Charles Thomas Walks Off Political Plantation, Wins First Ever “No Chumbolone Zone” Award, the Chicago Way

By John Kass

Oct. 21, 2022

I once thought the only journalism award worth a fig was the Refrigerator Prize, when readers would cut out a column or story from the local paper and and fix it to a refrigerator magnet so the entire family (or workplace) could see.

But who cuts out columns from the papers these days? Are the papers offering compelling columns or just more bland and corporately safe politically correct mush that no one feels like reading anyway?

Today there is a new award.

Retired veteran Chicago WLS-TV political reporter Charles Thomas, a POC or “person of color,” now a political consultant, has just been handed the first ever “No Chumbolone Zone” Award on the latest edition of The Chicago Way podcast. To listen to the “No Chumbolone Zone Award ceremony, just click the link here.

It isn’t a journalism award. It goes to citizens who express courage. Every month I hand out the Golden Moutza of the Month to idiots nominated by readers. But the “No Chumbolone Zone” Award is much different. Those who enter the zone declare themselves not to be chumbolones.

Think of it as a profile in courage award, even though it comes from the lips of a Chicago Outfit messenger. Some of you know the history, others do not. I was there. Here’s the background on  the “No Chumbolone Zone” award.

Years ago Chinatown tough guy Anthony Passiafume, famous for lifting weights on the corner and showing off his big “guns” became a Chicago Police officer. He changed his name to “Anthony Doyle” to work in the department’s evidence section. Years later, the FBI was searching for a bloody glove in evidence that would implicate the killers of the Spilotro brothers. Passiafume met with with Chinatown crew boss Frank Calabrese in prison. Calabrese, who was agitated, talked of using cattle prods on witnesses.

From the witness stand in the Outfit trial known as “Family Secrets,”Anthony Passiafume/Twan Doyle was asked under oath: Why oh why did he keep nodding and agreeing with Calabrese about the various uses of the cattle prods?

Because, Passiafume/Doyle said he didn’t understand what Cabrese was telling him. And besides, “I doan wanna look like a chumbolone, an idiot, stupid.”

He was sentenced to 12 years. He doan wanna look like a chumbolone. But 12 years? From Chinatown slang to Chicago Outfit legend. And now Charles Thomas is the first recipient of the No Chumbolone Zone award.

How did Thomas earn the prestigious award? He thought for himself. And thinking for himself caused him to walk off the political plantation with those white liberal corporate legacy media overseers, who just assume that a black man should think a certain way, and that way should be the Democrat way.

But Thomas refused to play that way.

Thomas  enraged white leftist media in Chicago by endorsing conservative downstate Republican, State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia for governor against Democratic billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Thomas cut some devastating ads on Bailey’s behalf, one on Bailey as a family farmer and my favorite about billionaire J.B. Pritzker born on third base bragging that he hit a triple.

Thomas did the ads working with conservative radio host Dan Proft for the pro-Bailey political action committee, People Who Play by the Rules. The political establishment in Illinois is left wing. And Pritzker subsidizes it. The journos who were upset by Thomas would certainly burn Proft at the stake for heretics if they could.

White leftist media types just can’t stand black people leaving the Democrat Party political plantation. And so, they just hated it when Thomas told other black voters to run away from that plantation before an election.

White liberal journos hurled insults at Thomas that they would never hurl at another person of color. It was easy for them. Thomas sees the Democrat Party as hurtful to black people in America.

“Media biz chatter over pro-Bailey TV spots spills over onto Twitter,” was the breathless headline over a story about Thomas dissing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s money and endorsing Republican State. Sen. Darren Bailey for governor.

My friend and WGN radio producer Jeff Carlin and I gave the coveted “No Chumbolone” award to Thomas on our latest Chicago Way podcast that should be up today.

Bailey opened his second debate with Pritzker this week by mentioning the word “Chumbolone.” It means fool, idiot or stupid in Chicago Outfit parlance. For decades, the people of Illinois have been chumbolones to power.  They’ve tried every establishment political combination there is.

The only thing Illinois hasn’t tried is true conservative reform. And that got Chicago Way co-host Jeff Carlin and me to thinking.

