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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • Page 1-16

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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16 Chicago Tribune Section 1 Thursday, July 14, 2016 John P. McCormick, Editorial Page Editor Marie C. Dillon, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Marcia Lythcott, Associate Editor, Commentary R. Bruce Dold Publisher Editor-in-Chief Peter Kendall, Managing Editor Colin McMahon, Associate Editor George Papajohn, Investigations Editor Margaret Holt, Standards Editor (Ducaao litibune ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITORS Amy Carr, Features Robin Daughtridge, Photography Mark Jacob, Metro Cristi Kempf, Editing Presentation Joe Knowles, Sports Mary Ellen Podmolik, Business Founded June 10, 1847 EDITORIALS Your turn, teachers There is no longer a threat that a Springfield budget stalemate will keep Chicago Public Schools closed this fall. Lawmakers fun-neled enough money to help CPS lurch through the upcoming school year.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool told principals Wednesday that they'll still "need to do more with less." But he promised that classrooms will be protected from even deeper spending cuts for the upcoming school year. That leaves only one threat that could slam shut Chicago's school doors this fall: a teachers strike. CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union are grinding into the second year of negotiations over a new teachers contract. Educators decided not to strike at the end of the last school year, reserving the option of a classroom walkout this autumn if a deal isn't reached. We haven't heard CTU's latest demands, but the union is likely to exploit the cascade of cash from Springfield to insist that CPS open the till and fork over the cash.

CPS leaders can't shouldn't cave. Why? Because Springfield rescued CPS from dramatic classroom cuts, but the district still needs to scrounge up at least $300 million to balance its fiscal 2017 budget, due for release in August. The school system still faces huge, $700 million-ish teachers pension payments this year and annually into the future. It still has too much real estate to serve its dwindling number of students. And its credit is maxing out Years of CPS budgets heavy on high-cost borrowing and light on cuts and efficiencies have kept the system from stabilizing its finances so that it can focus on educating students, not fending off the never-ending crises.

Which brings us back to the long-running contract talks and the possible teachers strike. Let's review the details of the deal on the table last winter. In it, CPS: Offers teachers a generous 8.75 percent base salary increase over four years. Requires teachers to accept a phaseout of a 7 percent pension payment pickup that the district no longer can afford. (The district still would pick up the employer's share into the pension fund but asks employees to pay their share.) Allows teachers to continue to receive "step and lane" raises that reward those who earn more degrees or add a year of seniority.

That's worth, on average, a 1.6 percent annual pay bump, the district says. That's the deal that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis praised as a "serious offer." It's the same deal approved in April by independent fact-finder Steven Bierig, who had been summoned by law to attempt to broker a compromise. Bierig called that deal "an extremely carefully balanced document that sought to protect, and indeed did protect, the core interests of both parties." But the union's Big Bargaining Team, a group of about 40 union members that helps guide union demands, overruled Lewis, scuttled the deal and pressed its demands against a nearly insolvent district poised to collapse. Now Springfield and Gov. Bruce Rauner have done their part to rescue CPS.

They came through with tens of millions in fresh funding. Chicago taxpayers will do their part too: The budget deal allows the Board of Education to hike property taxes by about $250 million for the district. (And Mayor Rahm Emanuel will likely take the brunt of tax payer ire over that) The district expects to save $45 million from job cuts and other efficiencies in the 2017 budget year. Everyone has contributed to the CPS rescue. Except, so far, 25,000 or so CTU members, most of them educators.

Ms. Lewis, what role will you and your union choose? You can agree to pay your own way on pensions and thus help restore the system to a more even keel for the future. Or you can insist on another budget-bursting, perk-bloated contract that the district can't afford, locking in another fiscal meltdown and more threats of classroom disruptions in the future. Your move, Chicago teachers. Think of your students and how to help the system guarantee them the best education year after year.

Or think only of yourselves. AP A final D.B. Cooper moment (or maybe not) He disappeared with the money. That's why the legend of D.B. Cooper endures.

He jumped out the back of a passenger jet with $200,000 the money strapped to his body and if he didn't cackle as he leaped long, well, he should have. He deserved that moment of satisfaction as he bailed out on civilization somewhere over the northwestern U.S. in 1971. Raise your hand if a version of the D.B. Cooper moment exists in the recesses of your imagination, to be accessed, if only once and for a second, during trying times.

