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Of Men and Beer in Good Character: Revolution Brewing’s Eugene Porter

If you’re going to drink a beer named after an early Twentieth Century Union leader, probably best to know a few things about the guy. I mean, what if I said big and bold flavor, just like Ole Gene Debs, and it turns out he was on the quiet and mousy side, well that would be a bit silly. Or if I said, subtle and gentle in taste, but then the guy turns out to a firebrand, that wouldn’t stand either. If you are drinking good beer in Chicago, you can’t rightly just get by slapping down a brew and walking away. No, you have a responsibility, because this is a beer town, and beer in Chicago comes with more than simple history, it comes with legacy.

This is also a labor town, built by men and women for whom back breaking, honest labor is a way of life. I know, having been among those labor ranks, all but crawling home from a day’s work that cracking a favored beer was a regular ritual for most. There’s a moment, a sudden epiphany as that first taste hits the back of a throat. And when the weather turns cold my taste in beer changes as well. Beer, like the world, has seasons.

I’ll get to Debs in a second. But it’s important that we establish whether or not Revolution Brewing’s Eugene Porter lives up to the reputation of the man. We’ll  start with the taste. Eugene Porter is a rich, full-bodied beer, with an interesting, but none too overpowering bite of  toasted grains tempered by  the taste caramel that closes the door nicely behind that toasted grain flavor. Bold? Arresting? Revolutionary?

Debs himself was persistent and driven, and one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World, otherwise known as the IWW, or ubiquitously as the Wobblies. You might say he helped set the stage for the 99%, drawing the lines for working folks to champion and defend for generations. He’s been described in many ways, but by all accounts he was  a humanist, hardly beholden to any cookie-cutter ideology. Deb’s primary ideology was in being dedicated to his fellow man. Anything more might have come across as offensive or assaulting. Debs knew the value of stalwart determination, and the greater value of his fellow man:

“I do not want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the Promised Land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.”

Revolution Brewing’s Eugene Porter does the man justice. I think he would have been proud of it. This is a working man’s beer, which is where the beer gets its name, as it was popular among the porters in Old London.This beer is abundantly rich in flavor, but hardly offensive, like the man, but still just a little bit dangerous and unpredictable. I’ve had Porters that were either too sweet to one end, or seem to be watered down to balance the bitterness. Neither is a good option. Revolution Brewing found that perfect balance. The ideal beer forRoasted or smoked food: barbecue sausages, roasted meat and blackened fish. Cow Milk cheeses such as Tilsit or Gruyere, or to soothe a sweettooth with Chocolate peanut butter cookies and toasted coconut cookie bars.

Tune in tomorrow and every Sunday 9-0am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian and I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Get involved.

With thanks to the good people at Louis Glunz Beer Inc, a family owned business for 125 years in Chicago. Happy birthday, guys!

Texas petitioned to leave the Union because Barack Obama was re-elected president. If forced to choose between one man, albiet a democratically elected official and a soveriegn state as part of this great nation…bye, bye, Texas. We’ll just move the border fence up to Oklahoma. Enjoy being the white Mexico. Keep in touch for the next drought/hurricane combo and we’ll send sympathetic cards and letters

From ABC News…

A petition for Texas to secede from the union, submitted to the White House, reached the number of signatures needed to draw comment from the Obama administration today.

The petition appeared on a section of the White House website called “We the People” that invites users with a U.S. zip code to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see. A petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days for the administration to comment on it.

The petition to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” was submitted on Friday of last week. Just three days later, it zoomed past the 25,000 mark at 3:22 p.m. today and kept going.

Romney supporter tries to kill husband for not voting…thank you, Talk Radio

I am new to doing talk radio, but not in listening to it, and certainly not to the arc of inciteful rhetoric, most especially on the Right. It has grown to an out of  control conflagration of hate since Obama’s election. below is an excerpt from a Reuters article by d:

PHOENIX – An Arizona woman, in despair at the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama, ran down her husband with the family car in suburban Phoenix on Saturday because he failed to vote in the election, police said on Monday.Holly Solomon, 28, was arrested after running over husband Daniel Solomon following a wild chase that left him pinned underneath the vehicle. Daniel Solomon, 36, was in critical condition at a local hospital, but is expected to survive, Gilbert police spokesman Sergeant Jesse Sanger said. Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his “lack of voter participation” in last Tuesday’s presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term.

 In the months, weeks and days leading up to the election, Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Hannity and others pressed listeners to believe their lives, their children’s lives, the nation and Christianity were under direct threat if Obama was re-elected. Lies and innuendo covered the spectrum from Obama being a communist, not  an American citizen, a racist, to having a gay relationship.

