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Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky riffs on the day's stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty, and interviews politicians, activists, journalists and other political know-it-alls. Presented by the Chicago Reader, the show is available by 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at chicagoreader.com/joravsky or on the Reader's YouTube channel—or wherever you podcast. Don't miss Oh, What a Week!--the Friday feature in which Ben & producer Dennis (aka, Dr. D.) review the week's top storie ...
 
Back by popular demand: The Back Room Deal features radio personality and longtime Reader political writer Ben Joravsky arguing local Chicago politics with Reader senior writer Maya Dukmasova. With sharp wit and stinging analysis, Joravsky and Dukmasova cut through the smokey haze of the elections to offer you a glimpse of the 2020 Chicago-area Illinois primary races—local and Cook County-level and, of course, U.S. presidential. Will these historic elections be determined in back-room deals, ...
 
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show series
 
The Sun-Times and WBEZ hook up. Ben riffs. Anna Feuer--Art Institute employee--returns to talk about their sucessful union drive. Yes, Art Institute employees voted to join a union! And Ken Davis--legendary--radio journalist makes his long-awaited return to tell Ben to stop giving him, Ken, credit for inventing the WBEZ pledge drive. Ben continues …
 
Courtney Sauls is an actress & yogi. She plays Brooke in Dear White People, the Netflix series. She talks about the legacy of the late Sidney Poitier and what Ben can do to make good on his New Year's resolution to be more positive in 2022. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do…
 
Microsoft buys Activism Blizzard for $70 billion. Obviously, capitalism has lost its mind. Ben riffs. Monroe Anderson returns to talk Ukraine. And then South Bend, Indiana Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. joins the discussion about Blacks for Trump. Also, Coach Nick Saban weighs in for voting rights. Henry thinks Deion Sanders has something to do with i…
 
The great Les Grobstein dies at age 69. Ben riffs. And Troy LaRaviere--president of the Chicago Principals Association--returns. The conversation starts with how MAGA uses Martin Luther King, moves on to Mayor Lightfoot's curious attitude toward COVID, and concludes with a powerful riff about the corporate interests who call the shots. Also, why pr…
 
David Faris returns to analyze the bleak reality--it's been one year since the insurrection and Republicans are more determined than ever to make sure the next coup is successful. It's up to Democrats to save democracy. Also, a classic Farisian riff on Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Priva…
 
ProPublica writer Mick Dumke returns to discuss his latest blockbuster article. It's about the fall of a Black-owned bank. But it's really about the limits of capitalism. One thing leads to another and the topic turns to crime. And Mick confronts the irony of Mayor Daley's former aide--Arne Duncan--talking about Chicago's retaliation culture. See P…
 
David Sirota is a journalist and former Bernie Sanders advisor. Now he's a movie producer and writer, having teamed up with Adam McKay to create Don't Look Up, currently the number-one movie on Netflix. David talks about how he and McKay "spitballed" the the movie into existence. Also, much discussion about the media, MAGA, corporate Dems, and clim…
 
Ben & Dr D riff on news from around the state. And to talk about the news out of Chicago, Stacy Davis Gates, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, makes a long-awaited return. The conversation covers everything from COVID protocols, to Mayor Lightfoot to Karen Lewis to the media to North Siders and much more. Including a word or two about B…
 
Ben gets an early morning text from Alderman Ramirez-Rosa blasting liberals. Also, Ben concedes--he agrees with Trump on one thing. And Maya Dukmasova, Injustice Watch reporter, talks judicial elections. And Peter Cunningham--former aide to Mayor Daley--talks Arne Duncan, rethinking crime, and the CTU/CPS impasse. See Privacy Policy at https://art1…
 
Ben & Dr. D run through the years top stories. But first DeMarvelous leads Ben on a trippy trip through the Metaverse. Is that Snoop Dogg I see? The biggest stories involve recent mayors, who have too much in common. Take me back to the Metaverse! See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/pri…
 
Chicago residents--or at least many of them--reveal they're not falling for the mayoral propaganda on her COVID fight with teachers. Ben says thank you. And Monroe Anderson on Biden's Voting Rights Speech. And Attorney Jim Coogan joins Monroe to address many of the political/legal issues of the day, including...Senator Paul v. Dr. Fauci; the Suprem…
 
The teachers and Mayor Lightfoot "cut a deal". Ben riffs. Lot of love for teachers! And two of Chicago's greatest lefties--Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Loreen Targos return. Loreen--a scientist and political strategist--talks about the rightward drift of Dems, who are "normalizing Trump" on COVID. And Byron talks about dealing with the mayor in …
 
