I don’t recall much about the first local school board meeting that I ever covered, long, long ago, except the overflow crowd of local citizens who made it hard to get inside.
“What’s going on?” I asked the seasoned education-beat reporter who was mentoring me that evening.
“Nothing special,” he instructed. “But, anywhere you ...Read more
When I heard that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had died, my mind raced back to the autumn of 2004, when I asked him whether he had given a thought to resigning.
At the time, the Iraq War was going as badly as he predicted it might, back when he reportedly was the most prominent opponent within George W. Bush’s administration of such...Read more
Since pop culture tells us a lot about our national state of mind, I have been intrigued by the internet buzz that has surrounded “Squid Game,” a South Korean survivalist drama about a peculiar form of class warfare in a dystopian setting.
Its success with audiences, hitting No. 1 on Netflix in 90 countries including this one, is no less ...Read more
Dave Chappelle is in hot water again, testing the boundaries of public sensibilities so you don’t have to.
Netflix is defending his latest comedy special, “The Closer.” Critics, particularly in the LGBTQ community and their allies, want it taken down, charging his offbeat and often off-color monologue is transphobic.
I’m not surprised....Read more
It was a terrible week for Facebook.
First, an investigative series by The Wall Street Journal reported that for years Facebook has been studying how Instagram, which it owns, has been harmful to young users. Among other bombshells, the Journal quoted a ...Read more
Congratulations, Chicago. The city is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, although “celebrate” is not the best verb to use.
“Commemorate” is better. After all, the fire killed about 300 people, destroyed more than 3.3 square miles of the city and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.
The city rebuilt and ...Read more
For all of his talk about the “fake,” “biased,” “dishonest,” “corrupt,” and “left-wing” media, I know Donald Trump loves us. He really does. He feeds off of our attention. His insults are just his way of showing his love.
Or maybe that’s just my jolly journalist’s view of his recent venture into what sounded eyelash-...Read more
At last, Black girls’ lives matter too.
That was my response to the news that Chicago-born R&B star singer, songwriter and producer R. Kelly had been convicted Monday in New York.
The federal jury convicted Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges in connection with a decadeslong scheme to recruit women...Read more
A picture, as an old saying (almost) goes, is worth 10,000 mixed messages.
That’s what I saw in the startling weekend news video of what looked like U.S. Border Patrol agents using whips to round up and shoo Haitian immigrants who had waded across the river from Mexico back across the border.
Shocked commentators and the Twitterverse decried...Read more
As I watched Simone Biles and three other U.S. Olympic gymnasts tell a Senate committee of how badly their complaints of sexual abuse had been handled by the FBI, I was reminded of the day Biles abruptly withdrew from her event at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
The multiple gold medal winner cited “mental health” reasons but fortunately ...Read more
I appreciate constructive criticism, even when I think the critic is full of prunes.
But that fortunately was not the case in an email I received from a reader in the past week as U.S. Capitol police in Washington braced themselves for a rally to protest prosecution of the fools who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Although he agreed with my ...Read more
As I recall the horrors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I want to express my forgiveness of Karlheinz Stockhausen, a noted German composer who, at that tragic time two decades ago, should have stuck to music.
Stockhausen suddenly became infamous after a news conference a few days after the attacks in New York and Washington for describing ...Read more
As much as they try, soldiers returning home from combat don’t always manage to leave the war behind on the battlefield.
That’s why, as the Taliban militia rolled with surprising ease into Afghanistan’s capital on Aug. 15 and took over the government, a top Veterans Affairs official fired off an email to the department’s senior staff.
It didn’t take much longer than a nanosecond after the Supreme Court allowed a radical Texas anti-abortion law to take effect before the social media hashtag TexanTaliban went viral.
What? Comparisons to the brutal, misogynistic Taliban? That’s more than a little extreme in itself, right? But then, so is the new Texas anti-abortion law.
Watching the last American military plane go wheels up and out of the Afghanistan War reminded me of an old saying: History often repeats itself, but a lot of us would rather not pay attention.
On July 8, when President Joe Biden was defending his decision to withdraw all remaining U.S. forces, he was asked the inevitable question of whether he...Read more
Was Ashli Babbitt a “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter?”
I’m more accustomed to hearing that question asked about insurgents in countries less developed than this one.
But, the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump has brought a lot of formerly foreign headaches closer to home.
In case you missed it, dear reader, here’s a word from the wise: Don’t eat horse paste.
Unless, of course, you’re a horse.
That tidbit of animal husbandry comes from the federal Food and Drug Administration in a warning to humans who are considering the “horse paste” drug ivermectin, a medicine used to deworm livestock, instead of ...Read more
Are you alarmed or reassured by headlines that show “America’s white population is shrinking”? Where you stand, as the old saying goes, depends on where you sit.
I think everyone who believes in our multiracial democracy — not including, say, those die-hard haters who paraded with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “You ...Read more
In the lead-up to Kabul’s fall, President Joe Biden’s most memorable quote appears to be his answer on July 8 to a reporter’s question about an assessment from the intelligence community that Afghanistan’s government teetered on the brink of collapse.
“That is not true,” the commander in chief insisted. “They did not reach that ...Read more
Ever since I first wrote about bestselling author J.D. Vance as a “Trump translator,” people have wanted me to be a Vance explainer. That’s OK. I explain things for a living.
A little background: After Donald Trump’s election victory surprised me — and a lot of other voters — in 2016, Vance’s memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” became a ...Read more