Sometimes you meet someone: Charles K. Lewis. A Revolution and Beer exclusive


It wasn’t planned this unseasonably cool and breezy July day, but sometimes someone stumbles into our lives. That’s exactly what happened at the corner of Adams and Wabash in downtown Chicago today. I was biking along the lake and detoured into the city where I ran into a friend. I’d helped Tom Turner put together a homeless nonprofit on Chicago’s southside a bit better than a year ago. At the time Tom was on the street, struggling at the margins, when he hit upon the idea of what to do with the abandoned and foreclosed houses blighting predominantly black neighborhoods across the city. His plan worked, and this week he filed a lien in court to take full possession of the house he’s lived in and all but rebuilt for better than a year.
We were sitting in front of a little florist on Wabash, below the rattling and noisy El tracks, next to Miller’s Pub with its kitschy orange neon sign. Tom was working on the last half of a saved cigarette when a middle aged man walks up and asks Tom for a cigarette. Dropping the oversized green duffel bag to the sidewalk, the guy didn’t miss a beat when Tom replied that was all he had.
“Can I finish off that shorty, just a few puffs?”
“You bet,” says Tom.
He claimed to be a homeless veteran. You see a fair number of people in the city claiming to be. Some are. Some are not. There was something about this guy that was different.
“Charles K. Lewis, is my name,” he said immediately, and aside from Tom’s partly smoked cigarette, didn’t ask for money or anything else.
I picked up a vibe from this guy that he was not just down and out, but truly bewildered by it, and that shock and disillusionment was rather new to him. Charles in the picture is to the right of Thomas Turner. 20130729_104032[1]

Still, sensitive to people claiming veteran status, I respectfully and conversationally plied a few questions. What was his MOS? When did he deploy? Where did he deploy? With substantial military knowledge, a brother, friends and UN acquaintances deploying to Afghanistan, and a near visit myself to the region back in the early Nineties, I can spot BS a mile away. Not that I honestly make any greater distinction between a homeless vet or a homeless civilian. Need is need, but don’t BS me.
Charles fired back his MOS, or specialty, in the Marine Corps. He’d trained as a gunners mate, but saw combat as part of a Combined Reconnaissance Team, or CRT. He’d served from 1997 through 2008, deploying to Afghanistan at the end of his military stint. It was quickly clear that his experiences there deeply affected him we commiserated over shared combat experiences. Anyone who has suffered or experienced PTSD firsthand easily can distinguish a pretender.
Charles related how his VA benefits had been sent by mistake to his ex-wife, and could not get the issue resolved. Forced to move in with family involved, he said, with drugs, an untenable situation for Charles, he left with nowhere to go. Charles, who had been looking for work for sometime without luck had been on the street a traumatic and confusing 8 days. A friend had offered him a room in West Engelwood, but it wouldn’t be ready before the end of the week he said. Facing another 4 nights homeless, for the first time in his life, was almost too much for this proud man who is about to turn 50 in August. As we were talking another African American man overheard that Charles was recently made homeless.
“You a Devil Dog?’ said the man, a euphemism for the Marines
“Oo-rah!” replied Charles.
“Semper Fi,” the other man shot back. “Don’t you know about Safe Haven? They should have told you about that at the VA. They will get you into a place tonight.”
Safe Haven, according to their website at, has “three types of Veteran housing based on individual need, assessment and eligibility, including transitional housing, per diem housing and permanent affordable housing. Veterans have access to the appropriate level of housing which may include full wrap-around services; supportive housing and employment services; to independent permanent affordable housing. Based on the assessment and eligibility, a Veteran can start at the transitional housing stage and work their way progressively through our housing programs.”
But Charles had not heard of Safe Haven. Asking both men what they were told of veterans benefits and support when leaving the military, they simply looked at me as if I was speaking Chinese. Which begs the question of how that could happen? But the reality is that war is devastating well beyond the battlefield for many veterans. It is even more devastating when so-called support is token or hypocritical, and tendered grudgingly by politicians who use the military or their families as a populist placebo to placate and seduce working class and poor families against their better interests.
As for Charles K. Lewis, there is a sense of hurt and betrayal by a government he calls “the real criminal,” for what it has done to its veterans, and for what it is doing overseas. Charles and I are keeping in contact. There will be more on him later. Once he gets settled and catches his breath a bit we’ve vowed to sit down and tell his story in greater detail…and that we shall.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: Dunkel Weiss Throwdown, Bavaria vs. Chicago