Joshua Tepfer, attorney for the Exoneration Project, explains the case of Ronald Watts, a former Chicago police officer who allegedly ran a drug operation at the Ida B. Wells housing project for several years. If residents dared to protest, Watts and his partner would plant drugs on them and have them arrested. Over 100 convictions have since been …
 
Sun-Times editor/columnist Rummana Hussain closes out the year with her top 5 recommendations for 2021. Ben weighs in with a few of his obsessions. For a mediocre year, there was some good stuff in the universe. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.…
 
It's riffing time! Ben & Dr. D review the week's top stories. Congressman Bobby Rush's legacy. Governor Pritzker & his Republican rivals. And the big story--Mayor Lightfoot's ceaseless fight with the Chicago Teachers Union. Oh, what a great city we would have if Mayor Lightfoot were as forgiving to the teachers as she was to Bobby Rush. See Privacy…
 
Liberals pound away at the Chicago Teachers Union. Ben briefly riffs. And then Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa--the dean of City Council socialists--dissects the neo-liberal hatred of teachers unions. And Miles Kampf-Lassin, In These Times editor, talks about some of the more regressive responses to January 6. Bottom line--MAGA invades the U.S. Capito…
 
As CTU votes for virtual classrooms in face of COVID outbreak, Mayor Lightfoot's health commissioner says COVID's basically no worse than the flu. Ben riffs. And Monroe Anderson returns to talk January 6 anniversary. Also, writer/activist LeAlan Jones talks Congressman Bobby Rush and Black leadership in Chicago. And he explains why he thinks Stacy …
 
Congressman Bobby Rush announces he's not running for re-election. Ben riffs. And Inside Chicago Government's Dave Glowacz starts the New Year right--with a City Council roundup. It includes council debate over police shootings, Anjeanette Young and open meetings. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at http…
 
Ben & Dr. D sift through the wreckage of a year's worth of weeks. But first...Dr. D. opens up a portal to the Metaverse. Is that Welcome Back, Kotter we hear? Then it's on to stories 10-6. Lifeguards, teachers, congressmen, maps & more. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not…
 
Sergio Vicente, host of the Fight Podcast, returns to talk boxing, MMA & basketball. Ben criticizes the Paul brothers and Sergio--well, let's just say he doesn't back down. Plus, he has a word or two for the haters who doubt Ben's beloved and COVID-stricken Bulls. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at http…
 
In the middle of another COVID surge, over 20,000 people pack the United Center to watch the Bulls. Ben was one of them. Clearly, Mayor Lightfoot is not the only one sending out mixed messages about the pandemic. Ben riffs. And podcast host Marc Sims returns to talk about what's on his mind. In this case--the link between self hate and crime. See P…
 
Ben crosses COVID country as he flies home from California. Did the guy coughing on Ben's neck given him COVID? It's very scary out there, folks. And Monroe Anderson & Sergio Mims tag team on all the news of the year. Including an extended take on the Rhode Island Republican who lost her one Black friend cause of CRT. Can the news get weirder? See …
 
The Washington Post fact checker lists the biggest lies of 2021 as spread by our leaders, including the election was stolen, the vaccine doesn't work, the attempted Trump coup and other assorted MAGA whoppers. And then he throws in a lie from the Dems to prove that he's not partisan. David Faris & Ben analyzes the tactics behind the lies. And the f…
 
With the Bulls strong start to the season, it's time for Miles & and Benji the Bookie to reassess their pre-season predictions. In the case of Miles--he looks wise. In Benji's case--let's just say he has some explaining to do. Especially regarding his criticism of Mr. DeRozan, who's playing like a hall of famer. Ben takes an opportunity to rip coac…
 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019: Pritzker signs more bills. Lightfoot wants more security for Lollapalooza. Another Chicago alligator story? Maya Dukmasova of The Chicago Reader returns. Margie Fritz-Birch of the Edgewater Historical Society and Mr. Bike Dave Glowacz is back. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at …
 
To pay tribute to the life and legacy of the great Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who died last week at the age of 91, Ben turned to William Brown, a director, actor and singer. Brown talks about falling in love with Sondheim's work years ago--when he was kid in West Virginia. He sings a song or two. And Ben does his best not to join …
 
December 10,2021: It's that time of the week where Ben & Dr. D try to make sense of things that don't make sense. Like...the logic, or illogic, of the Republican candidates for governor. They don't actually have any ideas of how to fight crime. But they want to use crime to scare suburbanites into voting for them. Also, Mayor Lightfoot's texts. Wha…
 
