GOP In Headlights: This Week In The Trump Campaign

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“I was a big soap opera fan as a kid growing up in the 1980s. Give me a hot super couple romance or a realistically impossible natural disaster and I was all in. Santa Barbara, General Hospital and All My Children – while other youths were catching up on cartoons, I was transfixed by Luke and Laura’s magnificent, on-location wedding.

Watching Donald Trump’s campaign unfold is an experience quite like the televised daytime dramas that kept me hooked well into the early 2000s. Except that there’s no decompression after closing one’s laptop or turning off the TV. There are real consequences besides the sort of anxiety-ridden fugue state that is a burden of all those endeavoring to follow the fire. Party affiliation is inconsequential. If one is a passionate liberal, the prospect of Trumpism in the White House and its associated wrecking ball effect on America as we know it is one kind of panic attack. And for conservatives (whatever that means these days), the specter of electoral annihilation and party irrelevance has many pundits and politicians reaching for the Xanax.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Stubbornly Remains in Office, Still Destroying Chicago

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“When the Mayor deems Gang Threats Against Police ‘Absolutely Unacceptable,’ he’s perfectly right of course. But the mob vengeance mentality against the CPD did not germinate in a vacuum. What he calls “a continuing dialogue on police reform,” is necessary because Emanuel’s office has a persistent problem – routine evidence of black citizens losing their lives to police officers under circumstances questionable at best.

At this point we’re stuck with Rahm until early 2019. Consideration of a recall bill has been stalled since January, and the Mayor has deflected numerous calls for his resignation. However, we are the same city that shut down a Trump rally, the town that rebuilt itself as a world-class destination after a devastating fire. We reversed the flow of the Chicago River. We are more than capable of coming together to remove the cancer in City Hall. So let’s do it. #FireRahm”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

The Purloined Play Lot

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In 1984, a tiny Lutheran grade school on Chicago’s North Side received an infrastructure upgrade in the form of a small rear play lot. This was an exciting event for the student body. At the time Pilgrim Lutheran did not have a gymnasium (I believe it still does without) although the auditorium was suitable for physical education because there was no permanent seating to be considered. But a new park, hidden within the school’s property like a small faux green oasis! For a then-working class, inner city neighborhood institution, it seemed so luxurious.

The two most vivid memories I have from my days on the play lot both involve music videos. This is as it must be. In 1986 Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” from the True Blue album was everything. It definitely was for young Becky. I recall sitting on the tire bridge with a few of my little gal pals having one heck of a singalong. Knowing every lyric and note as though they were the Gospel read in First Communication class, I was the envy of all. A self-aware eight year-old with a rough home life rarely experiences that level of peer triumph.

That same year, I was enthralled by Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” – song as well as MTV experience. Trying to duplicate one of the band members’ high-wire stage floats, I stood atop the play lot’s multi-colored, metal geodesic dome structure. I’m an infamous klutz so you can probably predict what ensued. I did a half flip off the dome that concluded with my person lying on the AstroTurf in an ignominious heap, head colliding hard with the bottom rung. I escaped concussion but the Jon Bon Jovi stage diving career was over.

Last week Tuesday, the day after birthday number 38, Bob, Jude and I walked down the alley behind our building to find the play lot lying on the school’s basketball court in disassembled pieces. From my vantage point since moving in with Bob in June 2015, I’ve watched my alma mater grow in population and funding, using its resources to make positive investments in facilities and programming. I’m proud to see the institution that counts my maternal grandparents, mother, sister and I as emeritus, surviving and thriving.

But I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the play lot without warning. Self-inflicted head injuries aside, nothing bad ever happened to me there. There aren’t a lot of environments about which I can say this from that period of my life. I took a disbelieving Bob for a viewing of the site on our first date. He’d lived 150 feet away from the mini-playground for three and a half years without ever suspecting its existence. It was a safe, happy space that felt like the special secret of 22 years’ worth of children who passed through Pilgrim’s hallways. Kids like myself who had no other place to channel Madonna with abandon.

I have no idea what they plan to do replace the old turf and dismantled equipment. I was hoping that the project workers would move pieces of the geodesic dome into the alley dumpster, where I’d look for an advantageous time to swipe a memento. A metal bar that may once have supported my small head. But it seems like there was an independent pickup of the play lot’s remains. I hope it means the stomping grounds of my early childhood will be rebuilt somewhere else, allowing spirited little girls to perform modern musical acrobatics.

Change is a necessary part of life, although it would be swell if it were less painful. I’m keeping an open mind. For all I know the old play lot simply made way for something even more thrilling. A place to build new memories. School starts again next week and Bob and I can always use a date night.

Are You Ready for Some Football Wrigleyville Nation? Probably Not

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“This season has been an emotional roller coaster. Wrigleyville Nation hasn’t been able to look away for a minute. And with the Cubs’ back to being the best team in baseball, with certain playoff odds (Don’t take my word – as of this morning, Baseball Prospectus lists them at 100 percent), I have little energy or enthusiasm for a fantasy draft. How we can we possibly think of football at a time like this?!

Obviously this post is written with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, but just a little. My NFL fantasy league draft is set for September 4 and I have to give the commitment some real thought. In years prior, I welcomed gridiron distractions from lackluster baseball seasons, but this is the dawn of a new era. If the baseball gods smile fortunately upon the North Side of Chicago, we’ll be watching Cubs action through October – eight full weeks past the NFL kickoff. What’s a sports fan with only so much emotional bandwidth to do?”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Hillary Clinton’s Patriotic Ride Reinforces DNC 2016’s Savvy, Inclusive Message

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“I never understood why the left let most of the 2000s and a good part of this decade pass playing defense. As if somehow wanting a country that works for all instead of carrying the water pail for the one percent, while indulging the cultural wars of the religious right, was heretical and un-American. The purveyors of the Iraq War (Part 2), who passed unprecedented, unaffordable tax cuts and made a Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage a centerpiece of the party platform mystifyingly won the PR battle for which movement represented “real Americans.”

Democrats should not have needed the Trump phenomenon to help them articulate a vision for the country that also conveys love for it. After all the party’s planks, even before Bernie Sanders helped pushed them farther left, are about creating equal opportunity and freedom for all – not just rich, white, cisgendered males. And liberals shouldn’t have required the impetus of an ominous, fearful and whitewashed RNC 2016 to point out that say, the GOP might not speak to who and what we are after all. But better late than never I suppose.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.