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Debbie_mediumThere’s a great little hidden café beside the English Garden in Munich, Germany, sometimes called the “Naked” Garden. The first time I went to Munich I was all excited to see naked people frolicking in what amounts to a park in the heart of a bustling and historic city. Turns out, most of the naked people are these ex-hippie German guys. Not quite what I expected. Still, the English garden is an amazing place, pressed between the artsy and Bohemian shops of Schwabing and the Isar River. Presiding over nude sunbathers, ad hoc soccer games, picnicking families and strolling pensioners stands the classically inspired Monopteros. It’s always a destination when I visit, the café is the reward.

Munich's English Garden

Munich’s English Garden

Located on the quiet corner of Veterinar Strasse and Konigin Strasse , and shrouded in ivies and small trees, it is suitably insulated from the traffic rush and bustle along Ludwig Strasse. They serve a local Dunkel Weiss in tall, narrow Weiss glasses. this is the birthplace of the Weiss Beer, and though many have tried, that crown has remained properly secure, until now.

Could it be that the center of the Weiss Beer universe has shifted to Chicago? Gasp! Guffaw! Say it isn’t so! And I can hear all my German friends sharpening knives and soaking torches in oil.

Brian and I tried three different dark Weiss beers, and threw in another local traditional Weiss just for fun. The First, a Moosebacher Schwarze Weiss, has long been one of my favorites. It is a rich and mellow weisse, with fruity notes and rich dark malts. keep the lemon, or all the other hipster fruit garnishes. I want to taste the layers and character of a beer. Moosbacher is alw ays enjoyable, enlivening all those great memories of Munich.

Next we had to sample Franziskaner, though despite the pride inherent, it is a little sort of like Munich’s Budweiser. Ouch! Those knives are getting sharper. Lighter in character than the Moosebacher, this deep golden-brown brew, to be fair and accurate, is still a far sight better than Budweiser.

The surprise, the beer that stopped Brian and I in our tracks was not a Bavarian brew, but one from the Northside of Chicago. And to be honest, I didn’t want to like this beer as much as I did, and I certainly didn’t want to like it better than the age old German offerings. I’m proud to say II have tried several dozen Bavarian and German Dark Weiss beers, some made in small establishments and served fre sh as can be, but Spiteful Brewing’s Debbie Downer Dunkel Weizen really stole the show.

The author in Miltenberg, Bavaria

The author in Miltenberg, Bavaria

It packs a punch at 7%ABV. Rich with roasted malts with hints of plum and pair, extra black malt adds Debbie Downer’s extra depth. Perhaps not a traditional Weiss, Spitefuls offering is sort of like bell bottoms were to straight-legged slacks of the 50’s, not entirely original, but revolutionary just the same. The color was as dark as night, and though it didn’t hold the lacing quite as well as it’s Bavarian cousins, the depth of flavor certainly made up for that.

Just for fun, though now three beers into our little survey Brian and I weren’t quite as focused as when our little experiment began, we checked out Two Brother’s Edel Weiss. Not dark, but rather a crisp golden color with a thick white head, this offering from a great suburban Chicago brewer was fruity and pleasant, and on a par with the best German contemporaries.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at

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21st Century American Militarism

21st Century American Militarism

Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm @ The Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington, Chicago, IL

Our friends the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) sent along an invitation to attend this extremely timely and critical panel on US militarism in the 21st Century.

