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Carol Felsenthal
On Politics

5 years
ago

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis on Rahm, Brizard, Arne Duncan, and the Longer School Day

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has had some ugly squabbles with Rahm Emanuel—the longer school day battles, for starters, including his recent charge that the union is “cheating children out of an education”—and, in my opinion, she has often emerged the loser. Here’s part one of an edited transcript of our conversation—about Rahm, Jean-Claude Brizard, Arne Duncan, and the longer school day…

5 years
ago

Why Robert Blagojevich Wants to Appear Before the House Ethics Committee Investigation of Jesse Jackson Jr.

After the government dismissed charges against Robert “Rob” Blagojevich, the brother of former Governor Rod Blagojevich returned to Nashville with his wife to try to rebuild his business and his life. Why is he putting himself back in the spotlight, offering to travel to Washington to appear before members of the House Ethics Committee in its investigation of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.?

5 years
ago

Bill Clinton on Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, and Fixing the Economy

My last book was about Bill Clinton’s post-presidency. He was in exile back in 2001, almost broken by the Lewinsky scandal, with his outlandish pardon to billionaire Iran arms trader Marc Rich nearly finishing him off. Today, soaring in mass affection while his onetime nemesis Barack Obama (think 2008 primaries) sinks, Clinton is no longer anything close to an exile; he’s the toast of every town and country he visits. When news broke that he was coming to town for Chicago Ideas…

5 years
ago

Chicago Ideas Week Mayors Panel: Rahm Off His Game, Bloomberg Impressive, Reed One to Watch

After last night’s Mayoral Evening at the Oriental Theatre, part of the first-ever Chicago Ideas Week, I took an instant poll of those sitting near me, asking which of the three mayors in attendance—New York’s Michael Bloomberg, Atlanta’s Kasim Reed, and our own Rahm Emanuel—was most impressive. The folks around me confirmed my opinion: Rahm was…

5 years
ago

The President and His Mother-in-Law: Once a Lovely Notion, Now Material for Opponents’ Jokes

In 2009, Michelle Obama asked her widowed mother to leave her beloved South Shore bungalow to move with them to Washington. Back then, the country, no matter political affiliation, was taken with this family, and there seemed to be a general feeling of good will and admiration for the Obamas as they established an extended family in the private White House quarters. These days, not so much…

5 years
ago

Jean-Claude Brizard on Rahm, CTU President Karen Lewis, and More

Yesterday, I posted part one of my interview with Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. Here, part two of our conversation, in which he talks about his typical day, his relationship with Rahm and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, whether he’ll send his son to public school, and more…

5 years
ago

A Chat with Jean-Claude Brizard, the Personal and Professional

Jean-Claude Brizard, 48, a big man at six feet five—“I’m too fat,” he tells me—was standing outside his office at Clark, just north of Adams, waiting for me as I arrived last Thursday for a sit-down interview. His musical accent reveals his Haiti origins, although he has been in the U.S. since 1976, when he arrived in New York as a 12-year-old. He has been a…

5 years
ago

WVON’s Matt McGill Dishes on his Oval Office Meeting with President Obama

Reading Politico last month, I came upon an item about a WVON host going to D.C. for the dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial. While there, he would interview the president in the Oval Office. I called the station and discovered that the lucky radio guy was Matt McGill, the morning drive host for the city’s only black-owned and -operated…

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