Mum’s the word as Rahm Emanuel awaits Senate confirmation — but it shouldn’t be

SNEED: Although the former mayor isn’t talking about his record, he was raised in a civil rights household where his mom took her children to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. march in Chicago in 1966 to end housing segregation.

SHARE Mum’s the word as Rahm Emanuel awaits Senate confirmation — but it shouldn’t be

Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff in the Obama White House, listens during a confirmation hearing before Senate Foreign Relations Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill October 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty

The Rahm report …

Mum’s the word.

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, rarely at a loss for words, had been silent in the lead-up to his Senate confirmation hearing last Wednesday to be President Joe Biden’s choice for U.S. ambassador to Japan.

A Rahm interview would have been a good “get” in advance of questions about his handling of the aftermath of the murder of Black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago cop in 2014.

Then, in the blink of a fast think, Rahm bit the bullet at the Senate hearing — admitting regret over his failure to assess the distrust of the city’s African-American community and calling the murder a grave tragedy. His nomination is expected to easily advance out of committee to a full Senate vote.

It reminded this reporter of a private lunch years ago with our newly elected mayor and conversation about his mother, Marsha, who had raised him in a civil rights household.

An early, active member of CORE (Congress for Racial Equality) who traveled for civil rights nationwide, Rahm’s mom was also active in the integration of Chicago housing, beaches and other places. She was there for the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech. She even took her children to march with him in Chicago in 1966 to end housing segregation.

“On a hot, sunny Thursday, my mother gave us lunch, packed up some sandwiches, fruits and drinks, and got us out the door” … telling her children to “hold hands, stay close to me, and never wander off by yourselves” during the King march, according to an excerpt from a 2013 book titled: “Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family,” written by Rahm’s brother, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel.

The young Emanuel brothers also recalled men and women stabbing, kicking and ripping up an effigy of Dr. King.

Rahm’s father, Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, was a pediatric doctor I met in 1980 and who personally took a lead in a suit filed against the city for permitting the use of lead-based paint in public housing — found to neurologically destroy the mental facility of children who ate it.

Impressive stuff.

Nothing to be mum about.


Marsha Emanuel, mother of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a 2015 photo.

Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Vax chat


Sometimes we all get goofy.

And I’ve had a few chuckles participating in COVID chat since “pandemania” hit in March 2020.

It’s akin to a coy, conversational “word” quiz among vaccine recipients hoping to get the right one.

Early on, it went something like this:

“Which one did you get?”


“Hmm. I got Moderna. Hmm. Well … lucky you.”

(Momentary silence.)

(Quietly.) “If you don’t mind me asking … where did you … get your Pfizer shot?

“OK. Well, I guess we have no choice. They didn’t offer Pfizer at the site available to me.

“Well, Moderna is OK, right?


Then: “By the way, I hear [so and so] just got the J&J ... [pause] Johnson and Johnson … er, Janssen vaccine. I get confused.

“Yikes. I hear it may not be as strong as Pfizer and Moderna?”

“By the way, did you also get dizzy the day after your second shot?”

“Hmmm. I was sick for a week after the second vaccine. Wonder why my wife had no trouble at all?”

Now, with news the Moderna vaccine might actually offer slightly better protection than Pfizer, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying those who got the J&J shot could benefit from a second shot of one of the mRNA vaccines, the conversations go like this:

“OMG! The CDC just expanded eligibility for COVID booster shots.”


“Mix and match.”


A random thought …

… about all the anti-vaxxers who are a half-bubble off plumb.

I will now raise my hand.


How does a political party morph into a virus?


Isn’t pandemic gobbledygook what’s feeding the anti-vax cult taking over the Republican Party?


So if there is strength in numbers … don’t numbers decline when anti-vaxxers become victims of COVID-19?


Sneedlings …

A note to noodle: Queen Elizabeth, 95, who has been told to take it easy after a hastily scheduled mystery trip to the doctor’s office Wednesday … had entertained American gazillionaire Bill Gates and a slough of businessmen at Windsor Castle the night before …Irish writer Colum McCann was honored for literature at the 2021 iBAM (Irish Books Arts and Music) celebration at the Irish American Heritage Center Friday night. … Saturday birthdays: Actor Ryan Reynolds, 44; CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 51; Meghan McCain, 36 … Sunday birthdays: actor Kevin Kline, 73; R&B singer/rapper Drake … and a special birthday shout-out to veteran Sun-Times compadre Paul Saltzman. 

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