Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Ultimate Dinner Party

as of December 20, 2014

My ultimate dinner party would include, in no particular order:

Maybe I'd include some of my kids, like Amber Gibson, Eldridge Shannon, Lilian Odish and Dr. Mohammed Nayyef.

I believe everyone would have a good time at this dinner. (If Barak and Hillary don't want to talk to each other, that is okay. All these people have great things to offer.)

Yes, I know. A few of these folks are quite unavailable.
Yes, I've left some loved ones and really cool people off the list.

An ultimate wish is that I'd have a good time at this party. I'm not always comfortable with crowds. Also I wish, if this even happened that I'd not act like an idiot like the time I met Muhammed Yunus.  (I can tell you more about it in person.) I like to think I don't get starstruck, but I do.

First we'd have cocktails (and just see what Frances Willard has to say about that) and passed appetizers.

I'd have no assigned seating for dinner, as I'd be interested in who ends up sitting by whom. I'd hope that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert don't just huddle in a corner cracking up each other.

I think there would be no "plus-ones", but I'm on the fence about that right now. I think Tipper Gore (who I hear is not with Al these days) and Rosalynn Carter would have a lot to talk about.

All these folks intrigue me.
Some I've met, some I've not.
Some of them have influenced me greatly.

Who would be at your ultimate dinner party?

Photos (from top): Amber Gibson, Gwen Moore and Jan Schakowsky and Muhammed Yunus.
Photos by © Karen Kring

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chicago Headline Club starts a new year.


Odette Yousef (standing, left), Mary Wisniewski, Suzanne McBride, Flynn McRoberts,
Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein,
Fernando Diaz and Patrick Boylan,
Susan S. Stevens (seated, left),
Molly McDonough,
Jon Seidel, Aimee DeBat,
Sheila Solomon and
Howard Dubin. Not included: Kristen Schorsch. 

Chicago (July 12, 2014 )--On this rainy Saturday morning, some of Chicago's most formidable journalists gathered to discuss how they together--along with others who also care about the health and well-being of news gathering and its professionals--can best lead the Chicago Headline Club during this era of turmoil within the industry. 

Dedicated to the professional development of current and future journalists and protecting the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts, CHC is the the largest local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the country. 

A big tent organization (my words, not the board's), its numerous initiatives include assisting journalists looking for ethics advice, a new job or public records; supporting fledgling careers and new investigative projects through mentoring, scholarships and grants; and recognizing excellent in journalism through the annual Peter Lisagor Awards. 

Beside bringing back Burger Nights on the second Friday of the month, one of CHC's newest initiative, is FOIA Fest. In March more than 120 journalists attended a day-long observance of Sunshine Week that provided training that ranged from the pros and cons of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to how to find data and use it to tell stories most effectively.

The success of the Chicago Headline Club's work not only hinges on its board's leadership, but the continued support of other journalists, industry professionals and stakeholders.  To learn more about how you can help CHC support robust journalism and its practitioners, contact Executive Director Aimee DeBat at 312-553-0393.

If you get the chance, ask anyone you know in the picture about the 10th man rule.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Skokie native Sharon Karp's A Song for You screens at Illinois Holocaust Museum Sunday

This just in...

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center hosts a public screening of the film A Song for You on Sunday, July 13 at 1:30 p.m.  The filmmaker Sharon Karp and co-director Silvia Malagrino will be on hand for discussion after the screening.

Throughout the film, Skokie native Sharon Karp comes to grips with her family history and weaves interviews with her mother, fragments of a book her father wrote, home movies and historical footage. The film tells the story of how Karp’s parents, George and Gisela Karp, with their infant daughter escaped the Nazis by crossing the Pyrenees with the help of the French Resistance. Sometimes only steps ahead of Hitler’s troops, the Karp family was on the run for five harrowing years.

“It has taken seven long years to make this film,” said Karp. “During the process, I was forced to confront my own trauma as a child of survivors. I also discovered that the miracle of my family’s survival was achieved through strength of will, courage and the help of other people who risked their own lives.”

Karp is a founding member of the Chicago-based film collective Kartemquin Films. In 1995 she formed her own video and post-production house, Media Monster.

Silvia Malagrino is an international award-winning artist, filmmaker and native of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malagrino is a recipient of numerous grants and awards. Recently, she was awarded with the State of Illinois Distinguished Artist award for her contributions to Art and Society.

This program is free with Museum admission and free for Museum members.

For reservation information, go to

Located at 9603 Woods Dr, in Skokie, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference. The Museum fulfills its mission through the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of its collections and through education programs and initiatives that foster the promotion of human rights and the elimination of genocide.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

HA! Today's Deep Thought.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Live from Baghdad: Election Days in Iraq

This in from one of my friends in Iraq, Mohammed Nayyef

Me with my inky finger

Alkadhimiya, BAGHDAD, Iraq (April 30, 2014)

Today is the elections day, and it is really unique and never happened before that lots of people are taking all the efforts to go and vote.

I guess maybe because we had the worst parliament that everyone is so eager to change.

All my friends with posts and Facebook updates are all about the elections. Everyone is saying we all should go.

And there's hope here and best chance to change everything.

Me and my family we all went together and voted even though we had different points of views and we chose different parties.

I chose the civil democratic alliance, which most of the youth really support, as we believe they have decent and honest members.

And we don't really know and don't care about their religion or sect.

It doesn't matter and we all support building a civil democratic country.

It is a positive energy here that we don't have everyday.

It is a good day here!


My electronic voters ID
I met Mohammed "Knife" Nayyef when he came to the U.S. with some other Iraqi students and a couple Chicago kids through World Chicago. Knife and the others spent time in Vermont, Chicago and Washington, DC. He stayed with the Swansons in Evanston. I lead a photo project that had him and his mates capture what they found meaningful. We created books for them to share with the Iraqi families.