WBEZ | The Boys Off the Bus http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Drivers weigh in on rideshare in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/morning-shift-drivers-weigh-rideshare-chicago-110298 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ride share Flickr Tribute Homenaje.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today, we hear from both sides of the ride share issue, we get a preview of Sunday&#39;s Greater Chicago Jewish Festival. And later, comedian Al Madrigal joins us.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-53/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-53.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-53" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Drivers weigh in on rideshare in Chicago" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/morning-shift-drivers-weigh-rideshare-chicago-110298 For lifelong Republican, a potential vote for Obama http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/lifelong-republican-potential-vote-obama-102812 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Kurt J pic.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Pollsters estimate undecided voters make up a pretty small slice of the electoral pie &ndash; just about four to eight percent of Illinoisans expected to vote in November&rsquo;s elections.</p><p>But presidential campaigns spend a lot of time and money trying to reach that tiny group of people, especially in a year like this, when a single-digit margin could decide who wins the White House.</p><p>When I ask 37-year-old Kurt Jurgens who he&rsquo;s thinking of voting for, his answer seems pretty straightforward.</p><p>&ldquo;I would probably vote for Obama,&rdquo; Jurgens said.</p><p>Jurgens works at a non-profit that helps kids with social and behavioral problems.&nbsp;He lives in southwest suburban New Lenox with his wife and five kids.</p><p>But Jurgens&rsquo; personal politics get a bit more interesting when you consider his voting history: &ldquo;I have never selected a Democrat for office,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And I have only missed one primary that I am aware of since I have been 18 years old.&rdquo;</p><p>So what could turn the reddest voter blue?</p><p>I put the question to Jurgens, but he&rsquo;s a pretty introspective guy &ndash; so introspective he sometimes seemed to be interviewing himself.</p><p>&ldquo;Do I expect my leaders to have character? Absolutely,&rdquo; Jurgens said. &ldquo;Do I think that the Ken Starr investigation into Bill Clinton was ridiculous? Absolutely.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t just Republicans&rsquo; handling of the Clinton sex scandal, Jurgens said. Over the years, he&rsquo;s says seen the Republican Party shift to the right, while he&rsquo;s been moving to the center.</p><p>So how does he feel about Republican Mitt Romney in 2012?</p><p>&ldquo;Almost a disdain for Romney,&rdquo; he said, saying he thinks Romney is less sincere than John Kerry &mdash; tough talk for a life-long Republican.</p><p>He says one of Romney&rsquo;s main selling points &ndash; his private business experience &ndash; isn&rsquo;t convincing, because Jurgens doesn&rsquo;t think the country should be run like a company.</p><p>And Romney&rsquo;s secretly recorded comments about the 47 percent of the electorate who will vote for President Obama no matter what didn&rsquo;t help.</p><p>&quot;Romney&rsquo;s 47 percent &ndash; is that a gaffe? Absolutely,&rdquo; Jurgens reflected. &ldquo;Inarticulate? Absolutely. Ridiculous? Absolutely. Those types of views, once again, push me more towards Obama.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Jurgens&#39; turn toward Mr. Obama is not absolute. Jurgens says he&rsquo;s socially conservative and strongly anti-abortion. And that&rsquo;s where he disagrees with President Obama.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, being that I don&rsquo;t expect either one of them to address the conservative issues that I hold dear, it then reduces it to the economy,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>So now, for the first time in his life, Jurgens says he&rsquo;s considering whether a Democrat in the White House is best suited to that task.</p><p>But he&rsquo;s not done asking questions.</p><p>&quot;Has it changed in the last four years? Unmistakably,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Is it for the better? I&rsquo;m not sure. Could it have been a lot worse? Maybe. Maybe not.&rdquo;</p><p>Jurgens says that kind of dialogue &ndash; with his friends, his family, perhaps with himself &ndash; will help him make his final decision on Election Day.</p></p> Mon, 01 Oct 2012 20:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/lifelong-republican-potential-vote-obama-102812 Illinois Democrats head home from Charlotte ready for a fight http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/illinois-democrats-head-home-charlotte-ready-fight-102265 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IL dem convention.