When accused or confronted they claim it is all entertainment, confuse to obscure their guilt or outright lie. They know full well they are driving a culture among self-interested and gullible people, or people robbed by corporate media consolidation of balanced information(note: FOX’s Fair and Balanced refers to their perception of fair, and balances truth and facts with their  agenda) based solely upon greed-the greed of the 1%. 

Most of us understand this perversion, and understand that to sell the theft of the economy and government by a few they must swathe that in alarmist rhetoric about job stealing immigrants, collapsing home values caused by irresponsible blacks and a pretend moral degradation of the society. Some, like the misguided woman above, and working class people who voted for the likes of Mitt Romney- a true corporate oligarch took it hook line and sinker. Their hate speech is not political discourse, it isn’t entertainment, it is irresponsible speech.

The airwaves are public, not the private domain of these hosts. To borrow their line, there is nothing in the constitution guaranteeing their right to those public airwaves. They are free to express their views, but not to squat on the air to the exclusion of other viewpoints. The airwaves are publically licensed, and each station’s license can be directly challenged to the FCC by any person.

I am new to talk radio-progressive talk radio. I would not exclude other viewpoints, and I welcome challenges and arguments to my own. I would not prefer a nation in which only progressive ideas predominate on the air and in the media.  Media consolidation has done exactly that. 90% of all news media, television, print and talk radio are now owned by 3 companies.3 companies. THREE COMPANIES. All of them either skew Right or are blatantly Right. Goebbels and the Nazis could have only dreamed of that sort of media control… 

Agree? Disagree? Call in Sunday 8-9am CST to WCPT am820 during the Revolution and Beer segment, or friend us at “rev’n beer” and join the conversation…or the fight

Springfield Lobby Day for Corporate Tax Transparency Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:00am-7:00pm

Get Involved..

Join LAC and our allies in Make Wall Street Pay Illinois for a press conference and lobby day in Springfield. We need a fair and progressive tax code in Illinois and corporate tax transparency is the first step! Register now! http://www.lakeviewaction.org/ The Lakeview Action Coalition (LAC) is a non-profit, multi-issue community organization. The Coalition is comprised of 49 institutional members, including religious congregations, non-profit agencies, banks, business associations, a credit union and a senior citizens caucus. These diverse institutions are stakeholders in the Chicago communities of Lakeview, Lincoln Park and North Center. LAC enables its members to act on their values in public life by participating in the decisions that shape our community’s future. We fulfill this mission by organizing people around issues affecting our members and by developing leaders through training, action and reflection. Since our founding in 1993, we have fought for justice, solidarity and diversity.

…connect your cause with listeners for the Revolution and Beer segment Sundays from 8-9 on Our Town only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820, and friend us at :


Columbus, the genocidal murdering sailor? Happy Columbus Day everybody!

The one thing about history is that it must be view in context. There is a real danger in view history through contemporary perspectives, particularly for political or religious advantage. Both the Left and Right are guilty of that. Which is not to negate a critical accounting of history. It is important to learn lessons from history, but the true imperative of history is to learn all history, from as many perspectives on all sides. There is the age-old addage, history is written by the victors; a phrase which must rank among the most immoral and most regressive statements ever uttered. Such are the words of criminals and the ignorant. History must be the choral narrative of humanity, not an egotistical soap opera for the 1%, royalty and the powerful, or a scorecard in a deadend tit-for-tat grudge match between religions. 

Both the Left and Right will attempt to score points with truly meaningless hyperbole regarding  Columbus and Columbus Day. As with most issues used as political and idealogical footballs, the truth lies solidly in the middle. Real history becomes irrelevant here, because both sides have either abandoned it, do not know history, or are completely partisan in their positions that both truth and history or compromise are hardly a consideration.

So, was Christopher Columbus responsible for all that came after his arrival in the so-called “New” world? For one, it wasn’t new, as people had already been here for the better part of 25 thousand years. So, ole Chris didn’t discover anything, any more than I discovered the central Texas town of Saledo near where my parents live when I drove through it some years back. Following that logic I might have declared little Saledo, with its tourist shops and Inn where General George Custer stopped once, mine, or that I claimed it in the name of then Chicago Mayor Daley. So Columbus did not discover America, he stumbled upon a place someone already lived on and, if possession is 3/10 of the law, owned.

So what is Columbus guilty of? Personally, nothing. His largely innocent but failed efforts to uncover new supply routes to Asia did commence an occupation by Europeans over the coming centuries. What is true is that that invasion and occupation, cloaked inncuously with terms like colonization led to an absolute destruction of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. The assault and degradation and outright slaughter of those people was in fact a multi-generational genocide. In a proper perspective of history, and a proper accounting of the human soul, that must be accounted for and come to honestly, not racially as it has been done as a means of obscurring European crimes and ignorance.

