That was the realm in which Dick Ciccone flourished for many years as he illuminated the range and depth of political corruption in the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and the benighted nation. But always, behind the sharply written yet elegant prose, the reader could discern a compensatory amusement that tempered his never-depleted reserve of deeper outrage. As political editor and then managing editor of the Chicago Tribune he was one of the last of the great print journalists. He also graced our radio program as a member of our political “A-Team.” The three other members of that team join me and a multitude of non-millennials in mourning his passing last week. Here he is in a solo appearance just about a year ago; it begins with the current presidential race as it was starting to shape up in September, 2015 and goes on to some great stories, a stream of amused and cynical asides and the display of his easy and street-smart erudition (in his last two decades he doubled as a Notre Dame adjunct). A closing conjecture: without Dick, Barack Obama would not have become President. Why? Because Dick, as political editor, hired a new reporter, an aspiring kid just out of the University of Chicago who was sort-of interested in politics: namely, David Axelrod.

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One need not look further than Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the top of the GOP candidate heap to know that Americans have become disillusioned with the political establishment. James Piereson takes a look at previous political ‘revolutions’ that have already taken place in this country. Piereson tells us that another is on its way. His latest book, Shattered Consensus, is a masterwork of historical and political analysis and should not be missed. On a positive note, Piereson is not another crying out from the wilderness that America will fall. On the contrary, he believes that any current political turmoil is a precursor to another period of growth for the nation.

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A collective cry resounds from coast to coast: “We’ve got to fix our broken education system!” Yet, what do we do? Young Americans are caught between schools’ requirements to maintain certain levels of testing and garnering a valuable, useful education that can manufacture valuable, able-minded citizens.

E. D. Hirsch is a pioneer in the field of cultural literacy. Being literate on one’s cultural is as important as being literate in letters and the two are indeed married. When one’s ability to read and write at an appropriate level is below certain levels, of course their understanding of their environment and culture is retarded as well.

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This discussion, recorded about a year ago, features one of the best political analysts in Israel, Caroline Glick who is deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post and who was joined by Richard Baehr, political editor of The American Thinker. The basic questions addressed were: Will the new pact with Iran work? (No) Does it threaten Israel’s survival? (Yes) Can and will Israel do anything about it? What?

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Though church attendance in this nation has declined over the last several decades, by and large Christianity is still the predominant religion in this nation. But Christianity has not just influenced American values and culture. It has, as our guest James Papandrea writes, changed the world for the better. Along with his co-author Mike Aquilana, he says that it will do it again.

They’ve recently published Seven Revolutions. Jim joins Milt in this entry to discuss church history, doctrine, and the future of Christianity in an increasingly secular world.

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It’s no secret that Russia is and has always been a propaganda state. Their efforts to control information and influence public opinion at home and abroad are are aggressive and extensive. But Putin’s Russia has a greater goal: to control the internet–the greatest tool in bringing about a total surveillance state.

But there’s another side to Big Comrade. It’s a legion of brilliant programmers and hackers who serve as a counterbalance to Putin’s goal of totalitarianism. It’s an epic struggle waged not with guns and bombs, but with mouse clicks and websites, disinformation, misinformation and leaks.

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In this comparatively early venture in pessimism about the moral strength of the West, two leading historians of the classical world voice their doubts about whether Europe can (or will) resist the second coming of Islam. They are Victor Davis Hanson and Bruce Thornton who joined us in this prescient discussion in 2008.

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The two debaters in this program are Daniel Dennett, famous philosopher from Tufts University (and one of the main advocates of the “new atheism”) and David Cook, professor of philosophy at Wheaton College. Of some seven or eight times that we did discussions on the atheism/religion conflict, this one was most frequently requested for rebroadcast.

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Dr. Sherry Turkle is a renowned professor who has written extensively on how technology affects the way that humans communicate. You have no doubt experienced how communication has changed as you look around and see people not looking at each other, but rather at their phones. So just how has technology changed human interaction? Is it destroying it? Enhancing it? Or is it just making it different?

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age is Turkle’s latest in a thirty year career of studying how the digital age is changing the way we talk, work, live and love.

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Christopher Dickey, son of the great American poet James Dickey, and a leading international journalist, wrote a book in 2009 predicting much more terrorism to come.

He was, to say the least, prescient and his analysis seems to remain relevant down to the present time of escalated Islamist assault upon the West and its national cultures. Or does the murderous regime of the Islamic State Caliphate represent a qualitative as well as quantitative change?

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Words, language, communication. It’s one of our favorite topics. Language can be beautiful, frightening, coarse, forceful, and arresting and, when under the employ of a master, it is like “wine upon the lips”, according to Virginia Woolf.

In the photograph that accompanies this entry is a rendering of the Tower of Babel. As the story goes, at some point in antiquity there was just one language, spoken and understood by all of mankind. Some academics say part of this story at least is true: there really was one language that gave birth to the rest of the tongues we have now. But from where did that language come? It’s a study that has fascinated linguists for years.

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If Chicago’s the Third City, New York is the first to be sure. So where does that leave Washington, D.C.? Without it, what would we be? But we’re not so concerned with prestige on this particular program as we are with what events, characters, considerations and compromises gave birth to these two superpowers of influence and, being based in Chicago as we are, naturally our own city is the measuring stick for comparing them both.

In hour one we are joined by Tom Lewis, professor emeritus, English at Skidmore College. He’s written extensively on the mid-Atlantic states and, for an aside, an absolutely superb history of our business of radio. In Washington: A History of Our National City, we learn of just what Washington the man had to overcome to give us a seat of government.