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Democrats are headed home after a week of politicking at their party&rsquo;s national convention in North Carolina, but their work for the 2012 elections is just heating up.</p><p>Illinois Democrats, Republicans, and opinion polls all suggest President Barack Obama is strongly favored to win his home state.</p><p>But delegates like Chicagoan Jim Montgomery aren&#39;t taking that for granted. He says the president now needs to show voters he has concrete plans for fixing the economy. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna go home with the idea that we&rsquo;ve got to fight like hell in order to win this election for Barack Obama,&quot; Montgomery said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said that he&rsquo;s focusing on tight Illinois congressional races and presidential swing states.</p><p>&quot;Don&rsquo;t forget, our first job&rsquo;s Illinois,&quot; Durbin said. &quot;Let&rsquo;s make sure we do well there for the president, and for every candidate. But our extra hours are gonna be spent in Iowa, Wisconsin, on the phones, when we can visit.&quot;</p><p>The Democrats will have their work cut out for them;&nbsp;Illinois Republicans came out of their convention just as focused on the same tight races further down the ticket.</p></p> Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/illinois-democrats-head-home-charlotte-ready-fight-102265 IL Democrats who knew President Obama back in the day react to his speech http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/il-democrats-who-knew-president-obama-back-day-react-his-speech-102256 <p><p>Some Illinois delegates who saw President Obama&rsquo;s political rise first-hand were also there to witness his acceptance speech Thursday night.</p><p>Will Burns and Barack Obama go way back.&nbsp;Burns is currently a Chicago alderman representing the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods where Mr. Obama got his start in politics.</p><p>A few years ago, Mr. Obama reportedly did not endorse Burns in his bid for state office. But Thursday night just after the president&rsquo;s speech, Burns didn&#39;t seem to hold a grudge. He said Mr. Obama had come a long way.</p><p>&quot;I remember the days when pundits would say, &lsquo;If you&rsquo;re a supporter of Barack Obama, you are a minority of a minority,&rsquo;&quot; Burns said. &quot;Doors slammed in your face and people handing you back literature and he never gave up hope in what his vision was for this country.&quot;</p><p>Meantime, Emil Jones was also in the crowd. Mr. Obama once called the former state Senate President his political godfather. On the convention floor Jones returned the favor.</p><p>&quot;Well, my godson&rsquo;s done great. Now all we gotta do is get him re-elected,&quot; Jones said.</p><p>Jones kept his comments short since he was trying to beat the massive crowd to get outside.<br /><!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--><br /><!--[endif]--></p></p> Fri, 07 Sep 2012 00:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/il-democrats-who-knew-president-obama-back-day-react-his-speech-102256 Fired up by DNC, Illinois Dems vow to 'fight like hell' until November http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/fired-dnc-illinois-dems-vow-fight-hell-until-november-102251 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo (9).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Democratic Party stalwarts emerged from their national convention Thursday night energized by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s acceptance speech, while acknowledging they have a tough few months of campaigning ahead of November&rsquo;s elections.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; delegation to the Democratic National Convention, seated front and center on the convention floor in Charlotte, N.C., waved blue signs that read &ldquo;Forward&rdquo; as the president delivered his roughly 39-minute speech.</p><p>Afterward, several of the state&rsquo;s most powerful Democrats heaped praise upon president Obama, saying the speech &ndash; and the whole convention &ndash; were successful.</p><p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve been to a lot of conventions. This really was the best convention I&#39;ve ever seen in every way,&quot; said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents Chicago&rsquo;s northern suburbs in the U.S. House.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember the days when pundits would say, &lsquo;If you are a supporter of Barack Obama, you are a minority of a minority,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Chicago Ald. Will Burns, who has had a long relationship with the president. &ldquo;Doors slammed in your face and people handing you back literature and he never gave up hope and what his vision was for this country.