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[26 Jan 2015 | 2 Comments | ]

I admit to a certain lunacy by remaining a Cub fan, having first been seated in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in 1938. Though I don’t attend many games anymore, it’s the only place I have attended longer, though less consistently, than the saloon formerly known as Riccardo’s, now Stefani’s 437 Rush, where, under-aged, I first sipped a red wine in 1950.

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, in recent years occasionally dropped into Stefani’s and I had the chance to exchange greetings with my second Great Cub Hero. The first was …

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[20 Jan 2015 | One Comment | ]

The actions of two small cells of French jihadists–and the presumed presence of more–are doing Benjamin Netanyahu’s work for him.
Netanyahu has worked long and hard to persuade French and other European Jews to emigrate to Israel.  Right-wing Israeli websites for at least a decade describe–not always accurately–acts of French, mainly Muslim, anti-Semitism. Some are greatly exaggerated, others accumulated over several years, but made to seem very recent.

This is not a holy man calling his coreligionists home. It is a politician aware first that the anticipated immigration numbers into Israel have …

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[12 Jan 2015 | No Comment | ]

The recent hostage taking and killing in a kosher market in Paris occurred a short 10-minute walk from where I used to have an apartment (which I sold in 2014). Over the years I would stop in there occasionally to pick up a snack or two, which is kind of scary to think about.
The horrific mass killings at the offices of the now well known Charlie Hebdo took place only another short walk from the market.
So why did these killings take place at this time?

Hitting a newspaper office and a …

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[5 Jan 2015 | 3 Comments | ]

When I go to work in a campaign, either as a paid or volunteer consultant, I always let my readers know at the time but make no further mention of the candidate.  In short, I do not use this column as propaganda for a client.  Therefore I want to say why I became a senior advisor to mayoral candidate  Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. (Pronounced “chewy”–a traditional Mexican nickname for Jesus, pronounced “haysous”).

I’ve known Chuy for 30 years and helped him in the past–as when he won a 1986 special aldermanic election …

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[29 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

Unless you are a Republican who can revel in the trouncing your party gave President Barack Obama in November,  it wasn’t a particularly good year. I chronicled some of the ups and many of the downs, including some  highly personal, in my weekly outpourings .
I lost a half dozen close friends including the sculptor Caroline Lee and the journalists Jon Anderson and Susan Nelson, but wrote of only about one: my dearest pal of many decades, Ron Dorfman, founder of the Chicago Journalism Review and crusader for gay rights, who, …

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[23 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

The police killing of a black teen named Laquan McDonald last October has not risen to the level of a national–or even local–cause the way police killings in Ferguson and Staten Island have done.  That’s in large part because the teen–apparently a very troubled youth and ward of the state–was armed with a knife, and behaving erratically, ultimately using it to puncture the tires and damage the window of one of two squad cars that had him boxed in against a construction fence about 4100 South on Pulaski Ave.

The officers …

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[17 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

“We tortured some folks,” said our folksy constitutional law professor-president in what may be the most inappropriate use of the word “folks” I’ve ever heard. He later said all the right things about how this is not who we are as a people.
A debatable point, perhaps, since the rationale and orders for torture–excuse me, enhanced interrogation techniques–came from the leaders of this great nation, administered with our taxes by the Central Intelligence Agency among others, and is both excused and applauded by numerous public officials and ordinary citizens.

To give Barack …

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[8 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]

Let’s face it: elected state’s attorneys or county prosecutors have a symbiotic relationship with police departments–as they should. Police are first responders in major crimes and help locate evidence, then prosecutors work hand-in-hand with cops to develop cases.
That’s why prosecutors essentially become part of the often-racist police culture, as we’ve frequently seen. In Chicago recently the Cook County state’s attorney’s office was complicit in the police coverup of a killing by a nephew of then-Mayor Richard Daley. Back in 1969, State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan had his own police unit, disbanded …

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[1 Dec 2014 | One Comment | ]

Like everyone who has been in politics a while I’ve had my share of disappointments endorsing or
working for professed reformers and “independent” candidates who sold out and otherwise betrayed
their base–but none so quickly and definitively as Michele Smith, who was elected alderman of my
home 43rd Ward in 2011 after a narrow loss four years earlier.

This ward used to be the heart of anti-machine politics and still votes independently. Smith promised
to be in the tradition of independent aldermen who guard against bad zoning and predatory
development–even developments supported by City Hall– by …

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[25 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]

More than a year ago, when in my naiveté,  I thought the congress might actually do something about immigration, I added to the discussion one widely overlooked benefit: adding millions of undocumented immigrants to the workforce would have a positive benefit on the economy, especially to the Social Security system.

To quote myself:  “Contrary to the conservative argument that undocumented residents are a financial burden on the U.S., there are powerful arguments that citizenship and the right to work will bring an ultimate economic benefit and strengthen Social Security.
” Social Security …