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The Trump Era

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Who can say who wrote that unsigned New York Times essay? Who can say but shouldn't?

Posted By on 09.09.18 at 12:20 PM

nyt_op-ed.jpg

Should the New York Times have published an anonymous op-ed by a "senior" administration official that was sure to send the president on a rampage? Was the author gutless not to sign it? Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for the Washington Post (she’d earlier held a similar position at the Times), has weighed in, saying "yes" to the first question and "possibly" to the second. But Sullivan was witty enough to look past these two obvious debate points into what she called a "quagmire of weirdness: fraught with issues of journalistic ethics and possibly even legal concerns."

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Join Blue Beginning as it sends the Democratic troops into the collar counties

Posted By on 08.31.18 at 09:04 AM

indivisible.png
Some people in Chicago are dismissive toward folks in the outer burbs, writing them off as a bunch of squares in the boonies.

But from my perspective, people in the traditionally Republican collar counties of DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake, and Will are among the luckiest voters alive—'cause they get to take a meaningful stand against Trump in the coming November elections.

Oh, yes, Chicagoans may fume and fret and take to the street over the antics of the orange man in the White House. But folks outside of Cook County actually have the opportunity to be part of a "blue wave" that ousts enough congressional opportunists and rubber-stampers to take Congress back from the Republicans.

And let me tell you, the way Republican congressmen like Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren, and (to a far lesser extent) Adam Kinzinger bow and scrape before Trump, man, it makes our mayor-worshiping aldermen look like profiles in courage.

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Thousands protest Trump in the Families Belong Together March [PHOTOS]

Posted By , and on 06.30.18 at 02:28 PM

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

There were more than 700 Families Belong Together rallies across America today, including one in downtown Chicago. The rallies were ostensibly organized to protest the new government policy of declaring immigrant children "unaccompanied minors" and separating them from their parents at the border, but they also condemned the Trump administration's refusal to grant asylum to refugees from domestic and gang violence and the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the travel ban on residents of seven countries, five of which are majority Muslim.

At Daley Plaza - JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig
  • At Daley Plaza

An estimated 60,000 people gathered in and around Daley Plaza at 11 AM this morning, including a marching band, voter registrars, Captain America, and a family who might have been Aztec warriors. The heat index was above 100 degrees, but thousands stayed through the hour-long rally and the march afterward. (The column of marchers was so long that as some were returning to the plaza at the end of the 15-block route, others were still just leaving.) There was a handful of speakers, though the crowd was so vast that their voices didn't carry very far. One young woman spoke movingly about how her father may have been deported. A physician talked about immigrating to the U.S. from India when she was two years old in order to seek medical care. She described the "toxic trauma" she sees now in Chicago among children who live in constant fear of their families being split up. Two more young undocumented Chicagoans informed the crowd that they are part of the community here and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be abolished. A final speaker said that abolishing ICE wouldn't be going far enough: the government needed to repeal the 2003 immigration bill that led to the establishment of ICE in the first place.

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

At noon, the march stepped off from Daley Plaza, heading south on Clark to the federal building at 101 W. Congress, where the Chicago office of ICE is located. It stopped briefly so the band could play a rendition of "The Imperial March" from Star Wars before looping back north on Dearborn. A few marchers later attempted to occupy the building, but they were stopped and kettled by police, according to reports on Twitter.

Occupying the Picasso - JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig
  • Occupying the Picasso

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

Inmates watched the crowd from the observation deck of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. - AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt
  • Inmates watched the crowd from the observation deck of the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro

A slogan that never gets old - PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro
  • A slogan that never gets old
Blessings from an Aztec warrior - PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro
  • Blessings from an Aztec warrior
A water mister from the fire department cooled the marchers - PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro
  • A water mister from the fire department cooled the marchers
The signs

JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig
JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig

JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig

JAMIE LUDWIG
  • Jamie Ludwig

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro

PHILIP MONTORO
  • Philip Montoro

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Stormy Daniels to finish run at Chicago strip club this weekend

Posted By on 06.15.18 at 07:01 AM

Stormy Daniels - SUN-TIMES FILES
  • Sun-Times files
  • Stormy Daniels

[UPDATED] Despite a dispute over a contract that threatened to cancel this weekend's shows, the Admiral Theater and Stormy Daniels rode the storm out and have agreed that the porn star's run of shows in Chicago wouldn't just be a one-night stand. 

In a press release sent late Friday afternoon, Sam Cecola, the Admiral's owner, said "both parties have decided to set aside any differences they have had to put the Chicago fans first.

"The Admiral Theatre sincerely regrets any comments that have been made, either publicly or privately, that have been disparaging of Miss Daniels and her team. The Admiral Theatre loves Stormy Daniels and her team and welcomes them as family back to the club."


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chicago corruption for sightseers: Walking tours show seedy underbelly of the city’s politics

Posted By on 06.14.18 at 06:00 AM

The legendary Mirage Tavern and its successor, the Brehon Pub - SUN-TIMES/COURTESY BREHON PUB
  • Sun-Times/Courtesy Brehon Pub
  • The legendary Mirage Tavern and its successor, the Brehon Pub

The Brehon Pub sits inconspicuously at the northeast corner of Wells and Superior. From the outside, its bold green signage, four-leaf clover decorations, and Gaelic logo make it hard to pin down as anything other than a traditional Irish pub. But from the inside its completely nontraditional roots are impossible to disguise. The Brehon has a history deeply tied to the corruption of Chicago: the establishment was formerly known as the Mirage Tavern.

