Chuck Todd and the Rest of Mainstream Media Finally Recognize Bernie Sanders’ Existence


“Todd was speaking of results from two new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of likely voters from Iowa and New Hampshire. The latest data shows Hillary Clinton with just a three-point lead over Bernie Sanders in the Hawkeye State. Meanwhile in Granite territory, Sanders is ahead of Clinton by four points. So yes, it is clear we have a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination. My question for Chuck Todd and the rest of the mainstream media: but haven’t we always? Why is conventional wisdom and corporate marketing so quick to count out Bernie?”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz Give Ambivalent Clintonites the Holiday Bern


“By the time the DNC suspended the Sanders campaign’s access to a voter data system the day before the third debate, and just six weeks before primaries begin, only the most stubbornly naïve Clintonite could dismiss reality. The DNC deck has been corruptly shuffled in Hillary’s favor. Many are calling for Wasserman Schultz’s resignation. This disgrace is more than just unbecoming of party leadership that purports to represent inclusive ideals. It’s an unforced error, creating an ugly holiday scandal when loyal Democrats should be enjoying a season of calm. Has party leadership watched or listened to the opposition lately?”

Read the full post at Contemptor.


Citizens United Responsible for the Trump Phenomenon? Yep.

donald trump singing

“Throughout the 2016 primary season, I have been irked over and again by comparisons between Democratic candidate and Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, and loudmouth Republican cartoon Donald Trump. Beyond tapping into the frustration of their respective parties, what could these two men possibly have in common besides being white, male and over the age of 65? And then this week, as I listened to Bernie Sanders solicit campaign donations from the debate podium (resulting in a quick $1.3 million from liberals Feelin’ the Bern), it hit me.

I may not like it. Sanders might not like it. But yes, after all, these two politically divergent men have a very important connection driving their primary fortunes. Fucking Citizens United.”

Click here to read the full article on the Contemptor website.

A Tree Named Sanders Fell on 2016, So Why Don’t Republicans Hear It? (August 16, 2015)


History is littered with the names of once promising, supposedly viable nominees for the nation’s highest office who had their hopes dashed under the weight of scandal and/or unreasonably high personal and public expectations. This is true of both parties from all relevant American epochs. A few examples include William Henry Seward, Gary Hart, Howard Dean, John McCain and current 2016 favorite Hillary Clinton. All these names and more have known the sting of presumed favorite status, turned bridesmaid humiliation, a sense of inevitability deflated.

Such is not the case with one Bernard Sanders, who announced his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination on April 30, 2015. While providing the progressive electoral jolt predicted by amateur pundits everywhere, even liberal media outlets such as NPR refused to take the Vermont senator seriously. Labeling his bid a “long shot,” conventional wisdom had Sanders as either (depending upon your side of the aisle) a fun variable forcing Clinton to move left, or an old, hippie, single-issue crank.

But a funny thing has happened over the course of the last three and a half months. Despite many fewer resources of all campaign kinds, Bernie Sanders is gaining steam. Earlier this week, the Boston Herald‘s Joe Battenfeld published an interpretation of the Brooklyn, New York native’s recent swell,Poll: Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in N.H., 44-37. Within the piece he characterizes Sanders’ popular momentum as “a stunning turn in a race once considered a lock for the former secretary of state.” In March the same poll in question, conducted by the Herald in conjunction with Franklin Pierce University, showed Sanders trailing Clinton in a big way at 44-8.

The Clinton campaign must be worried. It’s only natural. But my question this week: why don’t Republicans seem concerned about anyone but the former New York senator as a potential opponent? This is another in a long series of miscalculations from the GOP machine.

In fact, though our own Jason Easley reported that Bernie Sanders Was The Most Retweeted Candidate During The Republican Debate, that party’s representatives paid him no attention at all. While Donald Trump infought with Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly and anyone else who pressed him for actual policy positions, Sanders captured the social media zeitgeist by taking his trademark blunt ax to the foolishness: “It’s over. Not one word about economic inequality, climate change, Citizens United or student debt. That’s why the Rs are so out of touch.”

Trump, who has disparaged nearly every American in some outrageous fashion since announcing his own run, only got around to lambasting Sanders’ “weakness” a few days ago. On August 8, the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump wrote the somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Losers: A List by Donald Trump and Bernie wasn’t even mentioned. He couldn’t secure the same rhetorical ire as Glenfiddich Scotch, which isn’t even a sentient being.

