About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does.  As a trial lawyer and trial skills teacher aroud the world, its his most important tool. As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally.  As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated.

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Live Broadcast from Farview Park in North Minneapolis

This broadcast started out as a result of a phone call from a listener. He described how, as a resident and business owner in North Minneapolis, he was facing constant crime, constant danger and little hope for the future. And he wanted to know if WCCO would consider taking a closer look at the struggles faced by the people living in this community.
While crime has dropped substantially across the country over the last couple of years, this is not the case in North Minneapolis. According to statistics kept by the city, homicides are up some 36% so far this year as compared to three years ago. Aggravated assaults are up by 36%. Robberies are up by 41%. That doesn't mention the drugs, the prostitution, the thefts.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak tries to explain the challenges he and the people of Minnesota face as a result of the problems in North Minneapolis.

The purpose of the program was not to take political shots at one side or another, although that is sometimes inevitable by some invited to participate. Our purpose was to give the residents of this community a forum to address grievances and allow the police, community activists and politicians a chance to not just respond but to articulate their stuggles, their concerns and even their ideas for addressing the problems.

Mayoral Candidate Peter McLaughlin has a very different take on the reasons for the problems in this neighborhood and the possible solutions.

The broadcast took place at Farview Park on 29th and Lyndale. Besides invited guests, residents of the community were also invited to attend and voice their opinions. We should add that only a few short blocks away from our broadcast is the center of the drug trade in this neighborhood. Throughout the broadcast, I kept asking officials why I can simply walk down the street and buy any illegal drug of my choice. The answers were varied.
Quite by accident, after the broadcast, Sue, my producer and I, were leaving Farview Park and on our way back to WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis when I thought that I would show Sue a house just down the street that had been shot up and in which a young girl had been shot. Well, we drove two blocks from Farview and slowed in front of the house. We were not there for more than 10 seconds when we were approached by a young African American man on a bicycle. He wore all black. Yeah. You know the rest. He was a drug dealer. We waived him off and moved on.

Minneapolis Police Chief William McManus tries to articulate the relationship between the police and the community to address the problems. He explains that the police cannot arrest the problem away

Minneapolis Police Officer Grant Snyder, one of the STOP officers, gave some on-the ground realities faced by the officer trying to work the streets in this area.

The broadcast wasn't intended to solve any problems but mainly to highlight the problems that exist. Even more, as was stated by many of the guests, even though North Minneapolis faces incredible problems, nothing is stopping these same bad elements from moving into other parts of Minneapolis, St. Paul or even across the state. So, in the end, the problem is not a North Minneapolis problem but rather Minnesota problem.

City Councilman Don Samuels took a much broader view of the problem. As the Councilman put it, everybody is involved and everybody should be interested in the solution.

Various members of the community came to participate including Lt. Maderra Arradondo, Commander of the Minneapolis Police STOP Division and member of the Police Community Relations Council.


Riding with the Minneapolis Police Department in North Minneapolis

Minneapolis Police Officers Tim Gorman and Mark Klukow have worked the streets of North Minneapolis for almost 10 years. In an upcoming show on November 2, 2005, we will broadcast live from North Minneapolis where we will meet with citizens, cops, business people and politicians. In order to have a better understanding of the problems that people face who live in this neighborhood, I wanted to have a first hand view of events. Officers Klukow and Gorman agreed to take me along on patrol one Friday night.

While you see many squad cars in North Minneapolis, this is the one view you never want to see, from the backseat. Notice the shotgun with the white tape around the barrel and the fuzzy dice hanging from the video camera. Never say cops don't have senses of humor. Sitting in the back of this squad, I watched these officers spend most of their time just being an obvious presence. That's not to say there was nothing to do. On this evening alone, we responded to a robbery a gunpoint and a possible fight between 30 people. And this was only one of the squads in the Fourth Precinct this night.