&rdquo;</p><p>But even some of the president&rsquo;s most ardent supporters said there&rsquo;s still a hard road ahead for Democrats as the 2012 elections kick into high gear now that both Democrats and Republicans have wrapped up their national conventions.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna go home with the idea that we&rsquo;ve got to fight like hell in order to win this election for Barack Obama, and to bring this country back to the economic stability that it is entitled to,&rdquo; said delegate Jim Montgomery, a Chicago lawyer who lives down the street from the first family&rsquo;s Hyde Park home.</p><p>While many of Illinois&rsquo; top Democrats and Republicans acknowledge the president will likely win his home state, both state parties have devoted a lot of time during their national conventions over the last two weeks discussing how to win a handful of competitive Illinois Congressional races and seats in the General Assembly.</p><p>The president mentioned his adopted home state only once during his speech, when talking about the start of his political career as a state senator from Chicago.</p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin introduced the president Thursday night by recounting his own close relationship to Mr. Obama. He recalled how he helped launch the then-U.S. Senate candidate to national prominence by introducing Obama at the 2004 DNC in Boston.</p><p>&ldquo;He had a name that was hard to pronounce and Loretta [Durbin] and Michelle [Obama] and I stood on the side of the stage in Boston and wondered if you would accept his message about the future of this party, and you did,&rdquo; Durbin said.</p><p>&ldquo;Four years ago in Denver, I asked you to give him our party&rsquo;s nomination for president. And tonight in Charlotte, I ask you to join me in giving President Barack Obama four more years to finish the job he started.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 20:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/fired-dnc-illinois-dems-vow-fight-hell-until-november-102251 At DNC, woman has artistic crush on Democrats http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/dnc-woman-has-artistic-crush-democrats-102246 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/painting%201.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" /></div><p>Over the years, Chicago has become infamous for producing politicians who can be bought and sold.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what drew me to Elizabeth McClancy, who was camped out the other day in the lobby of the Illinois delegation&rsquo;s hotel in Charlotte, N.C.<br /><br />&ldquo;Rahm Emanuel is for sale,&rdquo; McClancy said quietly.</p><p>For how much?</p><p>&ldquo;Well, maybe twenty,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>That&rsquo;s $20,000. But let&rsquo;s be clear: McClancy is talking about a painting.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/painting%203.jpg" style="float: left; height: 385px; width: 280px;" title="(WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" />She actually has an <a href="http://www.elizabethmcclancy.com/McClancy_Home_Page.html" target="_blank">entire series</a> of them, all of prominent Democrats like Emanuel, including President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. John Kerry, and others. Each portrait is displayed alongside a public speech from each politician.</div><p><br />McClancy lives in eastern North Carolina, so she was pretty excited when the convention came to Charlotte, just a few hours away. She&rsquo;s been doing these Democratic portraits since 2006, and there are 23 in all, including one she&rsquo;d just as soon forget.<br /><br />&ldquo;The 23rd one is John Edwards,&rdquo; she laughs.<br /><br />As she started to explain how the paintings capture Democratic leaders who embody the party&rsquo;s core ideals on certain issues, but then she&rsquo;s interrupted as a former Democratic star walks into the hotel lobby.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s Governor Dukakis! Hello, Governor Dukakis!&rdquo; she shouts.<br /><br />Even though she now sounds like a DNC groupie, McClancy says she used to be a die-hard Reagan Republican.<br /><br />But the other morning, she proudly held the portrait of Emanuel in her lap.<br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/painting%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 375px; width: 280px;" title="(WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" /><br />The portrait makes Emanuel bigger than he is in real life, with his chin resting on one hand, and little flecks of royal blue in his eyes.