Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thank You for One-Half Million Page Views

Six hundred and twenty-four articles have been posted since March 11, 2011. The following 10 articles account for approximately 10 percent of the 500,000 page views, thus far. Coincidentally, nearly 50,000 page views are from countries as far away as Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Ukraine, Canada, Poland, Indonesia, and India. As always, thank you so much for reading this blog. In descending order, the top 10 posts with the most page views to date:

10. Madigan’s and Cullerton’s letter is an example of hypocrisy and irony (July 30, 2013)

Illinois Legislator:

“We write to inform you that [if and when you pass 'pension reform'] we will file a lawsuit challenging [your unconstitutional actions, for they are] purely political, [opportunistic] and an unconstitutional attempt to coerce [public employees] to comply with [your] demands. This matter is of fundamental constitutional importance, as ['pension reform'] threatens [retired and current public employees’ earned rights and benefits]. The Illinois Constitution protects [these rights and benefits. Article XIII, Section 5
of the Constitution of the State of Illinois was added in 1970 as a] safeguard to protect [public employees from a diminishment and impairment of benefits earned], to ensure the legislature could not [diminish those benefits], and to prohibit [Illinois legislators] from running roughshod over [public employees]…” Click Here.

9. Why I Left Teaching by Jordan Kohanim (August 27, 2012)

In June, I decided to quit teaching. Maybe not forever, but definitely for right now. This was not a decision I came to lightly, and I did not feel triumphant making it. To be frank, I never felt more defeated in my life. It's true that I am a statistic. Over 50 percent of teachers leave teaching in the first seven years. Most of those are in the first five years. It was year seven for me…” Click Here.

8. Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset (March 11, 2012)

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) ‘was enacted as part of the 1983 Social Security Refinancing Act, designed to shore up the financing of the Social Security Trust Fund. That Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan’ (Mass Retirees)… The Windfall Elimination Provision primarily affects [a public employee who has] earned a pension in any job where [he or she] did not pay Social Security taxes and also worked in other jobs long enough to qualify for a Social Security retirement or disability benefit (Social Security website)… The Government Pension Offset (GPO) is ‘a provision in the 1977 Social Security Amendments signed into law by President Jimmy Carter’ (Mass Retirees)… The GPO affects members who apply for Social Security spousal benefits, based upon their husband or wife’s work record under the program and fail to satisfy two exceptions…” Click Here.

7. In what other profession... by David Reber (July 20, 2012)

“…If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burn downs his house, suffers third degree burns and then goes to jail, we don’t blame the police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly the teacher’s fault. And if someone – anyone - tries to tell you otherwise, don’t listen. He must be a teacher.” Click Here.

6. HJRCA 49: Proposed Amendment 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution (October 9, 2012)

On the November Ballot, Illinois voters will be asked if they believe the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. Please vote NO on Michael Madigan's proposed Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA 49). This Constitutional Amendment would also require that any local collectively-bargained agreement be approved by a three-fifths majority if those agreements had incentives or additional compensation increases beyond salary… Click Here.

5. Illinois Senate Bill 1, the So-called “Pension Reform” Bill (or Attempt to Break a Constitutional Contract with Public Employees and Retirees) (December 2, 2013)

So here is the bill created by the liars and thieves of the current Illinois General Assembly, those who are attempting to renege on their legal and moral responsibilities: a bill that will cut and suspend the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), not only for current public employees but for retirees as well; a bill that will change the date when an employee (who is now under the age of 45 years old) can retire with full benefits; a bill that will reduce the amount of pensionable salary; a bill that will contain an inefficient, inadequate self-managed or defined-contribution savings (401k) plan option, then freeze the existing defined-benefit pension and destabilize the defined-benefit pension system; a bill that will remove all pension matters from collective bargaining (except for the employer’s share); a bill that will challenge a legal and moral contract that is guaranteed by the Illinois and United States Constitutions… Click Here.

4. Illinois Senators Who Voted “Yes” on Both SB 0001 and SB 0035... (March 21, 2013)

These are senators who apparently have no regard for a teacher’s earned constitutionally-guaranteed benefits and will most likely vote “yes” for an unconstitutional bill from the House of Representatives… Other Illinois Senators Who Voted “Yes” on the blatantly unconstitutional SB 0035 and will most likely vote “yes” for an unconstitutional bill from the House of Representatives… Click Here.

3. MEDICARE ADVANTAGE (October 14, 2013)

“…A state benefits official… urged retirees to carefully review Illinois’ new Medicare Advantage plans before making a decision about how to handle their Medicare coverage. Janice Bonneville, deputy director of benefits for the Department of Central Management Services, said many retirees will find their costs are lower and coverage better with the new insurance plans than what they are getting under their current coverage…” Click Here.

2. I'm On Your Side by Diane Ravitch (July 22, 2012)

“…I support teachers because I am angered by the attacks on a noble profession. I am enraged that people who are wealthy and powerful attack teachers. I am angry that people who owe their station in life to teachers look down on those who educated them. I am angry that so many politicians are making policies that change teachers’ lives without consulting teachers. I am angry that politicians lay off teachers at the same time that they give tax breaks to corporations. I am angry when I hear about states passing legislation to take away tenure and seniority from teachers. I am angry that uninformed people say that experience doesn’t matter and that teachers don’t need academic freedom…” Click Here.

1. Illinois Pension Reform Is Without Legal and Moral Justification (May 29, 2012)

…The significant issue of pension reform is its attack on public employees’ rights to constitutionally-guaranteed, earned compensation and the legislators’ obligation to safeguard those promises. An unconscionable constitutional challenge of those rights and earned benefits generates a serious threat to their secure sense of worth as citizens and creates the unfair possibility for an economic disadvantage for a particular group of people and their families. This can never be legally or morally justified… Click Here.