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One step closer to unlocking the U.S. Senate.

At long last, a sitting Democratic President of the United States has publicly announced that he is in favor of having the U.S. Senate operate as the Constitution intended. President Biden, himself a relic of the Senate, announced at the G-&7 this morning that he is willing to suspend the archaic filibuster rules in the upper chamber — in order to codify abortion rights into law. This means NOT requiring 60

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Doug Levy, President & General Manager, Univision Television & Radio, Chicago

Tigers vs. Tigers: BCS Championship Preview

With the possible exception of The Masters, there’s no sport I love watching more than college football — and tonight’s championship game between LSU and Clemson has the makings of an epic. A classic. An epic-classic. It’s the undefeated Tigers versus the other undefeated Tigers. The mascots may carry the same name, but these two teams are anything but mirror images. Louisiana State is ranked #1 in the

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Interview with Eddie Bocanegra, Gun Safety Leader and Senior Director at READI Chicago

Michael Golden: I’m speaking today with someone who’s a leader in Chicago, and he's a guy who walks the walk because he's lived it. His name is Eddie Bocanegra, he's a senior director at Heartland Alliance, and he basically runs the READI Chicago program under Heartland which is geared toward slashing gun violence. And for people who don't know about this, Eddie and his staff work with people all over the South a

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Eddie Bocanegra, Gun Safety Leader and Senior Director at READI Chicago

Jarrett Adams, Civil Rights Attorney & Exonoree

The under-recognized source of the furious hyper-partisanship playing out in the House Impeachment debate

Why do they all sound so angry? Why does the impeachment debate on the House floor seem like a clash of two entirely different species? For quite a long time now, I have been making a public case that the disastrous performance and unpopularity of the US Congress cannot simply be blamed on the individuals we send there. We've been electing people for 230 years — so it ain't just that. What I've argued, i

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Should our country crash? Is that what half of America is saying? Lessons from “Airplane!”

About halfway through the spoof "Airplane!”, when it looks like the crash is imminent, they cut to newscasters around the world predicting the tragedy in different languages. Even a cameo by Pat Sajak. Then the directors cut to a news debate show where an arrogant blowhard speaks condescendingly to his female opponent – then turns to the camera for the deadpan punch line: "Shanaaah! They bought their ticket

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Jimmy Greenfield, Chicago Tribune Sports Reporter

Madeleine Doubek, Executive Director, CHANGE ILLINOIS

Trump and Ambassador Sondland: Are all of the president’s men arrogant – or just “not that bright”?

"Follow the money." Those three words comprise the most famous line from the 1976 Watergate epic, All The President's Men. The flick itself is one of my all-time favorites, but there's another line from Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-nominated screenplay that's always stuck with me most. I'll get to the quote in a minute. But first a little background. "Deep Throat" is the character who tells Washington Post reporters

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Dr. Jeffrey Fishbein, Sport Psychologist, Chicago White Sox

Will Democrats find their “Good Fellas” witness to sing on Trump in impeachment hearings?

The reason it is so difficult to convict high-level criminals — including crooked politicians — is that they are usually well insulated. This is something that is conferred by power. The more powerful, the more insulated.  If you’re a Mafia boss, for example, you don’t need to talk on the phone when you’re ordering an assassination. When you’re that powerful, lieutenants come to you. One word, one wav

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Gilad Gordon, Watergate Impeachment Hearing Attendee

Loriana Hernandez-Aldama, Cancer Conqueror, Founder, Armor Up For Life

Soledad O’Brien, Executive Producer, “Hungry to Learn”

A city still segregated

There’s something about Chicago. We lifers can feel it in our bones. It’s a pride tempered by humility. Yet plenty gritty. There’s not a trace of doubt in it. Chicagoans believe we live in the best city in America. At the same time, a whole lot of us know that our city sits at a perilous point in its history. More than a crossroad; a crucible. Chicago faces a set of seemingly intractable problems. Some new, bu

