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Posts Tagged ‘Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel pays the price for Not pandering

March 5, 2015

A RUNOFF election next month to determine if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets a second term appears to be close.

His opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, is not as well known and has far less campaign money, but recent polls show him within single digits of Mr. Emanuel.

Democratic Party purists and special interest groups have reached the startling conclusion that the able and decidedly liberal incumbent is not liberal enough, and they are intent on punishing him for not toeing their line.

If there is no room in the party for a pragmatic progressive like Mr. Emanuel, who was President Obama’s first chief of staff in the White House, then the party, and by extension the country, are in trouble.

Mr. Emanuel last month became the first sitting mayor in Chicago history forced into a runoff when he failed to get 50 percent of the vote in a five-way nonpartisan election.

On April 7, he will face Mr. Garcia, a Democratic Cook County commissioner who got 34 percent of the vote to Mr. Emanuel’s 45 percent and is being backed by labor interests and the left-wing groups allied with them.

It shouldn’t escape notice that Mr. Emanuel’s willingness to take on these very same unions as he tackled some of the city’s most pressing problems landed him in political trouble in the first place. Instead of ignoring, for example, the grossly underfunded pensions of government employees that threaten to drive the city into bankruptcy, Mr. Emanuel engineered sensible reforms to the municipal and laborers pensions and is intent on fixing the police and firefighter funds.

Where Mr. Emanuel was most fearless — and where, as the New York Times recently reported, he seems to be reaping the angriest payback from riled unions — is in school reform.

He backed the closing of dozens of underused and underperforming schools, insisted on a longer school day and school year, toughened teacher evaluations and helped expand charter schools.

These reforms have produced encouraging results: graduation rates up, suspensions and expulsions down, more African American students taking Advanced Placement classes.

But success for long-neglected children appears immaterial to a teachers union focused on protecting its turf. Mr. Garcia got into the race at the urging of Chicago Teachers Union leaders, who along with their national affiliate are leading the charge against the mayor.

Mr. Emanuel is not the only Democrat who, faced with choices in governing, has opted for the general welfare over special interests and as a result incurred their wrath. New York Gov.

Andrew Cuomo and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, for example, faced similar pushback, but happily voters in their states ended up backing their sensible approaches to government finance and services.

What unites these progressive Democrats is not an allegiance to corporations, as the slurs might have you think, but a recognition that their predecessors made unaffordable deals that can’t be fully honored without harming people who lack powerful advocates: poor students, people who use city playgrounds, patients in public clinics.

We hope sufficient numbers of Chicago voters can look at that bigger picture.

Note: The father of Rahm was a terrorist Zionist who bombed buses carrying British soldiers in Palestine. File of his father was deleted in Wikipedia once Rahm was appointed Chief of Staff for Obama

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Rahm Emanuel’s Father Specialized in Bus Bombings in Palestine

Wikipedia deleted the page about Rahm Emanuel’s father in 2008. Makes you wonder.

Irgun, the army of Rahm Emanuel's father, is short for Irgun Zvai Leumi
Irgun, the army of Rahm Emanuel’s father, is short for Irgun Zvai Leumi“National Military Organization” in Hebrew, was a terrorist Zionist group that operated in Palestine, killing innocent Palestinians and British soldiers; blowing up buildings.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – Note from Publisher: In an effort to assist our government in keeping information “transparent”, we are publishing this important article by Wayne Madsen, on the father of Rahm Emanuel.

You won’t find his bio on wikipedia, or any where else easily accessed. It has been deleted.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held a top position in our country’s leadership and his example of ethics and integrity is of the highest importance.

This is not diminished regardless of his aspirations to leave the national spotlight and become the mayor of Chicago.

But, it seems, some secrets must just be harder to share. This revealing article will leave you with a better understanding of why no one wants to talk about Benjamin Emanuel. And why they should.
Bonnie King

A well-placed British source informed WMR that Rahm Emanuel’s father, Benjamin Emanuel, specialized in the terrorist bombings of buses carrying British troops and policemen during the British Mandate in Palestine.