On Friday, August 2nd, a panel will discuss the context and consequences of our growing military presence and ongoing war theaters; along with how we can organize together to resist this violent and expensive trend. Panelists and attendees will consist of people who have experienced the chaos of it from all sides. Joining the panel will be:

  • Christian Parenti, writer of Tropic of Chaos
  • Historian and writer Nick Turse – author of “Kill Anything That Moves”
  • Michael Rakowitz
  • Suraia Suhar

Be a part of this dynamic discussion regarding the past decade and the future of militarism. Please share this invitation on. Full details below.

21st Century American Militarism: Occupation Abroad and Resistance at Home
Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm
@ The Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington

Featuring speakers: Nick Turse, Christian Parenti, Michael Rakowitz, Suraia Suhar

$10 Suggested Donation, no one turned away
Visit the Facebook event page here.

Visit the IVAW Event page here.

Event Endorsed By:

Afghans United for Justice, American Friends Service Committee, Anti-War Committee- Chicago, Catalyst Project, Center for Constitutional Rights, Chicago Area Peace Action, Chicago Grey Panthers, Civilian Soldier Alliance, Four Star Anarchist Organization, Gay Liberation Network, Haymarket Press, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Iraq and American Reconciliation Project, Labor Beat/Labor Express, Mental Health Movement, Military Law Task Force, National Nurses United, National Writers Union, Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Third Unitarian Church Social Action, UE- Western Region, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace- Chicago, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, War Resisters League-Chicago, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ

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Chef AJ’s Next Tequila Tasting Dinner

Patrons Hacienda Presents
July 30, 2013
Corzo Tequila Tasting Dinner
Chef Allan “AJ”Francisco

1st Course:
Shrimp and Avocado Tostada- Pinto bean Purée, Sweet Shrimp, Ripe Avocado, Jicama @ Purple Cabbage Slaw w/ Chipotle Aioli.

Paired with a Corzo Infusion of Watermelon, Cuccumber, & Jalapeño

2nd Course:
Watermelon, Feta, Queso Fresco Salad with Arugala, Mint, & Citrus Vinaigrette

3rd Course: Tender Marinated Skirt Steak w/ Scallop Enchilada. Served with a Roasted Poblano Cream Sauce, Grilled Veg., Spanish Rice, & Grilled Lime.

Paired with Classic Corzo Reposado Margarita. Fresh squeezed Lime, Organic Agave Nectar.

4th Course:
Plantain & Fresh Banana Empanada w/ Hazelnut Chocolate & Fresh Whipped Cream.

Paired with a Corzo Alto Cocktail.

Tue July 30, 2013
7:30pm Sharp.
316 W. Erie
312 642-2400

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Revolution and Beer…Beer in the News

1. Occupy the Brewery! Are big banks costing you more at the tap?

Vintage-Beer-AdFrom MSN News “Tim Weiner, a global risk manager at MillerCoors, told the committee Tuesday that banks including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and others gave warehouse owners approval to sit on huge stockpiles of aluminum, create artificial shortages and leave prices “inflated relative to the massive oversupply and record production.”
4923865649_fbb402d198_oAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Beer Institute, the cost of a six-pack jumped from $3.92 to $5.05 between 2001 and 2011, the last year for which information is available. However, nearly 40% (or 39 cents) of that increase occurred between 2008 and 2011, boosting six-pack prices by 8.1% during that span alone. There are many factors that affect the price of beer, but doubling the price of aluminum tends to have a more than coincidental effect on what beer lovers pay.”

While Revolution and Beer maintains that bottles are better, which do you prefer?

2. 4000 year old Egyptian king enjoys a cold one

A 4000 year old statue of the Egyptian king, Sekhemka, is causing a dust up between the British and Egyptian government. While we at Revolution and Beer could really care less over the political tug of war over the statue, valued at nearly $3 million Dollars, we thought it was interesting that the king is seated on the throne with a beer. I suppose that is more appropriate than a newspaper??? Almost through in there, King?

3. Quality not quantity.

A man in Murcia Spain died last week during a beer drinking competition, after downing 6 liters in 20 minutes. Hard to believe that could have gone wrong?

