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[14 Apr 2015 | No Comment | ]

I was shocked–shocked–to learn Sunday that Hillary Clinton decided to run for president. Who could have imagined?
OK– there were rumors to that effect and I may even have opined on some.
The very first column I wrote for the Chicago Daily Observer, back in mid-2007, she was running for president against a field of senators including an African American guy with a funny name.

I was not exactly wild about the former first lady turned senator from New York because she voted to get us into the Iraq war and refused to …

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[6 Apr 2015 | One Comment | ]

There is more than a bit of irony to the fact that the week-long run-up to two major religious holidays this past weekend, Easter and Passover, should be marked by debates about whether “freedom of religion ” legislation in Indiana and Arkansas is based on genuine belief or an excuse to discriminate.
As a secular or “cultural” Jew I admit I spend more time admiring great Christian churches in Europe, Buddhist temples is Southeast Asia and an occasional Islamic mosque than I do attending services in the synagogues of my ancestral …

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[24 Mar 2015 | One Comment | ]

I have long believed, and written several times, that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want and never wanted a Palestinian state–the basis of the so-call two-state solution for peace in what many call the Holy Land–though until the eve of the recent Israeli election, he always piously said he supported the idea. (Neither, to my reckoning does Hamas, so I have no illusions about Netanyahu being the sole obstacle.)

Then remarkably, apparently faltering in the polls, barely a day before the election he came straight out and said there …

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[17 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]

The New York Post, always conservative, always sensational, published a front-page story this weekend accusing Barack Obama’s muse-in-chief Valerie Jarrett of leaking the story of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system while secretary of state–along with other supposedly White House-generated nastiness about Clinton.

The e-mail story itself has legs and will haunt Clinton until she comes fully clean, which she is reluctant to do. I doubt if it can prevent her from winning the Democratic nomination, but has the potential of damaging her in the general election, depending on …

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[9 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]

The Richard M. Daley regime, by way of helping itself politically, unwittingly did the Rahm Emanuel campaign a favor by establishing a megaphone for pre-existing tensions between African Americans and Latinos. For good measure the Emanuel campaign is trying to reinvoke the old Black-Jewish civil rights alliance, which has fractured through the years. Good old Chicago politics, racial convolutions within religious  conundrums.
The central fact is that Emanuel is in an historic runoff against a Mexican-American in an election where the African American vote plays a key role. Four years ago, …

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[2 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]

Other than a bit of envy of its football and baseball teams, the image Detroit summons up in most Chicagoans is fear. Bankrupt, depopulated, no future. Can we be headed in the same direction?
Of course not. Oh, sure–we forced a couple of hundred thousand  African Americans out of town, but we’re still pretty well populated. Besides– Detroit  was a single-industry town, dependent on the automotive business, which moved farther out of town and lost market share to the Japanese and Germans (who we thought lost a war to us).

Chicago, on …

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[23 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]

Last week ISIS was making gains in Libya, but said to be stalled elsewhere. President Obama hosted an international seminar on how to combat IS (or, his preferred acronym, ISIL) ideologically, continuing the discussion about whether we were fighting “violent extremism” or “Islamic extremism/violence/terrorism.” (He reiterated his position that we are not at war with Islam, but with a terrorist organization that has hijacked the name of Islam.)

I dealt with the latter subject last week and have no need to go back to his choice of words; however, I want …

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[17 Feb 2015 | One Comment | ]

There is a certain inherent contradiction in Barack Obama’s persistent refusal to identify the jihad we’re fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere as “Islamic terrorism.”
He again refused to name the beast in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, a centrist who has what many believe to be the best of the Sunday morning political talk shows. “I don’t quibble with labels. I think we all recognize that this is a particular problem that has roots in Muslim communities,” Obama told Zakaria. “But I think we do ourselves a disservice in …

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[10 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]

A couple of years ago, when then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann came up with one of her wackiest outbursts, announcing that she met a woman whose child became mentally retarded shortly after getting vaccinated for HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, most of the country laughed it off as just one more goofy Bachmannism. She was promulgating an urban legend based on a totally discredited paper some unqualified character wrote linking the HPV vaccine to autism.
Considering the source, I thought to myself, that should end any such controversy.

Little did I know about my …

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[5 Feb 2015 | One Comment | ]

I’m sure you are familiar with the Yiddish word “chutzpah”–defined as a child who murders his mother and father, then pleads for the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
Apologies for invoking the cliché, but this is the first time I’ve found a chutzpah double-header and can’t decide which of the two perpetrators is worse.  I speak of course of the possibly unprecedented, invitation extended by Speaker of the House John Boehner to have a foreign head of state,  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, address the US congress …