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Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis chats about the future on Aug. 7. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Karen Lewis’ union members can’t keep facts straight

The desk set . . .

Attention! Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, a former chemistry teacher, needs an eraser.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (right) and his former vice presidential running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrive Thursday night at the Union League Club in Chicago, where Romney interviewed Ryan’s about his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.” Ryan is on tour to promote the book as he weighs a presidential campaign of his own. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Romney, Ryan together again to talk policy — and critique Obama

Onetime Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his former running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, reunited in Chicago on Thursday night in a rare joint appearance. The event, dubbed a Romney-moderated interview with Ryan about his new book, “The Way Forward, Renewing the American Idea,” at the Union League Club of Chicago was instead a shared space for both men to voice their opinions — mostly criticism of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Off Message: Rahm and the Unions

Natash Korecki is joined by Fran Spielman, Mark Brown and Kristen Crowell to discuss Rahm Emanuel's relationship with unions, both the ones that support him and the ones that oppose him.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis talks about her childhood, her father, the minimum wage, potholes and other topics Thursday night before nearly 100 people who packed into chicken restaurant Thursday night in the Little Village neighborhood. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Karen Lewis says dad seeded her populist platform

Sounding like a budding superhero trying to sell her origin story, possible mayoral candidate Karen Lewis delved into her formative years Thursday night before nearly 100 people who had packed into a chicken restaurant in the Little Village neighborhood. On Saturdays, her father would take her for rides in his raggedy old Plymouth, which she called the “Flintstone car.” She joked that if you pulled up the floor mats, you could see the pavement. At age 7, on of those rides, her dad told her, “You get an education, you maintain your dignity and then you fight like hell to never let anyone take that away from you.”


Three Ways ACA is affecting Business

More often than not, when healthcare reform is brought up, the impact and the interests of businesses are lumped together, as if each faces with the same challenges as the next.

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza Border on Thursday shows smoke rising from buildings in the Gaza Strip after a rocket fired from Gaza landed short of its target. | Getty Images

Israel seeks only to survive

It was Friday night, the beginning of the Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath), and our host family had graciously invited us to join them for dinner. Before the meal, the parents proudly welcomed their 20-year-old son, who was back from the Gaza front for the weekend. This meal was part of a whirlwind trip to Israel, sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. So what did the group and I learn? First, we saw the immense gratitude Israel had for the friendship between our two nations.

Karen Lewis (right), president of the Chicago Teachers Union, talks with journalist Walter Jacobson on Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Pro-Karen Lewis super PAC on the drawing board

With a robust campaign fund at $8 million and an outside super PAC already weighing in at $1 million, Mayor Rahm Emanuel certainly doesn’t have money problems. But if Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis decides to run against Emanuel, she won’t exactly be scraping bottom. Political insiders tell Early & Often there’s an effort underway exploring creation of a super PAC to counter Emanuel — and benefit a Lewis candidacy.  


IDOT cuts jobs at center of Quinn hiring dispute

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, stung by a federal lawsuit alleging illegal hiring amid a tough re-election campaign, announced Thursday it will eliminate 58 transportation agency jobs at the center of the dispute.

John and Diane Foley, parents of James Foley, talk to reporters Wednesday outside their home in Rochester, N.H. (AP File Photo/Jim Cole)

Haters here don’t see similarity to Islamic State

A few weeks after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, our reeling nation was paid a surprise visit. “What kind of people do they think we are?” Winston Churchill said to a joint session of Congress, of our attackers. “Is it possible that they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them?” Of all the stirring phrases that Churchill uttered, that one question, for me, echoes most over the years: It rang out on 9/11, and came to mind again this week when the brutal Islamic State posted a video of a black-clad terrorist standing beside the kneeling figure of James Foley, an American journalist.

Maria Bucio, director of La Casa, in Pilsen in 2012 . File Photo. | John H. White~Sun-Times

College dorm in Pilsen says ‘hola’

Polo Briones got a reasonably priced alternative to campus housing when the senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago moved to La Casa, a college dormitory in Pilsen for students attending colleges all over the city. Two years ago I wrote about the opening of La Casa, the first dormitory of its kind in the U.S., designed to house 100 full-time college students spread throughout the city. I stopped by again this week for an update.

Who is benefiting from the Lawndale Diabetes Project?

Gerry Allen, a resident of North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side, suffered for years with unmanaged diabetes. But, thanks to an expanded community health initiative launched in April 2012 between a local hospital  and an insurance provider, he did something he thought he’d never do.

50,000 drivers need to claim money from idle I-Pass accounts

Within the next several weeks, 50,000 motorists with a total of $2.2 million in idle I-Pass accounts will get letters telling them to contact the Illinois Tollway by Oct. 1, or else their I-Pass account balances will be transferred to the state’s unclaimed property program, officials warned Thursday.