4. Dumb and Dumber-er

Just three pints of beer a week can dull your brain by 20%, according to a study by Spanish researchers (Perhaps they could have been on hand for that contest). To prove the findings the researchers pointed out that they set out to actually build a rocket, but started drinking during the testing phase!

5. Dumber-er but Healthier-er
A Greek study showed that a pint of beer daily was good for the heart, increasing arterial blood flow. Referring to the Spanish study, it is not clear yet if being 20% dumber averages out by living 20% longer by drinking beer.

6. Beer vs. Coffee

While both stimulate the brain differently, a study showed that while planning a project at work, Beer was better for the necessary creative process. However, during the execution of the project coffee won out. Revolution and Beer will not rest until there is a craft beer dispenser next to the coffee machine in every office in America!

And that is the news in beer…

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at

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Detroit bankruptcy: Beyond the Headline or how Capitalism crippled a great American City and the Right will kill it!

You will not find the details, the real story on the Detroit bankruptcy filing unless you are really looking for it amid a great deal of spin. What you will get is the cartoon version, the fluff that really furthers a greater misconception that really shows the Rightwing bias of the media. That is, as we have maintained all along, the Right, as the propaganda front for greedy commercial interests wants to get their hands on the public till, which will dwarf the 2008 financial “crisis” as the biggest crime against the United States in history.

Largest among those misconceptions is a diabolical spin, most particularly today by Limbaugh guest ogre and ardent racist Mark Steyn. He cited that $9billion of Detroit’s outstanding $11billion debt was owed to public workers. Steyn then described the crisis as being their fault. This Canadian-born facilitator to the looting of the nation could hardly be more wrong. There is no causal link here, except in the fraudulent mind of a 1% shill.

What the figures show is that Detroit, a dichotomy of areas of opulently concentrated wealth and near warzone-like poverty, has chronically defaulted on responsibilities and debts to working class people. They have been sacrificed, pushed aside, promised and now betrayed. As with so many companies filing for bankruptcy, the workers suffer most, while the owners and lawyers leave handsomely compensated. This debt represents pay checks, retirement, braces for kids teeth, medical procedures under existing healthcare benefits-true necessities of life.

In March Michigan governor Rick Snyder appointed lawyer Kevyn Orr, a former partner with the Washington-based law firm of Jones Day as emergency manager of Detroit, despite the overwhelming objections of the voters. This from a group who proclaim a dozen Tea Partiers in a mall as “the will of the people!” While at the firm Orr represented Chrysler in their 2009 bankruptcy, billing the company $700 an hour. Chrysler received $4.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from the federal government under George Bush. So, who did Kevyn Orr bill exactly at $700 bucks and hour? Chrysler or the US taxpayer? I have a guess? Do you? On Thursday Orr asked a judge for permission to place the city under Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Who is going to get paid for this one? What will their connection to Mr. Orr be?

Aside from the fact that the largest municipality in the nation, a once great American city, filed for bankruptcy under a Republican, there are far greater issues here that spell real danger for our nation. While the Occupy Movement has all but faded away into disparate and ineffectual small grounds and the Tea Party tools are being jettisoned now that their usefulness to their corporate and ideological inventors are through with them, this marks a giant leap forward in the planned privatization of public sector finances and assets, moving all of those things into private control, and with it your tax dollars.

This is a looting of the economy. The withering here began with international trade agreements allowing corporations to abandon American workers, and through full support and approval of the government, relocate to undercut American workers. There are no mechanisms by all of these “very smart” people to hold companies accountable, taxing them for jettisoning domestic factories for slave foreign labor. This is the outcome of that planet-sized loophole.

Greedy, unrestrained capitalism brought Detroit to its knees and crippled it, just as it is doing around the nation It was not the unions. So now they have appointed a robber baron to oversee the process and kill it off once and for good. Who will represent Detroit in that, some old friend of Orr’s, Jones Day, and what will they charge the taxpayers? Just asking a question. Rest assured, and I saw it first hand during the United Airlines bankruptcy in 2002, people will get paid a great deal of money from this, and the workers; the cops, firemen, street cleaners and teachers will get nothing by screwed.

