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Possible teacher strike casts shadow over approaching school year

Even though school is in session for some Chicago Public Schools and a tentative deal between the city and the teachers union was reached earlier this summer, a strike still looms.

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A student reflects the general mood between teachers and the city. (AP/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

A student watches a Chicago Teachers Union informational picket outside Willa Cather Elementary School, calling attention to ongoing contract talks with the Board of Education on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 in Chicago. The union says it is still trying to reach an agreement on wages, health benefits, and job security. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

Sitthixay Ditthavong/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lead story: Even though school is in session for some Chicago Public Schools and a tentative deal between the city and the teachers union was reached earlier this summer, a strike still looms: Chicago Teachers Union members picketed six schools yesterday and pickets will continue throughout the week. The pickets came after a 30-day “cooling off” period, implemented after July’s tentative agreement between the union and the city, expired over the weekend. A strike could be announced at a special delegate session on Wednesday (though the CTU doesn’t need such a vote to declare a strike). Due to a ten-day lead time required between the announcement of the strike and the beginning of the strike, the CTU would have to announce a strike by Thursday if they wanted to start before school begins Tuesday, September 4 for the remaining two-thirds of CPS students. It seems that despite the previous agreement and progress in contract talks, the CTU is fully preparing to strike; if it turns out to be a bluff, it’s a fully-armed one at that.

Also: The media and the public brought hellfire and fury down on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP’s senate candidate in that state. It’s no surprise that by the afternoon Akin tried to backpedal so fast you thought he had a flux capacitor. But his dumbassery damage was done: Even members of his own party are calling on him to drop out of the race. RNC Chair Reince Priebus even said that Akin had best stay away from next week’s convention in Tampa. A deadline today that would make a candidate switch easier is at 6 p.m.; still, Akin is refusing to drop out, ensuring that his campaign will likely go down in flames.

Look, I know politics is an insane business, but when even members of the Tea Party are embarrassed and want you to drop out, you done goofed up, son. Lest I leave this conversation without eviscerating Akin some more, I’d be remiss not to point out The Onion doing what they do oh so brilliantly.

And then: It’s been a year of crazy weather already so of course we saw a bunch of waterspouts over Lake Michigan yesterday. The city was never really in danger of tornados and waterspouts aren’t uncommon (besides being pretty weak to begin with) so it looked more apocalyptic than it really was. The Spielberg version of War Of The Worlds was on TV this weekend and lightning triggered the alien attacks on our world then so if these waterspouts result in some kind of extra-terrestrial war, well, I warned you.

RIP: Comedienne and actress Phyllis Diller died Monday at the age of 95. As usual, The A.V. Club memorializes her better than I ever could. And memorials for director Tony Scott continue to roll in as the shock of his apparent suicide sinks in.

Elsewhere: Rosie O’Donnell is recovering from a heart attack … Remember years ago when Augusta National faced some heat over no female members? Well, that’s no longer a problem as the club has now admitted two, including Condoleezza Rice … Our own DeRo writes about the impact of lyrics in the wake of the Pussy Riot travesty … The RNC convention stage was unveiled and it gives the Olympic Opening Ceremonies a run for its money … Speaking of the Olympics, the British Royal corgis are taking their Olympic blues out on other dogs … Our cool interactive graph shows you ridership numbers for the Red Line over the past ten years, just in time for the big South Side shut down of 2013!

Looking ahead: The Sun-Times wonders if area men-only clubs will soon follow Augusta National’s lead … If things didn’t look bleak before for Groupon, they do now, as investors bail on the company … Edwards County is shunning the state’s concealed weapon ban … Beware tainted cantaloupes … The city is finally, slowly moving towards bus rapid transitChicago Magazine revisits the unsolved murder of a suburban police officer … The violent weekend tied this year’s record for killings in a single day on Saturday and pushed this month’s murder count past last August’s tally already ... Chicago Media Baron™ Robert Feder has a great write-up about the triumphs and struggles of CBS 2’s mega-pairing of Kurtis & Jacobson, two years later.

Sports: Great, Stan Van Gundy runs his mouth and probably triggers the Great Derrick Rose Panic … Ozzie could be returning to the South Side via interleague play next year … A great feature for local horse racing fans … The Chris Rusin Era begins, Cubs fans! We have hope! Again! … There are some pro teams in the area that win titles: the Chicago Bandits begin their title defense when the National Pro Fastpitch softball tournament starts on Thursday in Rosemont … Deadspin’s annual NFL preview with a, well, different perspective, tackled the Bears yesterday.

Finally: I am blessed with a younger sibling (hi, Cynthia!) and back in the day, we tortured each other. Which makes me love this prank that much more.

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