Columnist Eric Zorn reveals he and his family have COVID. Ben riffs---and immediately books Eric for the show. And political strategist Delmarie Cobb returns. Among the topics--Black anti-vaxxers v. white ones. What motivates each group? Also, the message Dems send by making Mayor Rahm ambassador to Japan. And Delmarie's crystal ball. See Privacy P…
 
Achy Obejas is a poet, translator, novelist, journalist, and political junkie. She's also a friend of Ben from way back when. They start out talking about Boomerang, her latest collection of poetry. And wind up taking the deep dive on everything from the politics of abortion to what the Democrats have to do to save America and beat MAGA. See Privac…
 
Obviously, the country as a whole has decided to take a page from the NBA and keep on rolling in the face of the latest COVID outbreak. Ben riffs. Monroe Anderson describes a pending civil war. And jazz professor/trumpet player Charles Ellison returns to talk Trane. Specifically, John Coltrane's "striving for unobtainable excellence". Not to be mis…
 
Monkeys blindly avenge dogs. Ben riffs. And Miles Kampf-Lassin, editor/writer from In These Times, returns with much on his mind. The "learned helplessness" of Dems. COVID as wedge issue against Trump. Manchin the Republican. And what's with workers buying Christmas presents for their bosses? See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and Cali…
 
Sun-Times editor/columnist Rummana Hussain and Ben explain why they're not jumping for joy with the guilty verdict for Jussie Smollett. A word or two about reportorial rivalries, the mayor's texts and the rampant hate of the Republican Party. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#…
 
So much news, so little time. Ben & Dr. D take the deep dive on the news of the week, including Ken "Kenny G" Griffin showing his dissatisfaction with MAGA. Hey, AGA, if you take the man's money, you got to dance to his tune. And Mayor Lightfoot does an experiment in casino promotion that also determines just how gullible Chicago voters can be. And…
 
MAGA loves Elon Musk, the world's richest man. Even though Elon Musk doesn't give a hoot about MAGA. Ben riffs. And Alejandra Cancino, investigative reporter for the BGA, talks about her excellent expose about the city's plans to "transform" Cabrini-Green. So many broken promises. And Raymond Richard, born and raised in Cabrini, explains why he thi…
 
Attorney Matt Topic has earned a reputation as the man who makes Chicago's mayors reveal the truth. How does he do that? By suing the city. Did you really think mayors would tell the truth unless someone made them? In particular, Matt talks about the great FOIA fight it took before Mayor Rahm finally released the video of the murder of Laquan McDon…
 
The headline in the BGA newsletter says it all. "Cabrini-Green Residents Were Promised 2,500 Construction Jobs. They got 40." As promises broken by Chicago mayors, this one may be the champ. Ben riffs. And shoutout to Alejandra Cancino, the reporter who wrote the story. Also Monroe Anderson returns. Talking Mark Meadow emails, Rand Paul hypocrisy, …
 
Some of the wealthiest men in Chicago come before the City Council looking for help making even more money than they already have. Ben riffs. Also, updates from special correspondents Eric Zorn and Linda "not married to Billy" Paul. And state Rep. Delia Ramirez returns to discuss her run for congress. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy…
 
David Faris explains how the three Trumpsters on the Supreme Court are joining forces with justices Thomas and Alito to eradicate Roe and eventually, if they have their way, outlaw abortions in America. How did we get here and where to go? Also, a breakdown of the Clinton factors--as in Bill--and how he's been a disaster for Democrats. See Privacy …
 
Ben roots for Jussie's acquittal. And gets kicked out of the columnist club. He riffs. And Miles Kampf-Lassin from In These Times, returns. Topics...Is the adoration of wealth more powerful than looking out for each other? What Biden should do? And how Dems should respond to the hostility and threatened violence of Republican elected officials. And…
 
There are some things to be thankful for, even when the political news is awful. Ben riffs. And Michael Gerardi, the man the critics call Chicago's Neil Young, makes his debut. Talking about surviving the madness of the times. It helps to sing a song every now and then. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice a…
 
At last night's First Tuesdays show at the Hideout, people were asking Ben was he serious about apologizing to Jussie Smollett. Ben responds. Also, Monroe Anderson talks Jussie, John Thompson and segregation. And Peter Goldman, author and journalist, makes his debut to talk about his classic book--The Death and Life of Malcolm X. Topics explored--w…
 
Jussie Smollett takes the stand. What if he was telling the truth all along? Ben riffs. And Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa--the dean of council Democratic Socialists--takes us to the "map room". In short, everything you need to know about the city council ward re-mapping process. It's not pretty, folks. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy…
 
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