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Wicked Don won’t lose his broomstick until Senate Dorothys see the right poll numbers for conviction and removal

Impeaching and convicting a president — especially in the modern media age — is all about numbers. Popular opinion. Same thing.  Perhaps it has always been thus, but the immediacy today of the moving parts and how they move the numbers cannot be ignored. Thursday’s floor vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry into allegations that President Trump pressured a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 elec

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If the American Dream is still alive, it is demonstrated (and protected) by the life lived by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

The expression "the American Dream" was first popularized nearly a century ago by a successful businessman and historian named James Truslow Adams. In his book, The Epic of America, Adams defined the dream as a land where “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." These days, talk of the dream conjures up imagery more reflective of

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A reading from the 1987 conspiracy movie “No Way Out” – and how the GOP is acting it out 30 years later

The Uber-Chicagoan

The Cubs-themed floor mats — lined by blue track lights — are the first thing you notice inside Santiago’s Honda Odyssey. Next thing you see is the Chicago Bears flag proudly unfurled from the back of his seat. Look closer at the driver and you see he’s got a Bears shirt on. Look up and The Blues Brothers is playing on the overhead screen. They’re all conversation-starters on their own, but toget

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Impeachment inquiry vote gets scheduled – House Majority finally catches up to the majority of voters

Finally. The full House Majority will vote this week to officially do WHAT THEY'RE ALREADY DOING. A resolution will be introduced on the floor tomorrow and then Thursday the House will pass it. About time, gelatin Democrats. Get your balls out in front of you. You should have done this weeks ago. The Speaker will say this is a vote to "affirm" or "confirm" the impeachment inquiry, but that's just semantics.

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Killing ISIS leader a victory for Trump, but won’t thwart political reckoning

I turned on the news this morning just as the president was announcing the killing of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, a principal of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump took an appropriately serious tone and made fewer errors than in past national addresses. While he gave out too much operational detail and did the usual self-congratulatory thing, his announcement will have his supporters busting. Plenty of

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Shelley Jacobs, Founder, Chicago Is My Boyfriend on Instagram

Kate Sullivan, Host of “To Dine For” on PBS

Is impeachment the right choice for Democrats?

Pat Quinn, Former Governor of Illinois

Carol Marin, National Award-Winning Journalist, WMAQ-TV & WTTW-TV

Rick Kogan interviews Michael Golden about Unlock Congress

Karen Cohn, Co-Founder, The Zac Foundation

Alex Batdorf, Founder & CEO, Get Sh!t Done

How Nixon’s legacy is protecting Trump

Deep down in a cache of documents at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library Education and Museum sits a 15-page memorandum entitled "A Plan For Putting The Media GOP On TV News." The memo, dug up by journalist John Cook in 2011, was written two years before Nixon's 49-state landslide reelection in 1972. Even five decades ago, Republicans perceived news coverage of their party to be the unfair product of a liberal

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Kawhi Leonard and Ryan O’Reilly: mirror journeys to two national titles

NBA and NHL players are rarely compared. Besides being professional athletes, they don’t have a ton in common. But I couldn’t help noticing last week that the MVPs of each league’s Finals, Toronto Raptor Kawhi Leonard and St. Louis Blue Ryan O’Reilly, have traveled an eerily similar path over the last year. Both born in 1991, 27 years later Leonard and O’Reilly would get traded in the same month to new tea

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“The Fulcrum” launches – Michael Golden talks about the new national political reform publication

The 2020 presidential election will tell us who we are

  I saw this difference of opinion scrawled on a wall at Gino’s East restaurant last Friday night.   Right before I snapped the shot of it, I thought to myself, what a picture perfect image to represent the politically divisive sign of the times. But if you think about it, it’s far more than that. This handwriting on the wall is a preview of what’s going to be the ultimate societal Rorscha

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One Million Degrees of difference