So what gives? Why the rhetorical quiet from the right in the face of Sanders’ increasingly mighty roar? The answer is probably fairly simple. If Republicans fear another four (or eight years) of Executive Branch banishment at the hands of Hillary Clinton, they’re downright panicked at the idea of President Sanders. And the underpinnings of that fear are offered by Bernie’s now-ubiquitous GOP debate tweet.

With characteristic real-talk he identified four conservative untouchables that he’d have no problem confronting from the White House: economic inequality, climate change, the flood of money in politics and the crushing debt load of our country’s students. Though one man can only do so much without the active participation of Congress (just ask President Obama), Sanders as POTUS means the absolute end of business as usual. Even those who dislike the man know he’s authentic. He can’t be bought. Sanders’ refreshing lack of scripted phoniness, combined with a platform that promotes true democratic opportunity, is what’s warming public perception. That should scare the backward-looking, cynical party of Koch.

As they have in response to many of the country’s challenges, Republicans are choosing the fingers in ears approach to the threat of Bernie Sanders. If like the disparity of class and racial opportunity, environmental decay and gun violence, they ignore it, well then it doesn’t exist. And the party methodology is failing. Again.



The Albany Park Theater Project describes itself as a “multiethnic, youth theater ensemble that inspires people to envision a more just and beautiful world.”

At the curtain drop of the troupe’s latest production, a remounting of its 2010 “downtown debut,” “Feast,” ANTP Artistic Director David Feiner confessed to pride in the college attendance rate of the program’s graduates equal to satisfaction with the show. Many of the company’s committed children matriculate and become first generation university students from hardworking immigrant families. It’s an inspiring accomplishment and message in a post-Great Recession country where the American Dream often feels more elusive than ever.

APTP is a worthy non-profit, deserving of the Chicago theater community’s patronage. It would be so even if it produced mediocre artistic offerings. Luckily for all parties, including fans of good work, Albany Park Theater Project offers some of the most exciting, visceral, rhythmic storytelling in the Windy City. “Feast” marks the company’s fifth straight partnership season with the legendary Goodman Theatre.

Having been privileged enough to see and review the group’s 2013 foreclosure crisis-themed stunner, “I Will Kiss These Walls,” as well as a later examination of the nation’s broken immigration system, “Home/Land,” I have long admired the intersection of bold socioeconomic commentary, good writing and go-for-broke performances that are the hallmarks of an APTP experience.

Moreover, the results are completely unforced. With “Feast,” billed per press materials as “a 90-minute piece that explores food’s role in nourishing individuals and communities,” the group’s 2010 class did their research. Collaborating with adult theater mentors, the young artists “conducted more than two dozen interviews,” resulting in a script that asks a briskly paced series of existential questions. How does hunger (or abundance) affect personal security, the soul, the creative spirit, pride and family?

Though the APTP vision and mission is bigger than any one year’s cast, the quality of the performances in “Feast” is simply overwhelming — in all the right and sometimes purposely painful ways. A prime example occurs in the Link Card vignette. Featuring three young ladies with diametric views of the digital food stamps, the script is brave enough to consider Link as an application process fraught with bilingual tension, a source of well-fed joy, however brief, and a bottomless source of social shame. There are no wrong interpretations and no judgment.

But there are amazing acrobatic feats, a child’s soliloquy and an angry, defiant determination to break the cycle of poverty. Three voices and a full picture of an issue that is finally gaining the increased attention it deserves with this decade’s Occupy Wall Street movement, the rise of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s voice and the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.

Income inequality is having its moment, but as “Feast” makes clear, issues of hunger and want go back generations — to the fields of the Philippines and the villages of Mexico, as well as the cities, suburbs and towns in the United States. Food is wrapped in ritual, in love, in opportunity, in perceived success. However the weight of these concerns are nicely balanced in the production through stylistic APTP trademarks that lighten the load.

The kids transition in and out of the performance with a unified percussive display that demands their feet, hands and copious energy to make a joyful but large statement. We are here. This issue is here. And none of us are going anywhere until we figure it out. Because people who work hard and dream should have enough in their bellies to sustain their bodies and spirits.

It’s tough to single out any one performer from the harmoniously accomplished cast of 25. There are beautiful but haunting voices, dancers, drummers, gymnasts, physical comedians and touching dramatists. The tapestry of an imperfect reality held up for our collective examination. Albany Park Theater Project’s triumphant “Feast” is a deliberately hungry celebration of the company’s past, in the critical present, that deserves a very popular near future. See it.

“Feast” runs through August 16 at the Goodman Theatre, 1170 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL. For information or tickets, call 312-443-3800 or visit the Goodman Theatre website.