About 11:00 p.m. we were called to Kalek's Bar for a robbery. As we stood out in the street at the corner of 21st and Washington, these officers tried to determine who stole what from whom, made all the more difficult because all involved seemed to have been drinking. Suffice it to say, a woman's wallet was allegedly stolen and the police had one suspect. In the end, after searching the suspect, the bar and even the alley behind the bar, the officers found nothing. They wrote a report and moved on.

Look closely at the front window of this house. The bullet holes are obvious. In the summer of 2005, somebody shot into this house and hit an innocent twelve year old girl. This girl still lives in this house with her mom and siblings. This picture alone made it clear to me that the people that live here often live in conditions that any of us would consider intolerable. Unfortunately, with few options, they stay. Apparently, they can't even afford to fix the window. I wonder, which scars are worse for this young girl, the physical or the mental ones?


Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee

On October 18, 2005, we broadcast The Jack Rice Show live from the Shakopee Women's Prison. This is the only women's prison in the state of Minnesota. As a prosecutor, I had a hand in sending some of these women here. As a defense attorney, I did my best to keep them out. As a broadcaster, I do my best to bring the stories of these women, as well as those who are responsible for maintaining order at this place.

During the broadcast, we interviewed the Commissioner of Corrections, the Warden of this prison, the Director of Programming, Guards, and, of course, the inmates themsevles.

On a crisp fall day, I stand outside of this prison, unsure of what I will find inside. The youngest inmates are 16 or 17 but have been certified as adults. The oldest? 91. All are mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends, enemies, neighbors. I guess it would be a lot easier to just call them criminals but life is rarely that simple.

Every visitor is required to sign in, have their background checked and to leave identification, in exchange for the privilege of entering the only Women's Prison in the state of Minnesota.

While at first glance, it appeared like a liberal arts college, once you enter and look into the faces of the women incarcerated here, some for the rest of their lives, it becomes very clear that this is no simple education. And the tuition is too much for most!

One woman, Suzanne, has been here for four years. She is young. Only 26 with long brown hair and brown eyes. Her hair touches her shoulder blades. In order to explain to her young daughter how long she must stay her, she explains that she can't come home until her hair grows down to her butt.

She was convicted of Arson and will not leave this place until March of 2008. And yet, she holds onto the hope that her daughter will remember and love her throughout her incarceration here. A tall order for a four year old . . .


Timberwolves Hurricane Relief Flight

As I sit in my seat in the back of the airplane heading down toward Baton Rouge, I wonder what I will face. It is easy to talk about refugees, evacuees, Americans, when you talk about them in the abstract, by the thousands. It is a whole other game to look a homeless mother in the face as she holds her crying baby. And yet, I know that one voice at a time is the only way to tell a story.

As we travel, Kevin McCale walks back toward the back of the plane. As I watch, it becomes abundantly clear that commercial planes are not built for guys like this. Kinda like me sitting at my 7 year old dauther Bella's desk at school during teacher conferences. Look how his head scrapes the ceiling even as he stoops.

As we arrive at the Interdenominational Faith Assembly Hurricane Shelter, I quickly see the enormity of the problem. Hundreds and hundreds of people wait for help. It is in the nineties and very humid and yet, people have waited for hours for the supplies that this relief flight will provide. These people need everything. Food, clothing, toiletpaper. And yet, they wait for hour after hour in lines that stretch around the building and out under the hot sun. And not a complaint do I hear, just plenty of "thank you"s.

Her name is Paula and she is one of the funniest people I have ever met. She is from the 9th Ward in New Orleans and has lost everything, I mean everything. . . except her family, her dignity and her sense of humor.
She sits on a bed in the middle of what appears to be chaos. At least 700 people are surrounding us. As I approach her, she smiles.
"Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" I ask.
"Come and have a seat on my bed baby and we can talk."
You can tell she is messing with me.
I come to learn that she and her family have been in this shelter for three and a half weeks. She acknowledges her losses. And yet, you can see the strength and determination and yes, humor, in her eyes.
She says that she would offer me some ice tea but, referring to the 700 people around us, "a few uninvited guests have arrived." We both laugh out loud.

