Dangerous words: As protestors target the private homes of Judges, Mayor Lightfoot tweets a ‘Call to Arms’

Deuteronomy 27:25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Issues LGBTQ ‘Call to Arms’ over Supreme Court Leak
  • Lori Lightfoot tweeted: “To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next,” she tweeted on Monday. “This moment has to be a call to arms.”
  • “We will not surrender our rights without a fight—a fight to victory!” she added.
  • Protesters have since targeted the personal homes of conservative justices in the hopes of persuading them to change their alleged vote.
  • Former Attorney General William Barr recently said. “There is time and place for protests, and the federal statute makes it clear if you go to the house of a judge, the residence of a judge to influence the judge in his decisions and demonstrate that that’s a federal crime.”

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Chicago teachers threaten to stop working over district’s reopening plan

By Brendan O’Brien

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago teachers threatened to stop working altogether if the district retaliates against any of them who failed to report to school buildings on Wednesday to prepare to resume in-person learning for tens of thousands of students next week.

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which represents 25,000 public school educators, has been locked in negotiations with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for months over a plan to gradually reopen schools for the system’s 355,000 students. Teachers are demanding stronger safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus inside the classroom.

The labor dispute came to a head on Sunday when the rank and file union membership voted 71% in favor of a resolution not to return to the classroom and to remain teaching remotely until a stronger health and safety agreement is reached.

Despite the vote, the district ordered some 10,000 teachers to report to work on Wednesday, instead of Monday as initially planned. Some 70,000 elementary and middle school students who opted to take classes both in-person and online are due to return at the beginning of next week.

“Of course we take your health and safety incredibly seriously,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said to teachers during a news conference on Tuesday night. “But you need to work with us, you need to talk to your leadership, because we can’t get there unless we get there together.”

As of early Wednesday afternoon, it was unclear how many teachers reported for work at their schools. The district and union were not immediately available for comment.

In a message to teachers on Tuesday night, the union said that if the district takes action against teachers who did not report, members will stop working altogether on Thursday and picket, the Chicago Tribune reported. CTU President Jesse Sharkey said that if the district took disciplinary action, union delegates would decide whether to set a strike date.

The district also canceled in-person classes on Wednesday for 6,500 pre-kindergarten and special education students who were given the option to take classes in their school as part of the CPS’s reopening plan. Those students began in-person classes on Jan. 11.

The district has yet to announce when high school students will have the option to return to school buildings.

Similar labor battles have unfolded across the country, pitting teacher unions against district officials over conditions for reopening, almost a year after the virus shut down schools for 50 million students nationwide.

The possible work action in Chicago comes 15 months after the city’s teachers staged an 11-day strike over overcrowded classrooms, support staff levels and pay.

In the current dispute, the union contends that classrooms lack proper ventilation and that the district has failed to provide cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. The district says ventilation meets industry standards for classroom learning and that it would provide schools with adequate PPE.

The union has urged school and city officials to move quickly to vaccinate teachers. Inoculations are expected to begin in mid-February.

The union also wants the district to make accommodations for teachers who have family members who have medical conditions. It also wants the CPS to spell out metrics to determine when to open and close schools, according to the union.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Matthew Lewis)

Chicago mayor loosens COVID-related capacity restrictions for businesses including bars, restaurants

(Reuters) – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday loosened COVID-19-related capacity restrictions for businesses such as bars, restaurants and health clubs, a move that will go into effect later this week.

The new guidelines, which will take effect on Thursday, will increase indoor capacity to 40% for certain businesses, reopen bars for indoor service and increase maximum group sizes for fitness classes and after-school programming, a statement from the mayor’s office said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

U.S. cities sue ATF over untraceable ‘ghost guns’

By Brad Brooks

(Reuters) – Chicago and three other cities on Wednesday sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), demanding it correct how it interprets what is a firearm and halt the sale of untraceable “ghost gun” kits increasingly used in crimes.

The lawsuit is the first of its kind filed against the ATF, according to lawyers for the cities of Chicago, San Jose, Columbia, South Carolina, and Syracuse, New York. It was filed in the Southern District of New York state.

So-called “ghost gun” or “80% gun” kits are self-assembled from parts purchased online or at gun shows. The parts that are assembled are not classified as a firearm by the ATF. For that reason they can be legally sold with no background checks and without serial numbers to identify the finished product.

The lawsuit argues the ATF and the Department of Justice “refuse to apply the clear terms of the Gun Control Act” which the suit says defines regulated firearms as not only working weapons “but also their core building blocks – frames for pistols, and receivers for long guns.”

The ATF says on its website that receivers in which the fire-control cavities are solid “have not reached the ‘stage of manufacture’ which would result in the classification of a firearm.”

The ATF said in an emailed statement that its “regulatory and enforcement functions are focused and clearly defined by laws.” The bureau emphasized that it investigates criminal possession and other criminal use of privately made firearms.

Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group that is a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with the cities, argues that until about 2006, the ATF did require unfinished components that clearly were going to be used to make guns to carry a serial number and anyone buying them undergo a background check.

“The ATF used to interpret the Gun Control Act the right way – they would look at how quickly a frame or receiver could be converted into an operable weapon,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for the litigation arm of Everytown. “If it was pretty quickly, they would say ‘yeah, that’s a firearm.'”


It’s unknown how many ghost guns are in circulation, but law enforcement agencies are unanimous in saying numbers are undeniably growing. Police in Washington D.C. last year recovered over 100 ghost guns – a 342% increase over 2018. They are already on pace this year to double the number found.

The ATF has said upward of 30% of the illegal weapons it has confiscated in some areas of California are ghost guns.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whose city has been beset by gun violence, demanded the ATF close the ghost gun loophole and regulate the sale of gun parts that are marketed to easily be used to build guns.

“Individuals with dangerous histories shouldn’t be able to order lethal weapons on the internet with a few quick clicks,” Lightfoot said.

But Rick Vasquez, a Virginia-based firearms consultant and former ATF technical expert who evaluated guns and gun products to help the bureau determine if they were legal, said anyone wanting to address the proliferation of kit guns should pass new laws in Congress.

The continued rapid advancement of tools and technology widely available to the public meant it was getting to the point where even rudimentary “chunks of metal” can be turned into firearms, Vasquez said.

“How do you regulate that? The ATF can’t do it. This situation is uncontrollable because of technology, and I’m not sure what anyone can do about it.”

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)