British MI-6 files contain information on the elder Emanuel’s participation in the terrorist activities of Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Jewish terrorist organization that targeted British forces, UN officials, and Palestinian Arabs in the lead up to Israeli independence in 1948.

Emanuel’s father Benjamin was part of
the Israeli assassin team that murdered
Sweden’s Count [Folke] Bernadotte in ’48.
Bernadotte was the UN envoy in Palestine
who sought to find a solution to the UN
Partition Plan that gave Palestinian land
to Jews from “beyond the pale.”

Benjamin Emanuel, a Jew from Russia whose real name was Ezekiel Auerbach, was arrested by British police for terrorist activities in the months prior to Israeli independence.

Many of the British policemen killed by Emanuel and his Irgun colleagues between 1947 and 1948 had been transferred to Palestine upon Indian and Pakistani independence in 1947. Irgun saw the increase of British policemen from the Indian subcontinent as a major threat.

The Jewish terrorist murders of British troops and policemen resulted in massive anti-Jewish riots in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Cardiff in 1947.

In 1946, Emanuel’s Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people, including 28 British soldiers and policemen.

British intelligence also believed that Benjamin Emanuel may have been related to Vladimir Jabotinsky, a Russian Jew from Odessa who founded Irgun.

Jabotinksy, who was an admirer of Benito Mussolini and who secretly negotiated for the expatriation of Jews to Palestine with the Nazi government in Germany and Admiral Miklos Horthy’s pro-Nazi regime in Hungary, died of a heart attack in New York in 1940.

Wikipedia deleted Benjamin Emanuel’s entry in 2008*, shortly after Rahm Emanuel was designated as President Obama’s chief of staff.

Wikipedia is a favorite device for the perception management goals of Dr. Cass Sunstein, Obama’s director of the White House Office of Regulatory Affairs.

With a record of terrorist acts contained in his MI-6 files, Benjamin Emanuel was permitted by U.S. authorities to emigrate to Chicago from Israel in the 1950s, becoming a citizen. Rahm Emanuel was born in 1959.

*See the original (now deleted) Wikipedia page on Benjamin Emanuel, CLICK HERE.

(Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report. May 13, 2010)

Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s Policing Nightmare

Evaluating police crimes outside of a context that considers police culture?

A resistance to rebuilding a centuries-old justice system never meant to protect colored citizens, regarding their spaces as places to occupy and control rather than serve.

Revisiting Margaret Walker Alexander’s 1942 poem “For My People”

“For my people …

distressed and disturbed and deceived and devoured by money-hungry glory-craving leeches,

preyed on by facile force of state and fad and novelty,

false prophet and holy believer …

“walking blindly spreading joy, losing time, being lazy, sleeping when hungry,

shouting when burdened, drinking when hopeless …”

By Deborah Douglas. December 31, 2015

American race relations in 2015 seemed like one enormous déjà vu.

Residents of Chicago, a character in “For My People” and the city where Alexander once lived, certainly know a thing or two about facile forces of state in the person of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, currently in the hot seat for his actions—or lack thereof—after the grotesque police shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

It doesn’t help that police shot and killed two more residents on Saturday after the father of one victim, 19-year-old engineering student Quintonio LeGrier, had called 9-1-1 seeking help for his distraught son, who was at home wielding a baseball bat during a mental breakdown.

LeGrier’s neighbor, 55-year-old Bettie Jones, perished in the pursuit, guilty only of answering the door so police could get in to minister to LeGrier’s needs, according to his father.

The McDonald case and others like it have put Chicago and its mayor in the national spotlight just as the neo-civil rights movement in the guise of Black Lives Matter is leveraging pressure and awareness of police brutality in black communities.

If Emanuel flew under the radar of #sayhername activists who uplifted the name of Rekia Boyd, an unarmed Chicago woman shot and killed by off-duty police officer Dante Servin, he certainly isn’t now.

Protesters like those from the Black Youth Project 100, one of the leading activist groups challenging Emanuel, have been unrelenting in pressing the need for safety from police in a city where residents in poor black and brown communities need to be protected from criminals, too.

The city has seen days and weeks of protests in front of posh retail establishments, City Hall, police headquarters and even the mayor’s own house.