Deputy Clifton Sanford of the Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is a former Marine who was in the Gulf during the first Gulf War. His optimism and his religious conviction seem to pull him through any difficulty. As he puts it, "this small city has seen more than 200,000 people come through her in the last two weeks alone." Imagine trying to police that!


A Recent MSNBC Appearance

I recently appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

Live from the Minnesota State Capitol

On June 30, 2005, we broadcast the Jack Rice Show from the State Capitol on the last day of the Special Session. Rarely in recent memory have the people of this state shown such frustration and anger at all sides involved. While everybody was present, from Governor Tim Pawlenty to Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and House Speaker Steve Sviggum, very little seemed to be accomplished.
The tension between all parties and within parties was obvious and the bad blood was apparent to all who were in the building.
Our purpose was to provide all sides a chance to articulate their positions to our listeners and to allow those same listeners to air their frustrations and to call their political leaders on issues. I hope that we succeeded.
The weather was not cooperating but I'm not sure where it was gloomier, outside or inside the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul, MN.

Sometimes, broadcasting from locations provides special challenges including technical difficulties but having a chance to get out of the studio and meet our listeners always makes it more fun. And you never know what will happen.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty tries to explain his efforts to bring the House and Senate together.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson was also talking a lot of heat for the failure to come to some sort of resolution on the stalemate. Nevertheless, he too tried to explain his views to the listeners.

The CIA Director Has An "Excellent Idea" Where Osama is, Does He?

So CIA Director Porter Goss has “an excellent idea” where Osama bin Laden is, does he? He said that very thing to Time magazine. Well that is just great! Glad to hear that after more than three years, billions of dollars, thousands of American lives, countless sleepless nights, and the turning of our country upside down, that the head of the CIA knows where the perpetrator of 9/11 is. We can now all breathe a sigh of relief!

According to Porter, but for the US’s respect for sovereign nations, we would apparently have our nemesis in a concrete cell. That’s right. Because we respect other nations so much, we won’t go conduct operations in them without permission. And yet, multiple countries including Italy, Sweden, and others have claimed that the US has kidnapped people from within their own borders and taken them who knows where. And yet, out of respect, we won’t . . .

Pardon me if I don’t stand up and cheer. As a former CIA Officer, I question Porter’s accuracy as well as his honesty. Apparently, it is vital that we respect countries that protect the one terrorist that we want while at the same time, we are willing to ignore international law and the domestic laws of our European allies in order to get to other people that we want. What is wrong with this picture? Is it just me?

But back to the point. So, we have an excellent idea where he is, do we? Unfortunately, what is a little disconcerting is that we have heard this before. Oh yes, “we have Osama bin Laden in our sites in Tora Bora.” Oh yes, “we will have him in a matter of days of not hours.” Oh yes, “it should be any time now.” Remember all of these statements from other US government officials. I remember going on MSNBC as a former CIA Officer to give my response. I said it then and I will say it again. Talk is cheap!

Look, it is easy to claim all sorts of things. Heck, I have the numbers to the next lottery, but I’m just not in the mood to buy a ticket. I also have the secret formula for turning lead into gold but I don’t like the color. Anybody else?

Yeah, Porter, I’m sure you have an excellent idea where Osama is. Unfortunately, I would be much happier if you would spend less time telling the media and spend more time going to that place where he supposedly is and blowing him to kingdom come. Would that be a novel concept? Just for fun and to maybe break up the monotony!

Maybe if you would have done this two years ago, President Bush would have stayed focused on Al Qaeda rather than diverting our resources into the Iraqi quagmire. And sadly, we now have 1700 dead and counting and more than 13,000 maimed for our troubles.