 Thomas’ spots targeting Pritzker were devastating and because he, the black guy, was flying right over the target, infuriating the white liberal journos who screamed bloody murder. Why? Because black men shouldn’t think for themselves? Or are they allowed to “think” for themselves as long as they hew to the white liberal party line.

White political journos who made a career sucking up to Jim Edgar (Cellini pal) and Rich Daley became enraged with Thomas.

They pelted him with personal insults. They might as well put him in a blue velvet suit. He fled their plantation and it’s a wonder they didn’t cut his hamstrings.

Thomas’ colleague, former WLS sportscaster Mark Giangreco started the Twitter war calling Thomas a “sellout shill” for Bailey’s campaign. Giangreco’s brother Pete is a Democratic political consultant. “Other consultants, like your Dem hack brother get paid a LOT more. You could probably use a few extra bucks. How long has it been?”

Former ABC political reporter Andy Shaw–whose son-in-law Chris Hayes is an anchor on the hard left MSNBC network–told Crain’s he was surprised and assumed that Thomas was a liberal Democrat. What happens when you assume, Andy? Former ABC anchor Ron Magers also took a few shots at Thomas. And he took a few shots at them.

In the Thomas interview on the Chicago Way podcast, I was reminded that Malcolm X also became vexed with precious white liberal journos. He could spot the insincerity dripping from their smiles.

In Illinois these days, Democrats give state grants to non-profit groups to keep them on the political plantation. You see this in news stories all the time, Thomas said on The Chicago Way podcast. The non-profit bosses are called “leaders” by journalists, not suck ups standing in line for state-grant hush money

And those who run off must be tracked down.

State grants are “how they keep people on the plantation. I ran off,” Thomas said on the Chicago Way podcast. “The barking Twitter dogs are chasing me, as I said in my reply to (former WLS-TV colleague Mark Giangreco’s tweet). I wrote ‘Run Charles Run! I’m going to the river and if any of you want to come with me, come with me. That’s what I’m saying to black voters in Chicago and Cook County.”

He targets three areas of Pritzker’s vulnerability with black voters:

Rising violent crime, as minorities are most usually the victims. And black homeowners in the south suburbs being crushed by property taxes.

And the Democrats’ abysmal handling of public education, where the teachers’ unions are protected by the Democrat Party though black children can’t read or write or do arithmetic at grade level in Illinois.

A third area of Pritzker vulnerability is Pritzker’s promises to have black businesses involved in the governor’s handing out state cannabis licenses that have made fortunes for others. But black businesses weren’t included in Pritzker’s pot party.

“Apartheid,” Thomas says.

And another issue yet to come, the openly racist comments Pritzker made about black elected officials when Pritzker’s phone calls with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich were intercepted by the FBI. I can’t wait until Thomas calls him out on that, and Pritzker splutters and white liberal journos come to Pritzker’s defense.

Thomas barely hinted at what’s to come. And Pritzker and his defenders know it.

“Oh don’t worry,” Thomas said on The Chicago Way podcast. “There’s something planned for him.”

White leftist media types just can’t stand black people leaving the Democrat Party political plantation. And so, they just hated it when Thomas told other black voters to run away from the Democrat plantation before an election.

White liberal journos hurled insults at Thomas that they would never hurl at another person of color. But he’s left the Democrat Party and Thomas’ subversive dash toward ideological freedom can not stand. Or Pritzker, the billionaire, may become upset.

“Media biz chatter over pro-Bailey TV spots spills over onto Twitter,” was the breathless headline over a story about Thomas dissing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s money and endorsing Republican State. Sen. Darren Bailey for governor.

My friend and WGN radio producer Jeff Carlin and I gave the coveted “No Chumbolone” award to Thomas on our latest Chicago Way podcast.

“Free speech is the building block of freedom,” Thomas said.  “I accept the award,” he said humbly. “Thank you. Thank you.”

What do you have to do to win the “No Chumbolone” trophy? For one thing, you have to think for yourself. This terrifies most political reporters in Illinois who proceed from one gooey liberal consensus to another.

And the second thing? Don’t kneel. You can’t win the “No Chumbolone” trophy on your knees.

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(Copyright 2022 John Kass)