The Mirage was a phony bar established by the Sun-Times in 1977 as part of an investigation into corruption allegations and quickly became a hotbed for shady business dealings, bribery, and other white-collar criminality until the story broke in 1978. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the revealing 25-part series that impacted everything from city zoning laws to the ethics of investigative journalism. It was here that journalist and historian, Paul Dailing and I met to talk about his Corruption Walking Tours. In Dailing's eyes, the stories he tells on the tour are in many ways more poignant now than ever before.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Truth, belief, and The Americans

Posted By on 06.04.18 at 06:00 AM

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans
  • Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans

When The Americans—which I came to think of as possibly the best TV show I'd ever watched—came to its conclusion last week, I looked back at what I'd written in 2013 when it was new and, in my view, pretty silly.

Real spies in deep cover couldn't gallivant around town in funny wigs sleeping with their sources and butchering their enemies but making it home in time for dinner and survive for even six weeks, I was thinking—yet Philip and Elizabeth Jennings had been at it for decades. Predicting more "misunderstandings, reversals, and high jinks" in season two, I allowed that "I can't describe this plot without my imagination hearing boudoir doors slam open and shut as dissipated nobles shove nubile maids under beds."

But over time the show—set in the 1980s—grew up and my wife and I, thank God, never stopped watching it. Car chases wear out their welcome, but the show runners understood that the drama of trying to hold a marriage and a family together never gets tiresome. And they understood that the ending to The Americans we required was one that focused on the fate of the family. We all know what happened to the cold war; but Philip and Elizabeth Jennings and the two fine kids they'd raised had me lying in bed dreaming up likely scenarios.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Immigration activist who took sanctuary in Humboldt Park church spotlighted in Elvira

Posted By on 05.18.18 at 06:00 AM

Elvira Arellano at a rally in 2006
  • Elvira Arellano at a rally in 2006
South Side Projections concludes an ongoing series of films about undocumented immigrants with a free screening at 7 PM Saturday night at the U. of C. Logan Center for the Arts of the locally produced documentary Elvira (2009). The film, directed by Columbia College graduate Javier Solórzano Casarin, profiles Elvira Arellano, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who became an activist for immigrants' rights after she was arrested in the early 2000s. Arellano, who will attend Saturday's screening, had been working at O'Hare Airport when she was arrested by immigration authorities; after being released, she found sanctuary with her son (who was born in the U.S.) at a church in Humboldt Park. As she waited for her case to be tried, Arellano took part in rallies for the rights of undocumented immigrants, becoming a symbol for many; she also garnered the attention of U.S. politicians who offered to sponsor her stay in the country. Despite her prominence, Arellano was deported to Mexico in 2007. She returned to Chicago in 2014, where she was reunited with her son, and the two returned to the Humboldt Park church. Arellano will share her story on Saturday and discuss how she continues to stay involved in the immigration rights movement.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Do I need to watch The Handmaid's Tale?

Posted By on 05.09.18 at 06:00 AM

A scene from The Handmaid's Tale - HULU
  • Hulu
  • A scene from The Handmaid's Tale

The other night I watched about 15 minutes of episode one of Hulu's The Handmaid’s Tale and turned off the TV and went to bed, wondering if I should feel more guilty than I did. For isn't it the responsibility of every American to know all there is to know about dystopias? But I'd already read the novel, so I knew its drift, as well as most of the standard dystopian literature—1984, Fahrenheit 451, It Can’t Happen Here. In January of last year I wrote a short piece observing that all these books had just returned to the best-seller lists.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Women's March: The Sequel, or this time we have a destination

Posted By and on 01.21.18 at 03:02 PM

SUE KWONG
  • Sue Kwong

In a lot of ways the 2018 Women's March was not much different from the 2017 edition. Again the day was sunny and unseasonably warm, and again people poured into Grant Park from all over Chicago and the suburbs. Pussy hats came out of retirement and signs that had been sitting in closets and basements for the past 364 days got a second life. (There were some updates too: shithole hats and signs that referenced #MeToo, Time's Up, girtherism, and the government shutdown.) Once again, the crowd was larger than anticipated—300,000 people this time, 50,000 more than last year—but still peaceful, and once again, we all chanted "What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like!"

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Romance and escapism trump reality

Posted By on 11.09.17 at 04:56 PM

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Since the 2016 election cycle shifted into full gear, I've had a hard time reading. There aren't very many books that can compete with all the bizarre plot twists we've been living through. In real life, you also don't have the comfort of being able to flip ahead to the last page to see how it all worked out.

Someday there will be piles and piles of books about the Trump Era. The children of millennials will be as tired of hearing about the late 2010s as we are of hearing about the 1960s. By then, of course, Trump will be gone and everyone will be able to parse the chain of events that led to his rise, and so many fictional characters will have had epiphanies after the Women's March or Charlottesville or the Las Vegas shooting or from watching NFL players kneel during the National Anthem or seeing all the #MeToo posts on social media that all these things will have become cliches, just like Woodstock. (Needless to say, Twitter will become an overused plot device, the way misdirected letters were in Victorian novels.)

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