<br /><br />&ldquo;[He&rsquo;s] thinking, considering, but thinking with - and I think his eyes show this - thinking with a very well-informed perspective,&rdquo; McClancy said.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">She said the point of the portraits and the accompanying speeches is to highlight what she says are the best parts of the Democratic Party &ndash; not GOP-bashing, but positive affirmations of Democrats&#39; core principles.</div><p>Earlier, she actually buttonholed the mayor before a press conference, portrait in hand, to get his verdict.</p><p>&ldquo;And he said, &lsquo;Wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow!&rsquo; And he said that about five times.&rdquo;<br /><br />It might not be $20,000, but for McClancy, that just may have been worth the trip to Charlotte.</p></p> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/dnc-woman-has-artistic-crush-democrats-102246 Illinois delegates are happy Democrats embrace gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/illinois-delegates-are-happy-democrats-embrace-gay-marriage-102243 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo_30.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For the first time ever, one of the two major political parties in the country adopted a platform that embraces gay marriage.&nbsp;And&nbsp;two of Illinois&#39; Democratic delegates say the issue isn&rsquo;t just political. It&#39;s personal.</p><p>Lauren Verdich got wistful when she talked about how she met Gail Morse, her partner of 16 years.</p><p>&quot;I catered her 40th birthday party, but I told her I owed her a birthday drink because I really didn&rsquo;t want to mix business with going out with her but I thought she was very cute,&quot; she said at a hotel restaurant in Charlotte, where they&#39;re both delegates for President Barack Obama.</p><p>The two now live together on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side and they were on hand when the Democrats approved a party platform that included gay marriage.</p><p>&quot;This is fundamental. It&rsquo;s our lives. If we don&rsquo;t stand up for us, who is?&quot; Morse asked.</p><p>Morse is glad Obama is now standing up for them, but she was starting to get impatient.</p><p>&quot;I was advocating for him to do it, to just come out and say, &lsquo;Yes, I support it.&rsquo; The way he did, slowly evolving, rolling it out, having it come out at the appropriate time was a much better teaching moment and a much better way to bring people along with him,&quot; she said.</p><p>Regardless of the national debate over gay marriage, Morse and Verdich have a personal interest in what happens in Illinois. A lawsuit is currently pending that seeks to end the state&rsquo;s gay marriage ban.</p><p>But several state lawmakers, nine Republicans and two Democrats, filed briefs supporting the current ban on gay marriage.</p><p>Morse and Verdich did enter into a civil union when that became legal a little over a year ago.</p><p>&quot;It was very validating, but when it comes time in April for you to file your taxes, it doesn&rsquo;t mean a thing,&quot; Verdich said.</p><p>When asked if they would get married if Illinois ever allows same sex couples to do so, Morse sarcastically said, &quot;Oh, I don&#39;t know.&quot;</p><p>She then casually popped the question to Verdich.</p><p>&quot;I will marry you, Gail,&quot; Verdich said.</p><p>Now that Morse has popped the question, they just have to wait to see what Illinois&rsquo; answer will be.<br /><!--[endif]--></p></p> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/illinois-delegates-are-happy-democrats-embrace-gay-marriage-102243 Chicago Dem brings the hugs back to the DNC http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/chicago-dem-brings-hugs-back-dnc-102210 <p><p>One Illinois Congressman is reviving an unusually intimate show of party unity at the Democratic National Convention: hugs.</p><p>Chicago Congressman Mike Quigley finally did it when he took the stage at Tuesday&rsquo;s delegation breakfast.</p><p>&ldquo;Four years ago, we had a lotta hugging,&rdquo; Quigley said. &ldquo;Remember the hugging?&rdquo;</p><p>Quigley was referring to the Democratic hug-fest that broke out among the fractured party at 2008&rsquo;s convention in Denver. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., initiated a round of hugging among some of the delegation&rsquo;s most bitter political rivals, including &nbsp;ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan.</p><p>At the time, divisions and disunity amongst Illinois Democrats were getting unwanted national attention, as party leaders worked to get their native son, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, elected into the White House.</p><p>On Tuesday, Quigley jokingly directed his affections toward his former colleague on the Cook County Board, John Daley. But Quigley was quick to say the Illinois delegation is not as fractured as it was in 2008.