Let’s not forget that Chicago was in the grip of an epidemic of youth murders before Emanuel came to office and before 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida by a wannabe cop who got off.

And before another cop mistook 18-year-old Michael Brown for a monster and felt perfectly sane in saying so because he knows so many others don’t regard black men has fully human anyway.

Residents have sought answers to community-based gun violence since before the 2013 death of fresh-faced 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, which drew the attention of the White House where Emanuel’s friends, the Obamas, live.

Believe it or not, African Americans want to call the police, too.

And yet a sense of rote operation—tone-deaf, automatic and without empathy— has been infused in the response to a judge’s order to release the McDonald video and Emanuel’s actions since then, such as the Wednesday announcement of new policies to change way police use excessive force.

The mayor’s apology for McDonald’s death was punctuated by uncharacteristic and frankly incredible near-tears.

That his ill-fated listening tour was followed by a holiday vacation to Cuba paints a picture of a man perfectly comfortable working from a well-worn crisis communications handbook—not someone attuned to his constituents.

It is this refusal to address the racial component baked in to American policing that chips away at blacks’ enfranchisement as citizens.

While some, including Chicago’s own brand of “glory craving leeches who crowd into the shot every time local TV news cameras roll around, have called for Emanuel’s resignation, he’s not legally compelled to leave an office for which he was duly elected, even if he had to work for it this last time.

But just because he isn’t going anywhere doesn’t mean Emanuel shouldn’t act swiftly and offer real answers to the race and culture question no one in authority in Chicago or beyond wants to address.

While Chicago police move to inject “more humanity” into policing and train all officers to use stun guns, it shouldn’t have taken additional deaths at the hands of cops to get to this point.

It is this rote, workaday approach that treats cases like McDonald’s, Boyd’s and even Sandra Bland’s as isolated incidents that is the real problem with the American way of policing in black communities.

This ethos spends more time protecting a culture of authority and excessive force than residents—and even has some black officers believing in its efficacy. It is this refusal to address the racial component baked in to American policing that chips away at blacks’ enfranchisement as citizens.

For example, how is it that the cases of Tamir Rice in Cleveland or Brown in Ferguson or Eric Garner in New York or Freddie Gray in Baltimore could be evaluated outside of a context that considers police culture?

These tragedies have provided plenty of opportunities to address broader systemic problems such as how race and history intersect—with often-tragic results for people of color.

Yet there’s a resistance to rebuilding a centuries-old justice system never meant to protect them, regarding their spaces as places to occupy and control rather than serve.

From Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow to mounds of other research, we know the problem—and the answers. The fact is Chicago police apparently showed up to the LeGrier home more ready to shoot to kill than to help.

It’s notable that Emanuel, whose first run for Chicago mayor got a lift from the blessing of President Obama, benefited from a sort of shorthand for black and brown voters affected by violence. Many apparently felt no need to do due any further due diligence on a candidate with a lengthy record of championing causes antithetical to their plight, such as being anti-union.

If more Chicagoans spend as much time marching to the polls next year as they have downtown blocking retail traffic that, too, will be progress.

If Emanuel is comfortable allowing time to usher in forgetfulness and the same brand of complacency that kept so many voters from the polls when they had a choice, he, too, is poetic in understanding what Alexander described as “walking blindly spreading joy, losing time, being lazy, sleeping when hungry, shouting when burdened, drinking when hopeless …”

Through this bleakness, however, there are signs of progress: In Chicago, Emanuel was forced to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and the cop seen shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times in that notorious video, Jason VanDyke, has been indicted. (He pleaded not guilty Tuesday.)

As racial patterns go, the all-white Oklahoma jury that drew skepticism among those seeking justice for 13 marginalized black women sexually assaulted by former officer Daniel Holtzclaw deposited a little more faith in the justice system.

If every 18-year-old high school senior registers to vote for everything from judges and the state’s attorney to president—and actually follows through to show critical mass—people like Emanuel who keep wishing it all would go away will know better.

But then again, Alexander knew that, too:

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born.

Let a bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue forth;

let a people loving freedom come to growth.

Let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.

Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear.

