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[3 May 2016 | No Comment | ]

The last time I saw Paris was the spring of 2014. I didn’t get there in 2015–the first year I missed in more than two decades. My absence, however, had nothing to do with the Charlie Hebdo and subsequent terrorist attacks. I returned  two weeks ago  mainly because I missed the city’s beauty, its art and food–I’ve been in love with them since 1954–but  also  to see what imprint  the terrorist attacks had left on the city and its people.

Tourism dropped significantly in 2015, but the word is it’s on …

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[26 Apr 2016 | No Comment | ]

PARIS–Enjoying a respite here before the final run of primaries and caucuses confirm Hillary Clinton as most likely Democratic nominee and Donald Trump as the GOP choice–though it is still possible he will not gather enough votes to make it on the first ballot. If he fails, all goes up for grabs and the convention gets chaotic–anything from riots to walkouts.
But no matter which party you favor or which candidate within that party, you have to admit that the process of selecting a nominee for what most of us think …

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[19 Apr 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

As a New York Times editorial put it Friday, “No one even passingly familiar with the history of the Chicago Police Department can claim to be surprised by a new report showing that the department is plagued by systemic racism and operates with utter disregard for the lives of black citizens whom it batters, maims and kills.”

 
Anyone surprised? We’ve been reading about it for decades, long before Laquan McDonald, long before Fred Hampton, long before I even heard the term “police brutality” when I was a kid. But it took …

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[12 Apr 2016 | One Comment | ]

There is no question in my mind that the Democratic Establishment is as afraid of a Bernie Sanders nomination as the GOP establishment fears Donald Trump’s. (Yes, there is a Democratic Establishment–populated with 700 unelected superdelegates plus Washington lawyers, lobbyists and consultants.) Republican establishmentarians rightly think Trump will be slaughtered in November, taking senators and congresspersons with him. Democrats fear Sanders is this century’s George McGovern.

The GOP’s fight against Trump is openly discussed and well financed. The Democratic drive against Sanders is just getting under way, though more subtly at …

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[5 Apr 2016 | One Comment | ]

The rhetoric of the two Republican front-runners, both of whom are either profoundly ignorant of today’s warfare–or profoundly cynical–has reached a dangerous level.
Let’s begin with Donald Trump, who is threatening nuclear war–not just in the fight against the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL) but also in Europe. Even during the hottest days of the Cold War, no American president or Soviet leader threatened such, knowing that each side held weaponry that could spell an end to the world as we know it. We called it MAD–mutually assured destruction–and wisely refrained …

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[28 Mar 2016 | No Comment | ]

Republicans must be cheering while Democratic jaws are dropping.
Before explaining why, let me pose a  question:
Suppose you run a nonpartisan, social-issue organization. Like most such groups you keep score on how senators and congresspeople vote on your bills.
Let’s say in a forthcoming election, Legislator A gets a score of 100 percent in the most recent session. The opponent, Legislator B gets a respectable 78 percent. in a  previous session B scored a miserable 39 percent.
Whom would you endorse?
Most people would answer “Legislator A, of course.”
Most people, that is, except the …

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[14 Mar 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

I have a new personal hero, though he is considered a criminal–arrested on a Chicago elevated train  and must put up $10,000 in bail money pending his trial. But then, John Brown was considered a criminal, too.
Note: I am taking a detour off the political trail today as a breather between the tumultuous canceling of Donald Trump’s Chicago rally and tomorrow’s potentially defining primaries–including important downballot races in Illinois. (I will observe, however, that Trump lied about canceling on advice from “law enforcement.” Chicago police officials told both MSNBC and …

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[7 Mar 2016 | No Comment | ]

When presidential drop-out Gov. Chris Christie threw his considerable weight to Donald Trump, among the first questions was “Is he going to be the vice presidential pick?” If so it would double down on the “Double Bubba” team of Bill Clinton and Al Gore to become the “Double Bully” terminal team of inane insulters. Highly unlikely because Trump knows he needs some vice-presidential gravitas for ballast in a general election campaign.
Furthermore, some of Christie’s top appointees may be coming to trial in the course of the campaign. Even though he …

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[29 Feb 2016 | 3 Comments | ]

This is being posted on the eve of Super Tuesday, when 11 states have party primaries or caucuses. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are each favored to win 7 or 8 states in their respective party elections, which will tighten their grips on nomination.
Come March 15 another big batch of states–including Illinois–will vote. Barring extraordinary surprises, nominations likely will be then set in stone.
Early voting has begun in  Illinois, so I’ll remind first-time voters or those who forgot, that you cast your presidential vote two ways–one of which doesn’t really …

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[22 Feb 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

Do many Republicans, deep down, recognize that the Iraq War was catastrophic and George W. Bush might have done more to prevent 9/11? Do many Catholics, along with Evangelicals, disagree with a popular pope on his entering an American election and supporting immigration? Will Hillary Clinton’s lock on the black vote make Bernie Sanders an impossible dream? Is the Republican senate leadership maniacally self-destructive?

Those are some of the questions partially answered during a tumultuous week that began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and ended with a potentially defining …