I’d like to introduce you to a few people. And then I’d like to explain why. [caption id="attachment_734" align="aligncenter" width="640"] In May of 2019, Kennedy-King College valedictorian Cindy Alvarez speaks to her fellow One Million Degrees Scholars and supporters.[/caption]   Three years ago, Cindy Alvarez was a mother of five teenagers with a high school diploma. The thought of starting commun

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The lesson of RFK: To inspire an audience, show them your inspiration

  You are a better public speaker right now than the late Robert F. Kennedy was when he ran for the US Senate. Of course, I don’t know this for a fact, But there’s a pretty good chance it’s true, for RFK appeared lost in front of microphones and audiences during his first campaign. Yet by the time of his tragic passing four years later, Americans were hanging on his every word. What changed? Practice he

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Doug Schenkelberg, Executive Director, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Eric Zorn, Columnist, Chicago Tribune

Mary Ann Ahern, NBC-5 Chicago Political Reporter

Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun-Times

Shameful College Admission Scandal A Reminder Of What Actually Matters Along Life’s Early Journey

The payoffs made to Rick Singer in the college admission scandal make me furious — not only because of the greed and dishonesty of the entitled Hollywood offenders, but also because of their sheer ignorance. It is NOT ESSENTIAL to attend an “elite” university to live an excellent life. In fact, the Gallup-Purdue Index of more than 70,000 graduates — from people out of school for 10 years to 50 years — repo

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On WGN-AM, Michael Golden talks about the history of segregation in Chicago

Kirsten Powers, CNN Analyst and USA Today Columnist

Melissa Henneberger, USA Today Columnist

Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ)

Transgender independence: A daughter’s journey and her father’s love

  “You’re transitioning from one body to another. From one gender to another. But it’s more than that. I’ve always been the same up in my head. Deep inside I’ve always been the same person. But my body - it was just different. And I wanted to make corrections. I wanted to change myself so I felt more comfortable. And I felt more comfortable in a woman’s body. And that’s who I truly was. I wanted

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Democrats win 40 House seats to regain the majority – Michael Golden on the meaning of the midterms

On WBBM’s “At Issue,” Craig Dellimore interviews Michael Golden about Unlock Congress

From drug addiction to deacon: A story of love and salvation from the man who lived it

Seventy-one year-old Calvin’s three grandkids call him “PawPaw.” He met his wife of 42 years when they were in middle school. True “soulmates,” he says. “We still have so much affection and love.” Storybook-sounding on the surface. You'd never know that beneath it all, Calvin and Gwendolyn were both were addicted to drugs and alcohol for years. “Those were tough times to go through. Being homeless.

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The great American story: Once a refugee, now a nominee

  As a child, Safiya Wazir lived in Afghanistan under the threat of the Taliban, hiding from shootings and bombings. Today, 27-year-old Safiya is the Democratic nominee for state rep. in New Hampshire’s 8th Ward. Some Americans are just unstoppable. Safiya’s family fled the Taliban when she was six for Uzbekistan. There, she was shamed by classmates — called a “terrorist” and “Taliban kid.” Wi

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Our democracy’s stress test: It’s coming on election day

By Michael Golden and Norman J. Ornstein There’s an old saying that in a democracy, people get the government they deserve. The 2018 midterm elections just might prove that theory once and for all. The lightning-rod presidency of Donald Trump has been described as “unprecedented” and “divisive.” But it’s been far more than that. The last 18 months have tested our institutions and system

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The politics of Rahm Emanuel’s retirement from the Mayor’s Office

Annafi Wahed, Founder, The Flip Side

The political divide does not require us to demonize

We don’t have to demonize each other, just because we vehemently disagree with one another. I have never felt universal hatred for Americans who support this President. I’ve felt anger, shock, confusion, sadness, but never hatred. And I’m not being patronizing. If anything, I’ve strived harder to try to better understand people who support a person who disgusts me on a daily basis. This is one of the lesso

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Jennifer Rodgers, CNN Legal Analyst

Win, Tiger, win.

