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[7 Jun 2018 | No Comment | ]

Roseanne Barr is not the only big TV star to get cancelled for using the horrendous “ape” slur against an African American. Back in 1983, Howard Cosell, arguably the greatest sportscaster of his time, came under fire from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for describing a black player as a “little monkey.” They demanded his ouster from the top-rated Monday Night Football telecast.

   Cosell fought back, justifiably noting he had used the phrase about white players in the past and as a term of endearment for his own grandchildren. (My grandfather …

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[23 May 2018 | One Comment | ]

“Everyone,” says Trump, thinks he ought to get the Nobel Peace Prize for his now-in-doubt denuclearization “summit” with Kim Jong Un. To paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn, please include me out of “everyone.”
   Should, however, the meeting actually take place and anything remotely positive come out of it, the idea of the Nobel committee giving the badly coiffed pair the prize is not quite a lunatic idea. They have picked some oddities and nonstarters in past years.
   Mostly their choices were spot on: they range from courageous individuals such as Malala Yousafzi, the young, …

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[17 May 2018 | No Comment | ]

The newest of this city’s art venues–opened only a month ago–is a 183-year-old, two-story high, 34,000-square-foot former foundry, stripped down to bare walls and steel pillars, where you stand surrounded by an astonishing digital movie based on the art of Gustav Klimt projected on all four sides (and some viewers bodies). The Viennese painter’s magnificently colored portraits of exquisitely dressed ladies are shown whole, in pieces, deconstructed, reconstructed, seamlessly melting into each other and into abstract and representational backgrounds, a flowing river of color while the music of Mozart, Wagner, …

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[15 May 2018 | No Comment | ]

I’ve been wrestling with this issue of cultural appropriation and losing–probably eroding my lefty bona fides in the process.
   Take the matter of that poor teen who wore a beautiful, traditional Chinese dress to her prom and caught holy hell from hundreds of social media trolls for the sin of cultural appropriation, some actually calling  her a colonialist. (No protests from China.)
   The world has been exchanging indigenous clothing styles for generations. The French revel in exporting their haute couture.  Blue jeans, the most all-American of garments–invented 145 years ago by a German-Jewish immigrant–are …

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[9 May 2018 | No Comment | ]

PARIS–Soon after French President Emmanuel landed in the USA for his state visit, a friend and I were boarding a plane for his homeland, where I did not get to address the parliament but many Americans may have been pleasantly surprised to find a visiting head of state addressing Congress in better English than our very own president.

Once wildly popular here, Macron’s numbers have plummeted below the halfway mark, but not as low as Trump’s at home. Nevertheless he maintains a strong majority in the parliament, …

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[26 Apr 2018 | No Comment | ]

I’ll soon be winging my way to a two week stay in Paris, my personal second city, but must comment again on the impending “summit” meeting between those two guys with weird hairdos.
     North Korea’s brutal, egomaniacal dictator Kim Jong-un is willing to discuss “denuclearization” with President Donald Trump. The serious, unanswered question is, exactly what does he mean by the term?
    Trump and company naturally believe it means what they want it to mean: abolition of all nuclear weaponry–Kim already has some 60 bombs–and perhaps eliminate the delivery systems they developed …

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[18 Apr 2018 | 2 Comments | ]

I hadn’t intended to write anything midst the torrent of MLK remembrances on the 50th anniversary of his murder, but a friend showed me a series of photos the Tribune posted of his campaign in Chicago (1965-67) when I served as his local press secretary/speech writer/political advisor. Several of the images showed the Reverend Doctor in a West Side pool hall shooting a game with the late Al Raby (right), his co-chair of the Chicago Freedom Movement.

    The  event made the front pages of all the local newspapers, TV news, the networks …

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[11 Apr 2018 | No Comment | ]

He’s at it again, claiming “millions” of fraudulent votes were cast against him in the 2016 election–alleging mainly undocumented Latinos voted two and three times in California and elsewhere.
    What’s really truly fraudulent is Trump’s claim, which he first made after his election, trying to justify having lost the popular count by nearly three million votes. It also plays into his anti-immigration rhetoric and helps Republicans pushing for voter-suppression laws.
    Let me tell you, people, I’m from Chicago and I know something about vote fraud, having worked to end it since the …

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[3 Apr 2018 | One Comment | ]

If you missed my column last week it was because I was away visiting son and family in Seattle–but what an amazing week to have been off, beginning with the Illinois primary election, wherein Cook County voters dumped Assessor Joe Berrios, one of the most corrupt of the old-line Machine hacks.
Nationally came the good, the bad and the ugly–the best being the magnificent March For Our Lives, a possible inflection point I’ll get back to. But before that came Trump’s tariffs against China, which could lead to a losing trade …

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[21 Mar 2018 | No Comment | ]

If you thought the first year of Trump was bad, just wait for all the turnovers in the cabinet and advisory staff to settle in. The guy who promised nothing but the best and brightest appointments flunked badly in Round One but with his record-level turnovers he is going farther downhill.
   It seems a lot of people he appointed to important positions had the temerity to give him disagreeable advice. As he has often said, he knows best and pays little attention to “the experts.” So he is replacing them with …