Let a race of men now rise and take control.”

Deborah Douglas is a Chicago-based journalist and adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University.

 

Secret Chicago ‘black site’

“CIA or Gestapo tactics”? (actually the Gestapo inherited its tactics from the Brits)

‘You’re a hostage. It’s kidnapping’

The US Department of Justice and embattled mayor Rahm Emanuel are under mounting pressure to investigate allegations of what one politician called “CIA or Gestapo tactics” at a secretive Chicago police facility exposed by the Guardian.

Politicians and civil-rights groups across the US expressed shock upon hearing descriptions of off-the-books interrogation at Homan Square, the Chicago warehouse that multiple lawyers and one shackled-up protester likened to a US counter-terrorist black site in a Guardian investigation published this week.

As a second person came forward to the Guardian detailing her own story of being “held hostage” inside Homan Square without access to an attorney or an official public record of her detention by Chicago police, officials and activists said the allegations merited further inquiry and risked aggravating wounds over community policing and race that have reached as high as the White House.

Caught in the swirl of questions around the complex – still active on Wednesday – was majority in a contest that has seen debate over police tactics take a central role.

Emanuel’s office refused multiple requests for comment from the Guardian on Wednesday, referring a reporter to an unspecific denial from the Chicago police.

But Luis Gutiérrez, the influential Illinois congressman whose shifting support for Emanuel was expected to secure Tuesday’s election, joined a chorus of colleagues in asking for more information about Homan Square.

“I had not heard about the story until I read about it in the Guardian,” Gutiérrez said late Wednesday.

“I want to get more information, but if the allegations are true, it sounds outrageous.”

Congressman Danny Davis, a Democrat who represents the Chicago west-side neighbourhood where Homan Square is located, said he was “terribly saddened” to hear of the allegations.

Davis said he “would certainly strongly support an investigation” by the US Department of Justice, as two former senior justice department civil-rights officials urged the department on Wednesday to launch.

Earlier in the day, as a county commissioner urged the top law-enforcement investigators in the country to do the same, another reporter and photographer waited to accompany him on a visit outside the premises of Homan Square.

A man, in a jumpsuit and a ski mask, pulled out of the Homan Square parking lot in an SUV and made multiple circles before coming to a stop.

“You can take a picture,” said the man, who refused to give his name and then offered what he considered a joke: “We are all CIA, right?”

Homan Square 2

Pinterest
This man circled around a reporter and photographer for the Guardian twice while waiting for a local politician. Photograph: Chandler West for the Guardian

Outside the red-brick Homan Square compound on Wednesday, a young mother ushered her two children to the sidewalk on West Fillmore Avenue. “I am at the police station,” she yelled into her phone, over traffic noise. “Can I call you back?”

The woman held her children close, shivering against the wind as plain-clothes officers and pedestrians scurried across the busy four-way intersection.

Until this week, the Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin only knew of the warehouse next-door – like the mother – as a police facility in a struggling Chicago neighbourhood.

“I hadn’t heard of the sort of CIA or Gestapo tactics that were mentioned in the Guardian article until it was brought to my attention,” Boykin said in an interview outside Homan Square. “And we are calling for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these allegations.”

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that police in Chicago detain suspects at Homan Square without booking them, thereby preventing their relatives and lawyers from knowing their whereabouts, reminiscent in the eyes of some lawyers and civil-rights activists of a CIA black site.

While people are held at Homan Square, which lawyers described as a process that often lasted between 12 and 24 hours, several attorneys said they had been refused access to the facility, and described entrance to it as a rare occurrence. One man interviewed by the Guardian said that ahead of a Nato protest in 2012, he was handcuffed to a bar behind bench for 17 hours inside Homan Square and refused a phone call before police finally permitted him to see his attorney.

“You are just kind of held hostage,” Suter told the Guardian. “The inability to see a lawyer is a drastic departure from what we consider our constitutional rights. Not being able to have that phone call, the lack of booking, makes it so that when you’re there, you understand that no one knows where you are.”

Boykin, the county commissioner, looked up at the warehouse and said that a potential US justice department investigation would be “an extension of reform – making sure people’s basic rights are not violated but that they have opportunity to counsel”.