That is hardly to accuse or impugn all Europeans, or all Americans today or in the past. We are at the culmination of a history in which there are indeed a grand majority of innocent European and wstern colonists. While the momenttum of that colonization ground aboriginals under hoof and boot, the history cannot not be undone without doing greater harm. So where does that leave us?

History instead becomes a tool to establish standards for human rights and human dignity.The imperative is to progress from the past, and past ignorance, and not to continously recreate crimes from that past, nor to continually reopen or reinflame the scars and pain evoked from those crimes.

And there is where the consideration for not celebrating a fake holiday like Columbus day. At the very least we are celebrating a myth and a cartoonish and bigoted view of history. We wouldn’t celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday nationally. Even though he didn’t start the KKK, and would condemned it, he did nurture men like Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest, the first Grand Wizard of the Klan. We wouldn’t celebrate that day out of respect for the pain and insult it would cause Blacks in this country.

The point here is that history is a process, forged as much by blunders and success as a continual ascension from the ignorance we harbored the moment before. the choices and steps we make now will resonate. In truth, future history is yet to be written. We are all the authors of that history, and so inherent is  a guarantee of chaos and calamity. It is the weight of those who side with human dignity and human rights through the greatest driver of human history-mutual respect and understanding.

So, if you’re passionate about Columbus, take the wife out to dinner, have a couple of beers, but realize that others, many with generational lines in this country extending many thousands of years before Columbus was born are sensitive about it. Realize that only a hand full of generations ago happened the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and that throughout most of the 20th Century open racism against Native Americans was rampant and overt. Columbus wasn’t an evil person, but history has inflated his legacy far beyond the person, and that needs to be remembered.

How many people died in Katrina? Don’t know the answer? No one else does either.

FOX news touted the video last night from a 2007 Obama campaign speech, before a predominately black audience as divisive, saying it could sway the election. What Obama blasphemed was in comparing the indifference and pallid reaction to Katrina victims and New Orleans following the hurricane to that of 9-11 and hurricane Andrew in Florida. But here is the difference. Off the top of your head, how many people died in 9-11? Now answer the question for victims of Katrina, who were, by in large, poor and black.

Don’t cheat by googling. 2996 people EXACTLY died on September 11th. There is no official number for Katrina. There is an official ESTIMATE of 1833-ish, but no one knows for sure? That estimate is challenged by a number of sources, and my be much higher.

How is that? How is it that in a major American city in the 21st century so many people can perish, and yet there is no accurate and exact number of victims? The reality to that estimate is not in the numbers, but that it highlights the absolute disparity between poor and impoverished Americans and the wealthy. It underscores the insulation that leads to abdominal ignorance by most of the rest of the nation for those least able to fend off tragedy, or to fend for themselves.

That is the essence behind the words of Barack Obama in the 2007 speech that FOX calls divisive and shocking. Divisive is the Right not understanding the shame to this nation of the poor, and the racial divides that still rampage through the conscience of this nation. Speaking to and in deference to the poor by the President is not being divisive, it is being moral, and in keeping with true religious tenants. Divisive is using speeches of genuine caring and empathy by those on the Right as a means of engendering white fear and hate for political and economic gain.

American Politics and German Beer: One night in Stromberg

Wednesday Night I was sitting with a friend in a bar in Stromberg Germany. He wanted to know if  Obama was going to win the election.  A manager at a logistics firm, and hardly a flaming neo-socialist liberal, he was concerned about the election, and genuinely worried about Romney becoming president. Europeans are more intimately connected to the international opera than Americans, by virtue, if nothing else, plain geography. Sadly, Europeans, in my experience are far more concerned bout this election than most Americans. They are certainly more informed.

The Right, and even some on the Left accuse and decry the so-called uninformed voter in this country, lamenting that those voters will choose for a candidate on something less than the “keen” observance of those deemed to be “informed” voters.

Truth is, those blustering and boastful informed voters merely regurgitate the same looped and tired short list of  issues paraded, screened and funneled to the American electorate from such notable paragons of unfettered and unfiltered information as FOX News, Rightwing radio, Jay Leno and a corporatized news industry. Ignored are the substantive issues. Those are decided and slipped quietly past us while shiny key issues like guns and gay marriage are paraded before the public, gauged and market tested on scales of fear, self-affirmation and paranoia.

The arrogance of those, predominately on the Right who believe they are informed is both astounding and dangerous. There is present in American political discourse a sublime ignorance of nuanced and non-American centered international affairs and issues. In all things international, we preach from a lofty geocentricism, and when that fails, flat out bullying.

