Politics, Moderate



Students of all ages deserve a bailout on their loans

CHICAGO -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., proposes eliminating up to $50,000 in student debt for borrowers who make less than $100,000 per year, giving up to 42 million Americans what amounts to a second lease on life.

Philip Klein, the executive editor of the right-leaning Washington Examiner, opposes Warren's idea. In a column with a ...Read more

Democrats need to give Hispanic voters something worth voting for

CHICAGO -- Wasn't the 2016 presidential election the event that taught us to distrust polls? Didn't almost everyone get it wrong, eroding the public's trust in both journalism and their fellow citizens, who made electoral choices that seemed to go against their own self-interest?

Welcome to the 2020 campaign season, which is already making me -...Read more

Unauthorized immigrants help prop up America's economy

CHICAGO -- Whenever I see a viral video of a racist person harassing a Spanish speaker with brown skin because they seem "illegal," I comfort myself with the vivid image of millions of Latinos watching the spectacle with bafflement as they fan themselves with a stack of $100 bills.

It's not silly.

People act like unauthorized immigrants are ...Read more

Speak out about America's cruelty to immigrants

CHICAGO -- By all accounts, the Trump administration is on an anti-immigrant tear that threatens to obliterate the already-broken immigration system in this country.

President Trump has ousted top officials, saying they weren't as tough as he thought they should be, and elevated the anti-immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller.

At a Texas ...Read more

It's a bird, it's a plane … it's yet another superhero movie!

CHICAGO -- It seems pretty obvious that the superhero movie genre is jumping the shark.

I used to get everyone in my family psyched and out the door for the comic-book blockbusters, but the spectacle of superhero movies went stale for me a few years ago.

And I'm not the only one -- even my husband and my teen son have not been able to gin up ...Read more

Trump administration policy mistreats migrant children

CHICAGO -- Most Americans have no reason to know anything about the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), but it has recently become a flash point in immigration policy.

Initially established in 2000, the alphabet-soup legislation made human trafficking a federal crime. It has been reauthorized over the years to expand its...Read more

News flash: There's a lot more than Mexico south of the border

CHICAGO -- So many Mexicos, so little time!

I have no idea who created it, but there's a handy little chart of "all the Mexicos" rocketing across the internet. It's a humorous clapback at the recent folly in which an onscreen chyron on Fox News said that President Trump was cutting aid to "3 Mexican Countries."

Some genius mocked up the ...Read more

GenderCool teens remind us that the world is full of promise

CHICAGO -- The world is a frightening place filled with peril, abuse and discrimination -- and it's even worse for people who don't fall neatly into society's traditional buckets.

This was my state of mind last week as I drove out to a home in a suburb north of Chicago to meet a gaggle of teens, some of whom have already gone through things in ...Read more

Melville made a huge splash, but his critics left barely a ripple

CHICAGO -- There's no end to the awfulness we heap upon artists -- it happens to the best of them.

Beethoven himself was panned by John Ruskin -- one of the Victorian era's most famous art critics -- as composing music that "always sounds to me like the upsettings of bags of nails, with here and there an also dropped hammer."

Claude Monet's ...Read more

Let's give teachers space to show students they care

CHICAGO -- Shhhhh, please don't tell anyone that I'm breaking rules at school.

The other day, I said "I love you" to one of my students.

What else are you supposed to tell a 6-year-old who's crying inconsolably after he bumped his head -- and you happen to absolutely mean it?

Another student, a developmentally delayed 5-year-old, only settles...Read more

Including all voices helps ensure we are heard

CHICAGO -- I used to have a running conversation with an older, white, male column-writing colleague about how your skin tone impacts your credibility.

He used to stroll over to my desk in the newsroom, practically get on bended knee, and ask for the hand of my immigration issue du jour.

"I don't want to poach in your pond, Esther," he'...Read more

Admissions scandal is no surprise to students who aren't white

CHICAGO -- There is a college-bribery scandal in the news, and every nonwhite college student who was ever mistaken for a janitor, maid or potential assailant just rolled his or her eyes.

Rich, privileged -- and very often white -- people use their money and influence to give their kids a leg up in a rigged college system?

You don't say.

In ...Read more

We need to make it easier for teachers of color to lead our classrooms

CHICAGO -- What if there were a relatively simple way to add more than 8,000 teachers of color to public schools to raise academic achievement -- but no one really cared enough to actually change the status quo?

It wouldn't surprise me one bit.

As in so many industries that vow to diversify their ranks, a case is made year after year for why ...Read more

'The Border' tells the story of the people impacted by the drug wars

CHICAGO -- Fans of Don Winslow's epic thrillers on Mexico's drug wars have been eagerly awaiting the final installment of the narco-trilogy, and it does not disappoint.

The last time we heard from fictional DEA agent Art Keller was in 2014, when Winslow's depiction of Ciudad Juarez showed the border town on an upswing. There were no corpses on ...Read more

There is an emergency at the border, but it's not what Trump says it is

CHICAGO -- President Trump insists that there is an emergency at the border. Yes, there are plenty of terrible and sickening emergencies involving immigrants that demand immediate attention. But these are not the issues that Trump is focusing on.

Take, for instance, the stunning recent report by Axios that there have been nearly 6,000 ...Read more

Chicago poised to make history with first black woman mayor

CHICAGO -- Finally, a spot of good news for a beleaguered city that has long been known as a hotbed of racism and government-sanctioned segregation: the promise of Chicago's first black, female mayor.

In a dogpile of a mayoral race, 14 candidates fought it out to connect to voters who had long ago given into a nasty case of learned helplessness...Read more

A few words of Spanish on Oscar night spoke volumes for Latinos

CHICAGO -- All right, Diego Luna can come in from the doghouse. He managed to earn a reprieve on Oscar night.

I had kicked him out back in 2013, when Luna (most famously of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") went on Conan O'Brien's talk show, "Conan," to promote his futuristic movie "Elysium" and dropped some tired stereotypes on millions of TV ...Read more

True democracy is loving your country enough to criticize it

CHICAGO -- The orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass once noted the disconnect between the words of our nation's founding fathers and their deed of allowing, perpetuating and profiting from slavery in America.

"What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of ...Read more

My mystical magic tour

CHICAGO -- My New Year's resolution this year was to learn close-up card magic. Now, here we are at least a month past the point when most people let their good intentions fall by the wayside, and I can cut to the aces or find your Gemini twins in a deck of shuffled cards.

I can make your iPhone's Siri function "roll dice" until the card you ...Read more

Study shows that daydreaming in kindergarten can cost you

CHICAGO -- We all knew a few spacey kids in kindergarten who just couldn't get their acts together. Their desks were a mess, they never knew what they were supposed to be doing, and they'd lose their heads if they weren't attached.

You won't be shocked to learn that they probably grew up to make less money than the class overachievers.

But ...Read more


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Chip Bok Bob Gorrell Steve Benson Nick Anderson Tom Stiglich Clay Bennett