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Jim Baggott is an influential science writer. A scientist himself by training, he has turned toward a career in the commercial world as a successful author who popularizes complex scientific theories by making them, well, understandable.

His latest, Origins: The Scientific Story of Creation, is a concise history of how we got here, how life has evolved on this planet, and where life may be heading next. Baggott joins us here for an hour. We only wish that we’d had more time.

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When most of us think of the supernatural in the Catholic religion, we think of the Shroud of Turin, or sightings of Mary, or exorcisms. These are just the big ones in a limitless line of claims which the Church must investigate.

John Thavis has years of experience working in the Vatican as the Rome Bureau Chief of the Catholic News Service and has written previously about what goes on with the Holy See. He goes deep into how this secretive team must vet miracles of those to be canonized, how they go around the world doing detective work on apparitions, or sightings of the Saints or demons. In The Vatican Prophecies Thavis also sheds some light on Pope Francis, a pope who has been thrust into the limelight at a time when the Church has passionate debate within and increasing pressure from the outside to adapt to an increasingly secular world.

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Oh, Chicago. Where did we go wrong? With our shocking fiscal crisis, looming and potentially crippling property tax hikes, rampant crime, out flight of businesses and youth, crumbling infrastructure, education system mired in corruption and under performance, rising cost-of-living…the list of ills goes on and on.

Oh, Chicago. Where did we go wrong? With our shocking fiscal crisis, looming and potentially crippling property tax hikes, rampant crime, out flight of businesses and youth, crumbling infrastructure, education system mired in corruption and under performance, rising cost-of-living…the list of ills goes on and on.

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On this show we again investigate the events of another devastating attack on the French capital. We’re joined in studio by W. Rand Smith of Lake Forest College, a political scientist who studies French politics and Daniel S. Kamin, adjunct professor of International Relations at DePaul.

Via phone we check in with Fred Kagan of American Enterprise Institute and Fred Burton, VP of Intel at Stratfor.

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Like the rest of the civilized world, we were horrified by the weekend’s events in Paris. Immediately we moved to bring you the most sober and informed analysis possible.

In this episode, we’re joined by two fine academics who study terror and its machinations — John Allen Williams of Loyola and Barry Kellman of DePaul — in studio. Via phone we talk to Daniel Greenfield, who has some very strong assertions toward Islam and the role of the faith in terror, and to the inimitable Victor Davis Hanson, who had a timely article on the tragedy.

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What began as a show on the political world at large and the insanity on the campus of American colleges quickly turned into a discussion of the events in Paris, again, following the attacks on a concert venue and other locations Friday evening last. Charles Lipson of the University of Chicago and Richard Baehr, both members of our Political A-Team, were with us on all topics. Also joining was Michael Barone, Fox News contributor and Washington Examiner political correspondent. This is a topic we will cover in depth over the coming days.

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Yet another debate was held in Milwaukee and we are on the scene to tell you who won and who lost. Several under-performing candidates have left the big table, and Ben Carson and Donald Trump are at the top of the leaderboard as of this writing.

To discuss, we have in studio Dick Ciccone and Joe Morris, two members of our political A-Team.

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There’s much going on in the world at the moment, and instead of bringing you a themed show, we thought we’d look to those whose writings on it we admire. And, of course, a little music.

First up to join is Bret Stephens, the Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign-affairs columnist at the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, America in Retreat, has been quite influential. He and Milt talk about ‘The Tyranny of a Big Idea‘.

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By most accounts, the third GOP debate was a circus which strangely pitted the Republican candidates banding together to fend off their foes–not the Democrats, but rather their moderators from CNBC.

To shed light on the proceedings–if there was any of political value–we turn to a fine panel. In studio, Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky of American Thinker, Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics and Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Jonathan Last and Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard.

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As you know we are always keen to keep abreast of all of the latest political news. One member of our Political A-Team is Joseph Morris, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General and all-around polymath. We brought him to the show to discuss the upcoming election and the candidates on both sides, the troubles in the Middle East, and a vast range of other topics.

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It’s no secret that Russia is and has always been a propaganda state. Their efforts to control information and influence public opinion at home and abroad are are aggressive and extensive. But Putin’s Russia has a greater goal: to control the internet–the greatest tool in bringing about a total surveillance state.

But there’s another side to Big Comrade. It’s a legion of brilliant programmers and hackers who serve as a counterbalance to Putin’s goal of totalitarianism. It’s an epic struggle waged not with guns and bombs, but with mouse clicks and websites, disinformation, misinformation and leaks.

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What a week it’s been in the political world. Hillary Clinton was back on the Hill again testifying about Benghazi. U.S. troops engaged in the Middle East. Assad visited Putin in Moscow. Putin’s troops continued their assault on ISIS. A wave of terror and retaliation once again grips Israel. Joe Biden dropped out of the race for the American presidency. And there was much more.

To help us make sense of all of this we turned to Art Cyr of Carthage College, Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post, Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard, and Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner. What a week it was, and what happened will surely lead to more reasons for ongoing discussion.

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Often when studying history we focus on the major figures. This is no less true in American history, where we may discuss founding fathers, maybe Lincoln, or the great generals of our wars. But one man who was very much a major figure who has been overlooked with the passage of time is Henry Clay. Clay spent time in both the House and the Senate and ran for the presidency on multiple occasions. But his true talent was as a compromiser when he served as Speaker of the House.

Harlow Giles Unger has written many fine books on stalwarts of American history, and has just published this work on Clay.

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