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[21 Feb 2019 | No 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; $27) is available for preordering on Amazon, just as a federal consent agreement goes into effect aimed …

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[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 minus  blackface.

    Born in 1884 in Russia as Asa Yoelson, he  joined a minstrel act in 1905–as did George M. …

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[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 to mention this threat, save a brief reference to drugs, in their comprehensive annual …

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[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 Barack Obama’s legacy achievements–health care, rescuing the economy and saving …

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[16 Jan 2019 | No Comment | ]

Months ago, before Rahm Emanuel decided not to seek re-election, a dozen or so people lined up to challenge him–believing he was vulnerable because of the attempted cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald. Among them was Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who served as head of the police board and became a powerful advocate for police reform.

     She struck me as the most competent and electable independent progressive of the group. I checked with many lawyers and police reformers, interviewed her and found her attuned to my views …

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[9 Jan 2019 | No Comment | ]

Dare we mix religion and politics? A generation of parents warned their kids not to discuss either in polite company–let alone intertwine them.
Nevertheless, we’ve heard plenty about Protestant Evangelicals and their unswerving devotion to Donald Trump despite his un-Christian personal behavior.

We also note that Jewish voters are the second most loyal Democrats after African Americans, with 70 to 80 percent of their votes going to Democratic presidential candidates since Bill Clinton in 1992. (African Americans vote about 90 percent Democratic, a number Franklin D. Roosevelt won among Jewish voters.)
But more …

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[13 Dec 2018 | One Comment | ]

Day by day the news gets worse and worse for the Orange Menace and day by day more Democrats come to the fore hoping to replace him in 2020–presuming he isn’t ousted though impeachment or quits to keep his kids out of the slammer.
   What looks like 20 or more senators, present or past congresspersons, governors, mayors and dog-catchers are “talking it over with friends and family”–announcing without actually declaring.

There are almost as many theories about what it takes to beat Trump as there are candidates. Among the most popular are …

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[28 Nov 2018 | One Comment | ]

If there was not a “caravan” of some 5000 asylum-seeking migrants at our southern border,  it would be necessary for Donald Trump to invent one in order to panic the congress into giving him billions of dollars to build that wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.

   So he only has to invent fearsome myths about those caravans  to scare us into believing our very safety and democracy is being threatened. He has inflated a major administrative problem–processing huge numbers of asylum seekers–into an existential crisis requiring the US Army to save us.
    Let’s …

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[13 Nov 2018 | One Comment | ]

The most potent organizing force for Democrats’ success in the midterms was obviously Donald Trump, who inspired hundreds of thousands of previously uninvolved people to organize and vote–against him via his congressional stooges.
    Granted there was much to mourn last Tuesday, but, on balance, the glass is more than half full.  A good deal  of the credit goes to the largely unsung newly organized groups of the Resistance.  Operating under the rubrics of Indivisible, Women’s March, Blue Beginnings and a host of others here in Illinois and across the country, they made the difference …

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[5 Nov 2018 | No Comment | ]

In true Trumpian fashion,  mayoral candidate William “Bill” Daley gave two Chicago newspapers  two opposing opinions of his brother Richard’s most detested deed as mayor: virtually selling the city’s parking meter operations to a private firm for comparative peanuts then quickly blowing all the proceeds. The firm sent parking rates sky-high and now rakes in hundreds of millions.
   In his first version, before entering the race, Bill defended the deal with a  strong rationale, lauding it as “good business.”  Five months later, as a candidate, he declared the deal a “mistake” he would not make.

   In …