This is not an isolated issue about a struggling city. This was engineered and will lead to privatization of public works, business and assets. the strategy to accomplish that is in degrading the government to a point in which it inevitably fails and then sell it off. Always the endgame, like with the banks and Wall Street in 2008 was to get to the purse strings of America’s tax base-the American worker. It feeds their greed and strengthens their control over the government and favorable legislation.

And the blinding messaging from the Right’s media monopoly continues apace. the anti-union FOX News is but one example, coming out in loud and fully support of former Jones Day partner Kevin Orr’s actions greed czar of Detroit. Interesting that FOX pundit Megyn Kelly once worked at Jones Day, but I’m sure that is just a coincidence.
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at

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Revolution and Beer Episode 7 – Peoples Theatre Part 1

Find out what happens when Jesus and Caeser meet face-to-face. ALSO, find out what kinds of good things happen when some of Chicago’s most enlightened theater groups apply their creativity to their desire to inform and support communities in need. We’re joined by Joseph Fedorko of Democracy Burlesque, as well as Mallory Green and Whitney Jones of Stone Soup Theatre Project. This was filmed at Lost Eras in Rogers Park, Chicago.

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Revolution and Beer Episode 6 – TIFfed Off

This episode was shot at the Peoples Church, in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Our guest was Tom Tresser of The TIF Illumination Project and CivicLab Chicago. He joined us to illuminate the issue of Tax Increment Financing districts in the City of Chicago–that is until the lights went out. Spoookyyyy…..

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Revolution and Beer…Reactionary of the Week: “Progressive Talk” Radio

wcptThe reaction by the shop clerk in that little second hand shop was astounding. When I said I had a show on a local commercial Progressive station, you might have thought I’d come it to announce that I was molesting pigeons in the street.

“I listen to National Public Radio, “he replied, wielding the words like some soulful shield.

“Right now,” I replied, “we’re being told that we can pretty much say and do anything legal as we try to cover the grassroots and activism scene, you know all those real stories that never seem to get covered in the mainstream media.” (I was proud and eager, BABY!)

“Right now,” he shot back, punching the wind from my sails. “Look, I don’t have a lot of faith in commercial radio. No offense. Like I said, I get my information from NPR or the internet.”

I nodded respectfully and shook his hand, asking him to at least give us a chance. This whole episode might have been brushed away if it hadn’t happened time and again though.

When we were invited to contribute to WCPT, Brian and I were new to this radio thing. We believed we could do something positive. Our goal was to un-cluster some of this grand fervor over larger-than-life national political spectacles, and wrestle a few issues to the ground so that people could deal with them. We’ve always said that there’s no need to go outside of Chicago to find national news. It seemed all too intuitive for a Chicago-based Progressive radio station (or any current events station) to want people passionate and engaged in such work on the air. I mean, why wouldn’t they? However, no matter how sincere we are about dealing with real issues, we constantly kept running up against the lousy reputation of talk and commercial radio.

Air America Radio, Helllllooooooooo out there…

Let’s now take a step back and recall the days of Air America Radio (AAR). The concept was to serve as a balance against the wild proliferation of Right-wing and corporate media. From the start, AAR was plagued with problems; both internal and external. For one, the mainstream media and it’s reactionary offspring never had to explain who and what it was to its very targeted base. It disingenuously positioned itself as “fair and balanced,” for example. When all you have to do is be sensational enough to draw-in advertisers, you can get away with a lot. Being able to quickly stir-up your core constituency, by simply throwing some red meat at them at a steady clip, is a HUGE example of the benefit. Gaming working class conservatives, by pandering to their fears without addressing the root causes of their problems, seems to be a lethal and effective mix of hyperbole and entertainment that really sells ads and attracts leveraged investors. But to do it the other way…well, that would be radical.

Right-wing media positioned itself as the voice and champion of traditional (W.A.S.P.) America. With 80% of the market owned by conglomerates that shat out right-wing stations across the nation faster than an Amish elder after his first trip to White Castle, this was an uphill struggle from the start.