So, where is Osama is the question on everybody’s lips, right? I’ll tell you what. I’m beginning to believe that he is working in a deli in Flint, Michigan with Elvis and Ritchie Valens.
So, Porter, do me a favor, when you get him, bring me a Pastrami on Rye with some hot mustard. That is, if it is not too much trouble!

What Ever Happened to What is Wrong is Wrong?

I am blown away. The news that Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI was in fact Deep Throat was amazing. But what was more amazing to me was President Bush's response to hearing the story. What response, you ask? Well, the President saying its hard for him to judge if Felt was right to leak Watergate details to the Washington Post.

Let me get this right. President Nixon was a criminal. That is certain. He was an unindicted co-conspirator in the break in at the Watergate Hotel and should have gone to prison like many others involved in the break in and subsequent cover up. And it is hard for President Bush to judge if Felt was right to leak it?

What the hell is wrong with this picture when we have such moral relativism that we can explain away the moral and legal rot that took place in the White House some 30 plus years ago.
What ever happened to wrong is wrong, is wrong, is wrong?

What President Nixon did was nothing short of criminal. As a former prosecutor, if I were in the Justice Department at the time, I would have prosecuted him. You know what, if it had been a Democrat who was the criminal, I would have prosecuted him. Why? Because it is an affront to all of us when our political leaders treat us like dupes and take refuge behind their political hacks or misinformed public who are just trying to be "good Republicans" or "good Democrats." How about "good Americans" for once?

One of the biggest problems in this country is that we have decided that it is better to be on the winning side, better to protect our own, better to play the game, than it is to do what is right!
When I go home at night, I try to teach my kids about right and wrong. I try to talk to them about character, about standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves and about telling the truth. After watching the news and reading the papers, I'm not sure what to tell my girls now.

My President can't seem to make the distinction between protecting a crook, but not just any crook, the President of the United States. And worse, I have the sinking feeling that if this were a Democrat, this President would have given Mark Felt a parade and bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon him. I sure hope I'm wrong but I don't know . . .

The President needs to come out and say it simply and clearly. What is wrong, is wrong, is wrong, is wrong. Regardless of whether or not it cuts in your favor, your party's favor, anybody's favor. Since 9/11, many people in this country having been wearing patriotism like a mantle and that is good. However, what is so disturbing is that some have tried to use patriotism like a club against others here who may not agree with their political beliefs. Well, you know what? Standing up for what is right is what patriotism is all about.
Jack Rice is a former CIA Officer, prosecutor and host of the Jack Rice Show on WCCO Radio in Minneapolis.

Middle East Broadcast in Israel and Palestine

A view of maybe the most fought over piece of real estate in the history of mankind. The Jews, Christians and Muslims have died by the thousands over the last thousand years to control only a few square feet of property.

Preparing to broadcast our first show from studios in Jerusalem back to WCCO in Minneapolis. While I was guaranteed that it would work, I had my doubts. Of course, everything went off without a hitch.

In the distance, on the hillside, you can see Bethleham. It is located in the West Bank, Palestine. Between the building in the foreground, and Bethleham, is the wall. The Israelis built it for stability and peace. Depending upon which side of the wall in which you live, the wall is viewed very differently.

At one point, down near the Egytian border, about 150 yards away, I came upon an interesting site. A view of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. I was warned about taking this photo because snipers frequently target those from their vantage point in the building in the distance. Of course, I should add, you don't see the children playing around me as a take this photo.

Standing in Yasser Arafat's compound. For years, I watched how Arafat, Nobel Prize winner to some, terrorist to others, was virtually imprisoned in this place. In this photo, see the destruction wrought by Israeli forces. If you look closely, you can see a bathtub, balanced precariously on a ledge.

John Kerry in Ramallah, Palestine on the historic date of the Palestinian elections, January 9, 2005. Sen. Kerry was one of the international officials present to verify the legitimacy of the election process.