“It’s one thing to quell demonstration and protests,” Boykin said, “but it’s another thing to use antiquated Gestapo tactics that are more commonly found in parts of the underdeveloped world or in places like China or Russia.”

“Not in America.”

Obama’s task force on improving police relations in the wake of the shooting of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown six months ago in Ferguson, Missouri, was expected to release its first set of recommendations on community policing as soon as Monday.

The third anniversary of the killing of unarmed teenager teenager Trayvon Martin is Thursday, two days after a Department of Justice civil-rights investigation brought no charges against George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watchman who shot him dead.

‘I thought we were making progress’

Scott Waguespack, the alderman of Chicago’s 32nd ward, said he, too, was unaware of potential abuses at the Homan Square warehouse until he read the Guardian’s investigation this week.

During the 2012 Nato summit, he said, Chicago police officials told local politicians that arrestees would end up bussed to the department’s Belmont district precinct on the city’s West Side, and not Homan. “That’s where we assumed they went,” he told a third Guardian reporter.

Waguespack claimed meaningful police reform has stalled under Emanuel, citing the mayor’s failure to pass a city ordinance designed to enforce more oversight to the controversial police oversight board, as well as inconsistencies in crime statistics.

The alderman said the “best thing” that the “next mayor” of Chicago could do about the Homan Square allegations was bring in federal investigators: “Then the civil rights division of the justice department can say: ‘Here’s how we scrutinized it’.”

The Guardian sent a list of detailed questions about Homan Square to Emanuel’s office on Wednesday. A spokesman for the mayor referred a fourth reporter to a Chicago police department statement issued to multiple media outlets on Tuesday, and declined to return multiple calls seeking clarification.

“If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them,” the statement reads, without elaborating on when those meetings take place. “There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” the statement continues, without addressing specifics as to how or when those records are logged.

Amnesty International USA has called for the mayor to open his own “independent and impartial investigation” into the Homan Square facility, with the human-rights group requesting “unrestricted access” to the site.

In a letter to Emanuel, Amnesty USA’s executive director Steven Hawkins wrote: “As the mayor of Chicago, you have a responsibility under US and international law to ensure that human rights violations are not committed within the city.”

The group lobbied Emanuel during the mayoral campaign to commit to a program of reparations for victims of abuse between 1972 and 1991 at the hands Jon Burge, the notorious former Chicago police commander who was released from home custody this month.

Emanuel has not made a financial commitment to reparations but has promised a route to “closure” for the surviving victims.

“It is his responsibility as the mayor of Chicago, as a public figure to make sure that his city is complying with international law,” Amnesty USA’s senior campaigner, Jasmine Heiss, told the Guardian. “Because without a clear commitment to addressing things like police torture, it gives torturers the go ahead to continue to undermine the rule of law and ignore international guidelines.”

A representative for the Chicago branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said the group was gathering facts about Homan Square as well.

Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, the county commissioner challenging Emanuel in an April runoff vote that local political watchers warned could become a national “free-for-all”, did not respond to multiple requests for comment after a separate Guardian interview on Monday.

But his colleague, Boykin, said the mayor had an obligation to find more answers. “Fifty-plus percent of the people voted against the mayor yesterday,” Boykin said outside Homan Square. “I think the mayor has a problem.”

Davis, the US congressman whose west-side offices were located near Homan Square for 15 years, said the activities alleged at Homan Square potentially “undermined and torn up” efforts to promote police as “positive role models”.

“One of the things that for many years some of us, people like myself, have been working on [is] to try and help foster a different sense of what law enforcement ought to be among people and especially young people as they are growing up,” Davis said.

Karl Brinson, president of the Chicago Westside Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the NAACP was attempting “to find out what’s going on” at Homan Square.

“We knew the facility was there, but we didn’t know what all it encompassed exactly and what was taking place there,” he told the Guardian. “You’re never going to build trust with anybody or get any kind of community relationships going on while doing this.”

The justice department declined to comment to the Guardian on Wednesday.