AAR had to fight for every inch of the market, arguing against “patriotic” stations carrying Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other nationalist demagogues (quite the statists, I might add, before the skin color of the head honcho went darker). This truly regressive coalition of right-wing behemoths was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Large corporate clients avoided the new hip, media savvy progressives, perversely arguing for a citizen-centered nation. Right-wing entities organized campaigns to bully potential advertisers to AAR stations, which severed key ad revenue. Then there was the crop of mobilized, enraged working-class whites, fundamentalist Christians, and newly assimilated “middle class” Latinos, who were roped-in by W and Rove’s rodeo machismo. This flag-waving monsoon of hysterical straight-talkin, bargain-huntin real patriots, clung to cheap Walmart appliances—the same Walmart decimating small town economies across the nation—with pride in a redefined era of “Murcan Exceptionalism.” Opposing viewpoints were “fightin words,” and with the newly-crowned Muslim enemy to the world, Sadam Hussein; this mob was ready for war against the Liberal enemy within our sacred borders. Unfortunately, we’re now witnessing the destructive power and impact of this hysterical vacuum chamber.

Oh, you’re not off the hook either

But there was something even more fundamental to the decline and illegitimacy of so-called Progressive Radio, and that was the people who ran those stations. From the start they were rocked by scandal and infighting, poor business models, not enough experience, and perhaps a fundamental misunderstanding of what real Progressives believe in and fight for. But for many Progressives, particularly those in the hinterlands, so to speak; any Progressive voice is like a rescuing embrace in an otherwise hostile forest of Right-wing stations choking the national discourse. And while most true Progressives, and other real lefties, eschew dogmatic party loyalty; Progressive radio seemed better than nuttin’.

The Establishment of Chicago’s Premiere Progressive Talk Station

In Chicago, on Monday, May 5, 2005, WCPT AM 850 became the city’s premiere Progressive talk station, with hosts like Marc Maron, Jerry Springer, Randi Rhodes and Al Franken. Two and a half years later WCPT moved to AM 820, which gave it a stronger daytime signal, but as with 850, it powered down so severely between dusk and dawn that during those hours it sounded as if the station was broadcasting from the Republic of North Korea. Meanwhile, better than five conservative, Right-wing, or fundamentalist evangelical stations in the Chicago market churned-out content 24 hours a day. During the winter months, WCPT is still lucky to get in 9-10 hours of listenable programming per day.

So there is the background, and as I said, real Progressives and Lefties hate the party flag-waving and lock-step ideology. Sadly, that is what so-called “Progressive Media” has become. The stark evidence for that was illustrated plainly when national hosts like Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes, and Ed Schultz either ignored or decried the Occupy movement once it proved it could not be co-opted into a ready-made Obama zombie army. Despite this, WCPT never hesitated to run its snarky, self-made scolding of what the “99% movement is all about.”

I confess, we have not been in talk radio for very long, but I have been a careful observer of the media for some time. With several dozen media interviews, apart from that year in radio and television broadcasting, over the last 20 years I have garnered some insights. Paramount among them is that there still is no consideration for the audience. There’s also the over-emphasis on national spectacle to the degree of distracting people form engaging issues in their own locality.

Don’t get us wrong, we love some “Smiley & West”

In Chicago, WCPT simply seems to assume that calling itself Progressive and Liberal is enough to attract listeners. Proof that the model has failed utterly is that a “Progressive” station like WCPT, in a predominantly minority and Democrat city, is barely 42nd in the market. You can ask Obama’s Super PAC, it ain’t due to a lack of capitol in the hands of its ownership. It could and should be in the top three, and without a great deal of effort in such a marketplace.

Recently the station abandoned its Arbitron rating subscription, dooming local programing, and telling the audience quite literally that the station could care less who and how many are listening. Their model now seems to only be interested in syndicated and brokered programs—those in which people pay to get on the air. Shows that set out to engage and activate grassroots and activist movements across the city were abandoned, and the tone of the station, with the addition of a convicted corrupt politician, Jim Laski, a grudgingly; barely-Left-leaning legal show; and the Stephanie Miller ass-clown show—a three hour entertainment and DNC commercial. By contrast, the right pounds and pounds issues to death.