Nowhere is that ignorance more apparent and more harmful than in economics. The absolute fiction that government should be run as a business belies that ignorance. Government, like medical care and help to the suffering is wholly incompatible with bottom-line mentality on economic, social, religious, moral and ethics grounds. That arguments are picked from each of these as a ruse to justify greed and selfishness, and lusts for power as a means of concealing naked selfishness, and legitimizing cynical greed betrays twisted intellect, moral depravity, ethical perversion and religious opportunism.

“I hope he wins,” I told my German friend, not that I am overly satisfied with Obama. Issue for issue Mr. Obama shows little daylight between himself and naked capitalists. In the balance that scale tips just enough to justify a vote in battleground states, but for the vote in non-battleground states to move to say Green party candidate Jill Stein as a step towards a less bipolar future in American politics.

“Do you believe me might lose?” said my friend.

“The Right is trying to steal the election every way that can,” I relied, evoking a much longer conversation, fueled by copious amounts of a frosty glass of dark German beer. But that is a story for another time…



Listen to 900poundgorilla each Saturday, 7am at Awakened America, WCPT AM820, or online at http://chicagosprogressivetalk.com/listen/ Chicago’s Progressive talk.


Wednesday’s Presidential debate in Denver is merely a show. The candidates have been given the questions on domestic policy ahead of time for the first time. They will not address gun violence and gun control, wage stagnation or the incarceration crisis. Also new, the candidates will not begin with an opening statement to allow them more time for their scripted, rehearsed and pre-marketed answers. The only controversy here will be the co-opting of real political discourse, and a human-centered election process as opposed to the PR polished and tested fraud that we are getting.

Listen to 900poundgorilla live on line at http://chicagosprogressivetalk.com/

or at WCPT am820 Saturdays 7am in Chicago.

Where is Occupy? All around you.

Steel blue-gray clouds to the west burned crimson  at the fringes  against a nearly settled sun. That thoughtful light painted long shadows among the deepening canyons of brownstones and apartment buildings in Chicago’s Rogers Park. A siren’s lamenting wail echoed away, swallowed by the shadows and the night. The moon was silver, climbing above the distant downtown skyscrapers, whose night lights gradually overtook that reflected crimson hue.

Off Lunt Avenue, forty or  so Occupiers gathered in the park beside the lake. Waves tumbled off the Lake, a distant but unmissable chorus as  they fell against the beach. They were gathered in a wide circle, most seated. There were a hand full of guests from Hamburg Germany. The rest were from the movement, which was now scattered into smaller constituencies  across the city. I’d known a number of them since the start of the movement just a year before. It had been a tough year. Some of them looked tired and worn, but the spirit was still there. Now, what had  started as a sort of audacious energy had been replaced by a stalwart resolution from a near tireless effort to turn the nation towards something that worked for the underrepresented in this nation.

There were friends from Occupy el barrio, working on the near South side for immigrant rights, others from the Evanstan group who’d won a fight to move the City of Evanston from Bank of America to a local and privately owned bank. There was a group from Englewood on the far south side, and several students from IIT who wanted to understand how social movements spread.

Rumors of Occupy’s demise were surely exaggerated. The media’s attention peaked and fled from Occupy after the NATO debacle, in which the media conspired to eclipse the message and valid issues by the movement with manufactured  rumors of widespread violence that all but paralyzed the city. And with the loss of the media’s attention went thousands of would-be peripheral supporters who either couldn’t or wouldn’t invest further energies, and were content to allow the powerful and wealthy to resume their temporarily interrupted pillage of the nation.

And so, it seemed, that Occupy was no more. On the anniversary of the movement, the media’s recollection had this sort of “remember when” tone. But Occupy never went away. It didn’t go underground or into seclusion, still smarting from its NATO pummeling. It went into the community.

But the confusion is understandable. It is easy to  see why the perception is that Occupy was a fleeting anomaly to the social and political discourse of the nation and world. The media has never cared about the community, except for content, or to further narratives on race, society and caste in America. but look closely and you will see, work that supports education, the environment, victims of illegal foreclosures, the homeless, immigrants, corruption and poverty. no, Occupy isn’t gone. It is all around you.

On tomorrow’s show, what do Chicago Muslims think about the unrest overseas, about the film insulting Muhammad, and the First Amendment. Join me for a rational discussion with Chicago Muslims free of the Rightwing spin and hyperbole.

On my radio  show tomorrow, WCPT am820 7am in Chicago, we’ll talk to Chicago Muslims for their take on the unrest overseas, and the first amanedment issue regarding the Youtube video at the heart of the controversy. Should it be banned? Is it hate speech? Taking your calls at 773-763-9278.

Also, an update from Dr. Lora Chamberlain, environmental activist and Mother Earth’s own personal physician.


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