(The spouse of Guardian US national security editor Spencer Ackerman works in the press office of Amnesty International USA. Ackerman was not involved with the group in any reporting for this article.)

 

The 5-year journey as Chicago Department of Public Health: Bechara Choucair, M.D.

In the U.S., we tend to believe our health is largely a result of our genes and our personal choices. But, as research shows, health is most influenced by our environment.

You could say our ZIP code has more to do with our health than our genetic code.

Though I will soon step down as commissioner of public health, it is this reality that first led me to this job — if we can improve the health of a neighborhood, we can improve the health of our residents.

posted this Dec. 30, 2014

5-Year Journey: One Blog 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel understands this. When he first took office, he directed the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to create a comprehensive public health agenda for the entire City.

That plan, Healthy Chicago, provides 200 strategies to build healthier neighborhoods, which will in turn provide our residents — especially our youth — with more opportunities to get and stay healthy.

And it’s working.

Since launching Healthy Chicago, we have reported declines in childhood obesity rates and teen smoking rates while making real progress in our fight to close breast cancer disparities. There is more work to do, but we are moving in the right direction across the board.

We know that 90% of adult smokers started when they were minors.

So Healthy Chicago includes a series of initiatives aimed at discouraging our children from ever lighting their first cigarette.

We increased the city’s cigarette tax because
research shows that increased cost is the single most effective way to prevent kids from picking up the habit
.

We supported the regulation of e-cigarettes, ensuring these products are not physically accessible to youth and championed a new ordinance restricting the sale of flavored tobacco — including menthol — within 500 feet of schools

This effort is paying off. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data showing that less than 11% of Chicago high school students reported smoking in 2013 — a historic low and five points below the current national average. The CDC also reported that Chicago’s adult smoking rates have hit a new record low of less than 18%.

While it is critical that we reduce the number of tobacco users in Chicago, addressing this challenge alone will only get us so far. It is just as important to encourage all residents to adopt healthier lifestyles across the board.

Over the last 3 years, we have worked to reduce childhood obesity.

We have expanded the number of bike lanes across the city and launched one of the nation’s premier bike sharing programs. The CDPH also launched PlayStreets to provide nearly 27,000 Chicago children and their families more opportunities to get outside and play in their own neighborhoods.

We are also working to keep our children healthier when they are in school.

We guaranteed recess for every student, strengthened nutritional standards in our cafeterias and expanded our free dental and vision programs. Last school year we provided an Action Plan for Healthy Adolescents, dental exams and cleanings for 113,000 students and distributed nearly 30,000 pairs of eyeglasses.

By helping our children today, we are creating a healthier future for tomorrow.

One of the most important ways to protect the health of our children and every Chicago resident is by protecting the air we all breathe in every neighborhood of our city.

Mayor Emanuel fought to shut down the two remaining coal power plants in the city and joined the CDPH to issue the most comprehensive set of regulations to cut down on the harmful emission of petroleum coke on the city’s southeast side.

We also launched innovative programs like FoodBorne Chicago, using Twitter to identify and respond to potential cases of food poisoning. Partnering with the University of Chicago, we have developed a new way to identify and repair homes most likely to have children exposed to lead-based paint.

We also made changes that seemed controversial at the time but are starting to pay off today.

This includes reforming the city’s mental health and primary care programs. With mental health, we consolidated our clinics ensuring they had the staff and resources to serve uninsured residents.

We also secured $14 million in funding to strengthen the overall mental health infrastructure, including $4 million for children’s services on the South and West Sides.

With primary care, we transitioned city clinics to non-profit partner organizations which have expanded services, improved the quality of care and increased patient visits by nearly 70 percent in the first year and a half — all while saving taxpayers an additional $12 million.

That is why we were honored as the 2014 Health Department of the Year by the National Association of County and City Health Officials. And that is why the CDPH will continue to move the needle forward.

Serving as Chicago’s health commissioner has been a profound honor and the highlight of my career. I am proud to say I leave behind a department that is stronger than it was when I arrived and a city that is healthier. There is no greater job satisfaction than that.

A few comeback Schools recess? Spilling-over financial transactions recesses?