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be some tension and disagreements among politicians,&quot; he said. &ldquo;But this is a pretty tranquil convention.&rdquo;</p><p>So why bring back the hugs?</p><p>&ldquo;It just occurred to me that the hugger and the huggees are not here four years later,&rdquo; he said, referring to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is on a medical leave from Congress while he receives treatment for bi-polar disorder and gastrointestinal problems, and Blagojevich, who is now in federal prison serving a sentence for corruption.</p><p>And after getting his hug, Daley didn&rsquo;t seem to mind.</p><p>&ldquo;We became, uh, good personal friends,&rdquo; Daley said. &ldquo;And let&rsquo;s just say, uh, he is a hugger.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/chicago-dem-brings-hugs-back-dnc-102210 Emanuel defends trip to Charlotte while teachers strike looms http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/emanuel-defends-trip-charlotte-while-teachers-strike-looms-102195 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmDNC.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is defending his decision to go to Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention instead of negotiating with teachers in Chicago.</p><p>Following his address to the full DNC <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/dnc-emanuel-seeks-revive-excitement-obama-102170">on Tuesday night</a>, Emanuel riled up the Illinois delegation in a raucous speech Wednesday morning.</p><p>But after his speech, Emanuel was swarmed by Chicago media. He said his aides are negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union, even though he&rsquo;s in Charlotte.</p><p>&quot;The president and his team asked me to come and speak. I&rsquo;m going to be here,&quot; he said. &quot;I don&rsquo;t think the 36 hours - we miss a beat.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, the Chicago negotiations are being watched on a broader scale even by those not directly involved. Cinda Klickna&rsquo;s in Charlotte representing the Illinois Education Association.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s comforting to be here and hear support for unions so I hope that that can be brought into Chicago because what happens in Chicago affects the rest of us, too,&quot; she said.</p><p>Emanuel is expected to arrive back in Chicago later Wednesday in the evening.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 13:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/emanuel-defends-trip-charlotte-while-teachers-strike-looms-102195 At DNC, Emanuel seeks to revive excitement for Obama http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/dnc-emanuel-seeks-revive-excitement-obama-102170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm DNC WBEZ Alex Keefe.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took to the Democratic National Convention stage to defend President Barack Obama on Tuesday night &ndash; and to remind voters why they first supported his former boss in 2008.</p><p>Emanuel drew on his time as the president&rsquo;s chief of staff to portray a decisive yet empathetic Obama, who made tough choices on national security and the economy, but who also read 10 letters each night from &ldquo;every day Americans&rdquo; to keep him grounded.</p><p>He also chronicled the difficulty of the early days of Obama&rsquo;s presidency, with the economy in a slump and the continuing war in Iraq.</p><p>&ldquo;We faced a once-in-a-generation moment in American history,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Fortunately for all of us, we have a once-in-a-generation president.&rdquo;</p><p>After a week of nationally-televized Obama-bashing at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., four Illinois speakers helped kick off the opening night of the Democrat&#39;s political convention.</p><p>Emanuel highlighted some of Obama&rsquo;s policies that are popular with his Democratic base, such as the bailout of the auto industry and his decision to end the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military.</p><p>But Emanuel also defended some of the president&rsquo;s more controversial policies, such as his federal health-care overhaul &ndash; a bill Emanuel himself helped muscle through Congress.</p><p>The mayor summed up his arguments in a refrain he repeated four times during his prime-time speech: &ldquo;In case you forgot, that was the change we believed in, that was the change we fought for, that was the change President Obama delivered.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite his pugnacious reputation, Emanuel mostly held off on attacking Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Sep 2012 18:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/dnc-emanuel-seeks-revive-excitement-obama-102170