WCPT and other Progressive show-boaters could become true powerhouses for the working-class, but aside from having the trust of many Progressives and Liberals, they’re squandering it; and perhaps far more than that of their adversaries on the right. At times, it’s just so damn boring.

We’d venture so far as to say tolerance is much more a Leftie attribute than a Right-wing attribute. This is a center-Left nation right now, largely due to the open-mindedness of the majority of American people around issues that do matter—although that’s in jeopardy. Tolerance of a great many things, as part of the socially progressive tendencies of the “middle class,” (Brian prefers “working-class”) has helped maintain some ground. The key is integrity and adherence to a greater cause. Willingness to fight injustice and social regression. Amid the halls of WCPT the talk is that the station is largely a tax write-off for its wealthy and Democrat party supporting owner, and that it is a vehicle to help get a Gay Marriage amendment passed in Illinois. There is ample concern that once the amendment is achieved there will no longer be any use for WCPT’s Progressive format. One indication of such a thing is their lack of support for most of the local programming that has existed on the station. Only the strongest of the local crew have survived in the flash flood of Nationally syndicated, and quite predictable, commentators. But I look at sell-out stations like WLS, which boasted legendary and historic legacies. The damage done to Progressivism and to the nation by squandering the potential for what a station like WCPT might attain seems to me, well, rather regressive!

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at

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What Responsibility Do They Have?

The whole legal structure of a corporation, coupled with the roll-backs in workers’ ability to organize and leverage their own interests over that of the upper class, seems to have lead to zero accountability for what these rights-entitled entities do to anything in the social system or culture in which they exist. Leaders of corporations like to pretend that they are islands of their own, and somehow function in another realm from the rest of society, but it’s a scam. I’m not in favor of international free trade. There’s absolutely no clear reason why it’s necessary, or even beneficial, for me or my family to support it. I’ve seen the negative impacts of it first-hand in both the U.S. and Mexico. …And then our industries went to China.

I say this willing to acknowledge that the benefit and behavior of small businesses are very different than their larger counterparts are very different most of the time, so let’s not pigeon-hole the conversation and start throwing blinders on yet. I think the broadly excepted knowledge of these differences are part of the logic behind having certain regulations only apply to businesses over a certain number of employees. The main problem is that in most cases—this is based on personal experience and research—when a “business person” starts railing against “Government” and “Regulation,” what they’re really saying is: “I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do, not my community, not the people who work for me; nor should I have to look into the future more than 3-5 years and act responsibly within the full environment that I exist in.”

I believe commerce is necessary for a healthy society, but the model we have allows so many businesses to absolve themselves from responsibility to their home towns, and now even their home countries, that society is starting to crumble. Businesses use the roads, they use the legal system far more than any other constituency in the country, and they use our labor power. They’re also gobbling-up resources that for centuries had been understood to be all of ours so that we could survive not matter what, and they’re mismanaging them terribly. Yet,  they don’t want any of these other stakeholders to have any self-determination in these vital areas of society. By jumping international boundaries, and eliminating any checks and balances or safeguards that provide access to decision-making for ALL stakeholders—and not just share-holders—we’re all disempowered from having individual autonomy, or a say in the direction of our society is going.

I will also say that crony capitalism, facilitated by the corporate nanny state, seems to me to be clearly a road to ruin. However, I’m no Democrat. The Koch brothers aren’t interested in a fair and just society. Therefore, I think they should responsibly stay in their place. I don’t care if the rulers wear Soviet Uniforms or suites and ties, the end result of ego-maniacal elitists placing their views as paramount to that of the working classes will always be the cliff edge of a depleted society facing collapse. How many times do we have to play this game?

Here are some questions I’d love your thoughts on:

What responsibilities does a business have to the community it exists in?

Should a large corporation have a positive impact on the towns, states, or countries that it exists in?

Should commerce and industry be organized from the top down or from the ground up?

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