Nothing criminal, of course, or dangerous, or even permanent But plotting your well-funded escape and leaving them all to wonder? Could feel pretty good, if only for an hour or two. So long, suckers! The FBI has spent these 45 years searching in vain for D.B. Cooper long enough to finally acknowledge that the mystery may never be solved. As of this week, the agency announced Wednesday, it has "redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case to focus on other investigative priorities." You can't blame investigators for giving up.

Cooper would be about 90 today if alive. There are no new leads to follow. Decide for yourself what may have happened on Nov. 24, 1971: That afternoon, a man in his D.B. Cooper, sketched from witness accounts, vanished in 1971.

altitude, along flat terrain west of the Cascades. As for the stash of found $20 bills: Had Cooper been dead on arrival and the cash was mere debris, a relic? Or did Cooper shrewdly place this fraction of his haul there to confuse investigators? At most, one person has firsthand knowledge. The feds looked at more than 800 suspects over the years and eliminated them all. News accounts, T-shirts, public events and such have kept the spirit of D.B. Cooper alive.

Last year, fans of the TV series "Mad Men" noticed that Don Draper, the show's slippery protagonist, was the right age to be Cooper. He dressed, smoked and drank like Cooper, too. As the series finale approached, some viewers speculated that the New York adman would be revealed to be D.B. Cooper. Alas, the Draper character turned out to be nothing more mysterious than the creator of a famous Coke commercial.

As for D.B. Cooper, he was the real thing: not a hero, but a criminal whose crazy, daring story appealed to many people's escapist fantasies. He's allowed a place in American mythology because he didn't hurt anyone and got away. The FBI says the trail ran cold. True, but who knows? Maybe he's still out there all these years later, cackling, enjoying another D.B.

Cooper moment. FBI agents hunt in vain by the Columbia River in 1980 for signs of Cooper REID BLACKBURNAP after locating a handful of the cash. the money $5,800 with serial numbers matching the ransom loot on the banks of the Columbia River near the Oregon-Washington border. No trace of a body was found, but likely it's out there, in the river or at the bottom of a lake. Ah, but Cooper was clever: He hijacked a Boeing 727, whose rear retractable door could be opened in flight.

He ordered the pilot to fly slowly, below 10,000 feet in mid-40s wearing a dark suit and black tie settled into his seat on a Northwest Orient Airlines flight from Portland, to Seattle. He ordered a bourbon and soda and then, after takeoff, hijacked the plane, claiminghe had a bomb in his attache case. He demanded $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes. After landing in Seattle to exchange the passengers for his loot and chutes, he ordered the plane to fly to Mexico City. Some SCOTT where between Seattle and Reno he jumped.

In all likelihood, Cooper he bought his ticket as Dan Cooper, but who was he? did not survive his plot. He appeared to be an inexperienced sky diver: He made a foolhardy night jump into freezing wilderness in a business suit and loafers using a parachute that couldn't be steered. In 1980, a young boy unearthed a package of STANTIS WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has decided to take a stand against a major party's presidential candidate in a way that she and arguably no prior justice has ever done before. Critics on the left and right have criticized Gins-burg's comments as explosive, unprecedented, and unethical. They are.

That's the point. In effect, Ginsburg has nothing to lose but her good name. And that, it seems, is what she has decided she is willing to risk Sensing the menace that Trump undoubtedly poses to her country, Ginsburg abandoned judicial propriety to wrestle in the mud with a candidate she detests. It is not pretty, it is not pleasant, and it may not even be that smart. But it may be the one thing the justice can do to help prevent a President Trump.

Mark Joseph Stern, Slate On the 28th of July, 2002, Tony Blair sent a "Note on Iraq" to President George W. Bush. It began: "I will be with you, whatever." And with those six words, the British Prime Minister sealed his fate, committed his country to a disastrous war, and ultimately wrote the phrase that will endure on his political headstone. (T)hat epitaph was confirmed by the publication of the official report into Britain's involvement in Iraq. Chaired by Sir John Chilcot, a veteran civil servant, the report is utterly damning, all the more so for being written with the dry understatement in which Whitehall specializes.

The case for war in Iraq was made with a "certainty which was not justified," based in large part upon "flawed intelligence," and on assessments that were "not challenged and should have been." Overall, "the circumstances in which it was decided there was a legal basis for military action were far from satisfactory." No part of the case for toppling Saddam survives Chilcot intact. Alex Massie, The Daily Beast.

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