  There’s nothing in America like a comeback. Especially from the depths of public failure. In this country, we love to see people get knocked down when they deserve it — and then we cheer for them to climb their way back up the mountain. Muhammad Ali, Bill Clinton, Richard Pryor, Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, Sinatra, Robert Downey, Jr., etc., etc. And there’s nothing like watching the drama unfold in

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Trump And Putin in Helsinki: For the president’s supporters, the true moment of truth

To my friends who voted for this President because they believed that there were genuine positions he held that would improve their lives: First of all, I get it. I don’t agree, but I get it. Setting aside the awful, racist, mendacious behavior of the man (and I can’t set it aside, but some folks can) — I get it. Maybe you wanted lower taxes. Maybe you couldn’t stand Hillary Clinton. Maybe you just wanted a

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You may wonder where I’ve been

  You may wonder where I’ve been. Why you haven’t seen much of me. Why you haven’t heard much from me. After all, I was the President of the United States for eight years. Naturally, I care. Obviously, I’m watching. And listening. There is a tradition in our country, especially in the modern era, that a former president doesn’t engage in public criticism of a sitting U.S. President. There are excepti

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Journalists are patriots

Journalists are patriots. I don’t write much after these shootings occur. Like you, all of them just make me sick. So sad. So damn sad. But today’s mass murder didn’t make me sad. It made me angry. I could feel it in my blood. I attended a political event tonight where interesting speakers talked about interesting things. Yet mostly I was thinking of those journalists who died at the Capital Gazette. In an i

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The full scope of what America’s dumb immigration system costs us

  (The following is an excerpt from Unlock Congress, published in 2015 by Why Not Books) Near universal agreement exists that our approach to both legal and illegal immigration is causing the country pain. The last major immigration legislation Congress passed was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (Simpson-Mazzoli Act) — a law whose consequences remain controversial nearly thirty years later. Y

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Tina Rosenberg, Founder, Solutions Journalism Network

J.D. Grom., Executive Director, New Democrat Coalition

Self-made

There’s a guy I know. Friend of mine. Twenty-five years ago, when he was about 25, he moved to New York. What he’d thought was a good work opportunity out West turned out to be anything but. So he applied for some jobs in Gotham and hopped a flight to attend some interviews. He was offered a job as a staff accountant at an investment services company. The salary was 40K. He took it. My friend flew back, picke

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Evelyn Diaz, President, Heartland Alliance

More than 12,000 Americans have taken different paths to serving in the U.S. Congress — here’s One.

  [caption id="attachment_2667" align="aligncenter" width="640"] U.S. Representative Melissa Bean wins reelection to her second term in Congress on Nov. 4, 2006.[/caption] This is a reprinted excerpt from Unlock Congress: Reform the Rules — Restore The System, published by WhyNotBooks. As a kid, Melissa Bean was loaded with energy and loved to read. She attended public schools and her parents expected and

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To connect with your audience – be YOURSELF

By the time I presented Al Gore with the pages of the speech I’d written for him, his appearance was already running late. It was 2004, and the former Vice President had flown into St. Joseph, Missouri to rally up the troops on behalf of the party’s presidential nominee, John Kerry. At the time, I was Kerry’s Communications Director in the Show Me State, and I had never met Gore before. He was incredibly gra

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Allison Task, Coach and Author of “Personal (R)evolution”

Fearing the unknown is normal; pushing past it is the real juice

All those months of saving articles, transcribing research and refining my precious little book outline — yet I still hadn’t written the first word. Would I ever? Could I ever? It was a summer day in 2013. I was standing on Michigan Avenue along Chicago’s Mag Mile, blathering into a cell phone to my author friend Bridget. Once again, I was all fired up about my latest idea on how to repair what I referred to