Schools in the USA eliminated recess decades ago and shortened the lunch period to 20 minutes:  teachers take their lunch at the end of the day. Why should anyone be obligated to eat in such as rush? What could be the reasons behind shortening students’ time in school?

Apparently, school teachers wanted classes to be over and quickly out of the confinement in school premises; it is kind the teachers were feeling schools are prisons, and worse, living among turbulent kids who do not appreciate the hard work teachers are sacrificing for developing kids’ minds…But what about the well-being of kids, physical, emotional, and mental?

In universities, classes are no longer than 45-minute, on the assumption that people are unable to focus beyond that time constraint, as if people ever focused more than 5 minutes at a time.  And most university students select courses to fall  in 3 days or 2 days a week…However, school kids have to attend successive classes without any recesses so that teachers get off schools early on to tend to better chores…

Working parents surely prefer their kids to stay in school the longer, until they are back from standard work-days. For example, parents are willing to pay daily fines for late pick up of their kids, as long as reasonable money fines is the sole incentive…

Extending school day is never a problem to kids, as long as many recesses are available to play and have fun.  Kids love to play with kids, and returning home too early is liable to spending far more time in front of the TV or playing Nintendo-kind of games…

In Lebanon schools terminate before 3 pm, though they take two recesses: one of 15 minutes at 10:30 and lunch break of 30 minutes.   I don’t think that is satisfactory for kids.  The backpacks of children are growing heavier and I could not raise my niece backpack with both hands.  Every year, as schools open after 3 long summer months, mothers and dailies and news media remind school management of the growing back pain and deformed spine of children:  Lebanon does not enjoy a true State of citizenship to remedy to people’s complaints…

Three decades ago, we enjoyed two long recesses and we played volley ball and…I didn’t participate in collective games because I wore corrective glasses and had suffered disastrous consequences when I did.  In the few games, “my teammates” made sure I never touch the ball, and covered whatever positions I was supposed to fill…what of my totally uncoordinated movement…

As long as teachers are not paid enough to seeking another part-time job to make ends meet, what other alternative incentives could be offered teachers to accept extended school-day for the benefit of kids?

REBECCA VEVEA (rvevea@chicagonewscoop.org) wrote in  “Recess Is Making a Comeback in Schools”: “Restoring recess is part of a broader health push by parents, advocacy groups and some Chicago city officials to bring more exercise and better nutrition to both schoolchildren and preschoolers. Why not extend the push to middle school and high school students? Are they eligible to seeking part-time earning jobs?

The Department of Chicago Public Health first set preschool health standards in 2009, and some preschools and day care centers have already adopted them. Bechara Choucair, the city’s health commissioner, said that the department would begin enforcing the new requirements in November but that it had not yet determined how.

Beginning in November, the city’s Department of Public Health will require children who attend preschool or day care centers in Chicago to spend less time in front of television or computer screens — 60 minutes or less — and more time, at least an hour a day, participating in physical activity”.

At snack or meal time, milk cannot have a fat content higher than 1 percent, unless a child has written consent from a doctor. Only 100 percent juice can be served. In Chicago, 22% of children are overweight before they enter school, more than twice the national average, according to research compiled by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, a group of organizations and health advocates.

Tracy Moran, a researcher at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school focused on early childhood development and education, said: “The requirements were important for young children to develop healthy lifestyles to prevent conditions like high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. The lack of recess could certainly stunt any progress made early on.”

For example, last spring, the parent organization Raise Your Hand campaigned to have teachers vote on waivers that would move their lunch period back into the middle of the school day. The change allows students to have 45 minutes to eat lunch and go outside for recess.

(Again, why only 45 minutes? Why not at least two recesses of 45 minutes?  Why the entire problem should revolve around teachers being anxious to be over with and out of school premises?  Shouldn’t school reform include ways of making teachers happier and more welcoming of extended school-days? In what ways will teachers regard schools a fun and enjoyable environment?)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is currently offering to give up to $150,000 in discretionary money and a roughly 2% raise for teachers to any school that lengthens its day by 90 minutes. The extended time could include a 45-minute block for recess and lunch. So far, teachers at nine schools have voted to accept that offer.

 

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