudson, John Pilger, Chris Hedges,

John R. MacArthur, Ken Silverstein, Juan Santos, Matt Gonzales, Alexander Cockburn, Ralph Nader, Anthony Arnove, Lance Selfa, Joshua Frank, and Noam Chomsky, I have been living proof that the FOX News crowd is wrong when it says that all of “the left” is deeply and hopelessly in love with His Holiness the Dali Obama. It is true, I think, that much of what passes for a left in the U.S. has been unduly captive to the Obama phenomenon but many of us on the actual, so-called “hard left” have never fallen for the myth of Obama as some sort of progressive Mr. Smith-Goes-to-Washington character who is willing and ready to take on the corporate and military power elite. We’ve tended to see him rather as what MacArthur, the president of Harper’s Magazine, calls “a moderate with far too much respect for the global financial class.”

Before I get into specifics I want to make six quick caveats or qualifications that might provide some useful context for my remarks. The first caveat as is that for all my harsh judgments, I have never doubted that what Barack Obama has been doing is highly intelligent from the perspective of seeking glory and advancement within the narrow institutional and ideological framework of the dominant U.S. political system and culture. Obama and his team are masterful political actors and most of what I disapprove of in their behavior is heavily incentivized by that system and culture.

Second, my critique of the Obama administration is informed by a deeper and broader critique of the Democratic Party and its longstanding role of defining and policing the constricted leftmost parameters of acceptable political debate in the U.S. For the last century it has been the Democratic Party’s distinctive assignment to play what the Marxist author Lance Selfa calls “the role of shock absorber, trying to head off and co-opt restive [and potentially radical] segments of the electorate” by posing as “the party of the people.” If you buy my book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics, you’ll see that I find Obama’s political career richly consistent with Selfa’s analysis and with the presidencies of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton.



Some of My Best Friends: A Conversation with Pansy Division’s Jon Ginoli

by , posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 9:48 am

Before Peoria-native Jon Ginoli was even out of his twenties he had done seemingly everything there was to do in music. Having moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend the University of Illinois, he had written for a series of music magazines and fanzines,

been both a radio and club dj, worked in a campus record store, and brought some of the most legendary indie rock bands of the day to town as a concert promoter.

He also played in a band of his own, The Outnumbered, a mainstay of the local music scene in the mid-1980s that released three albums and toured widely, and was remembered by one writer who knew them well as “perhaps the world’s only all-male feminist band, performing anti-misogynist, anti-capitalist, anti-war rants at the height of the Reagan era.”

He is best known, however, for his next band, the path-breaking gay rock band Pansy Division, which he founded in 1991 after moving to San Francisco. Eighteen years later Pansy Division is still around, still recording new material and performing live when most veterans of the earliest days of the gay rock scene have long since disappeared. In March Jon’s memoir, Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division – “The Inside Story of the First Openly Gay Pop-Punk Band” – was published by Cleis Press. Also, a documentary about the band, Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band, has been screened at several gay film festivals this past year and has just been released on DVD by Alternative Tentacles Records. And, to top it all off, Pansy Division has just released a new CD, That’s So Gay, also on Alternative Tentacles.

I recently caught up with Jon on his book tour for Deflowered and we sat down one evening to talk about, what else, life in Pansy Division. (More on whether it’s a “pop-punk” or “rock” band or both, among other things, after the jump.)