[ • 20 Mar 2019 • No Comment]
November 3 2008: Barack Obama Elected President November 3, 2008: Tom Balanoff negotiates sale of Senate seat with Rod Blagojevich Blagojevich met with a labor union official who said he was in contact with Obama and had suggested his adviser Valerie Jarrett be appointed to the Senate seat. December 1, 2008: Obama meets Blagojevich in Philadelphia     December 8, 2008: Emanuel called Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris again and later told the FBI that Obama said on Dec. 7 that he...

Read the full story »
[ • 14 Mar 2019 • No Comment]
Chicago’s 14-candidate free-for-all first round of mayoral voting saw every traditional voting bloc–ethnic or political–split asunder, except for the liberal-reform northside lakefront and wards just west. That’s why independent-progressive Lori Lightfoot, an African American, came in first. She captured most of the reformers citywide, including the gay vote. (Disclosure: I was and remain an unpaid advisor to her campaign.). It’s also the first Chicago mayoral in memory...

Read the full story »
[ • 21 Feb 2019 • One Comment]
I don’t usually review books here, but every so often comes one so relevant that I must recommend it. It’s an especially timely volume detailing five decades of Chicago police murdering, torturing and wrongfully imprisoning people of color–and how a band of heroic lawyers exposed those abuses and worked through the courts to bring about some semblance of justice.     “THE TORTURE MACHINE: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago,” by Flint Taylor (Haymarket; 435 pp;...

Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 13 Feb 2019 • One Comment ]
The blackface scandal enveloping two Virginia Democrats calls to mind the fact that the most popular, imitated and revered entertainer of the first half of the 20th Century began his career in 1904 as “The blackface with the grand opera voice.”    Al Jolson’s voice may not have actually been grand-operatic, but it was distinctive and as instantly recognizable as his energetic, gesticulating delivery. He was an inspiration to many later vocalists, including Tony Bennett–obviously...


Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 13 Feb 2019 • No Comment ]
Consider Illinois marijuana producers’ campaign for government aid. As my colleague Brigid Sweeney reported in this week’s issue of Crain’s, companies holding 21 licenses to produce medicinal marijuana want legislation legalizing recreational use to include a moratorium on new state licenses for commercial-scale production. In other words, they want a government-mandated oligopoly on a recreational-use market worth an estimated $1.6 billion annually. The moratorium likely would last a year...


Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 12 Feb 2019 • No Comment ]
A bill introduced in Springfield last week takes the concept of opening up Illinois to rent control to a new level, laying out not only repeal of the state’s ban but the establishment of rent control boards statewide, tax incentives for landlords to improve rental property and other measures. “We tried to make something that would work for everyone including landlords, not only the renters,” said Illinois State Rep. Mary Flowers (31st), who introduced HB 2192 on Feb. 7. “People...


Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 11 Feb 2019 • No Comment ]
Whatever happened to the recession calls? Seems like just a few weeks ago that the correction in the stock market as well as the partial government shutdown had convinced many analysts and investors the US was about to enter a recession. Fortunately, the data haven’t cooperated. Ten days ago we got the employment report for January, which showed a payroll increase of 304,000 and the highest share of adults working since 2008. Yes, February has seen both initial and continuing unemployment claims...


Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 7 Feb 2019 • No Comment ]
Donald Trump tells us he will soon declare a national emergency to get the money to pay for his wall that Mexico was going to pay for. It is a national emergency, he says, because we are being “invaded” by hordes of undesirables including gang-bangers, rapists, terrorists, drug dealers and white-slavers soon to over-run our nation. Oddly enough, his national intelligence community–17 agencies led by the Director of National Intelligence  and the heads of the FBI and CIA–failed...


Read the full story »

Featured, Headline »

[ • 29 Jan 2019 • 2 Comments ]
Nancy Pelosi returned to the highest national office ever held by a woman and proved herself again the equal or better of any predecessor, wielding all its inherent powers with consummate skill.   Her superior political skills helped defeat Donald Trump in his hostage-taking effort to get that wall Mexico was supposed to pay for. She is the indispensible Democrat–and her handful of critics within the party ought to know it by now.   In her first term she was responsible for passing all...


Read the full story »