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Bethany McClean, Author, Vanity Fair Contributor

Sergio’s 13 tops Tin Cup’s 12: the “Anything is possible” principle

Today, in the first round of the 2018 Masters, the defending champion, Sergio Garcia, actually made a 13 on the par-5 15th hole. It was stunning. And for a whole lotta golfers and golf fans, it was an instant reminder of the fictional plot in the movie Tin Cup. I’ve watched Tin Cup many, many times. If you’re a pure golfer, you love it. Not that it’s a truly great flick; cable ratings usually won’t peg it an

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Nick Penniman, Founder and CEO, Issue One

Norman Ornstein: Congressional Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Neal Simon, Maryland Candidate for U.S. Senate

Michael Golden talks about the Unrig The System Summit in New Orleans

James Kaplan, Sinatra Biographer: “The Voice,” “The Chairman”

Lou Weisbach, Cofounder, American Center for Cures

Jamie and Paul Vallas, Daughter and Father talk about Jamie’s transgender journey

The ageless lesson: Let yourself do good

  After Seth finished his final exam, he walked up to the front of class and handed me a letter. The last sentence alone made all the difference: “I learned a lot about Congress, American history and the true nature of politics – but I also learned what I am capable of. And how I can use that to help others.” As wonderful as this was to read, there was a deeper admission within his lette

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Arizona State Barrett Honors Students Talk Politics

No matter who the new Speaker is, real dysfunction lies deeper

Retirement. Boehner’s no-brainer. He welcomed Pope Francis, and then made his announcement even before His Holiness had left the country. The Speaker was just sick and tired of navigating the political minefield that is the U.S. House of Representatives. And who could blame him.   Now everyone expects the page to turn. But as it does, we see plenty of hand-wringing about who will grab the gavel as the

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Taking cues from our kids: Lessons learned from “Maine Girls”

  [caption id="attachment_709" align="aligncenter" width="820"] The girls of “Maine Girls,” a new documentary co-directed by Yael Luttwak and Abigail Tannebaum Sharon.[/caption]   “I think post-election, I wish that everyone across the whole country could have the opportunity to be in a group like this - where you get to meet people from all over the world. People who’ve live in the U.S. th

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Brad Herzog, Author & Idea Catcher

Bob Hercules, Documentary Filmmaker

Heidi Pryzbyla, Reporter, USA Today

Wendy Falcon, Author, “Turn Your Life Insight Out”

Daniel Biss, State Senator, candidate for Governor of Illinois

The nuisance of nuance: one president’s doubling down on the dumbing down of American politics

“The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald From as far back as the founders, there has never been an expectation that our national government would personify the kind of “first rate intelligence” described above by Fitzgerald. But throughout our history, the fact that our

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Josh Silver, REPRESENT.US

J’aime Radow, Life Coach & Brand Consultant

Rick Pearson, Chief Political Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Karen Hinton, Founder, Hinton Communications

James Strock, Author, “Disrupt Politics”

Rob Richie & Nick Stephanopoulos, Fairvote & University of Chicago

For love of golf

There is a beauty about the game of golf that is hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t played the game. But let's give this a shot. [caption id="attachment_739" align="aligncenter" width="2304"] Me, on the 7th tee at Pebble Beach Golf Links, 2005.[/caption] No one shot is ever the same as another. Ever. There are thousands of fields you play this sport on — and every one of them is totally singular. A base

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Lawrence Lessig, Founder, Equalcitizens.US

Max Temkin, Founder, Cards Against Humanity

Chris Kennedy, candidate for Governor of Illinois

Three debates, two polar opposites candidates, one common need

Hillary Clinton has been repeatedly quoting Maya Angelou along the presidential campaign trail, imploring voters to believe the first impressions they received from Donald Trump. But with under eight weeks to go, and three upcoming debates, Clinton might want to review another slice of wisdom from Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people

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U.S. Representative John Delaney

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