Essays People Places Politics Sports

Chicago should annex adjoining suburbs

Chicago needs to prevent Houston from passing it for third place, and Illinois doesn’t need so many municipalities

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The disappearing Chicago accent is layered with local history

Da dialect of da Daleys is increasingly rare

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Here’s what your foreign cars have done to Michigan

It matters to all of us what happens to the economy of the upper Midwest

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The Christian Right’s shocking conquest

Why religious moderates have disappeared from America

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The Month That Killed The Middle Class

From the Arab Oil Embargo to the Saturday Night Massacre, October 1973 changed the nation forever

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The Middle Class Myth

Why are wages so low? Because white collar workers don’t think they need unions

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R.I.P., The Middle Class, 1946-2013

Was postwar American prosperity a historical fluke?

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Why the Smartest People in the Midwest All Move to Chicago

How Chicago avoided Rust Belt decline and became the Midwest’s global city

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Hope I Die …

Is the Chicago Reader a relic of the 1970s and ’80s?

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Death of a Factory

“Demolition means progress” at the Fisher Body plant in Lansing

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North Country Sage

An appreciation of author Meridel Le Sueur

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Living the Lansing Dream

“Why aren’t you working at the shop?” the GM recruiter asked

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Private Eye

In her final years, acclaimed street photographer Vivian Maier was my neighborhood bag lady

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Subsidizing Elkhart

Eccentric bachelor tycoon David Gundlach willed $150 million to his Indiana hometown

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The Guerilla Bureaucrat

Gabe Klein’s mission to make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in America

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For Kelsey Grammer, the comic roles were just a detour

The “Frasier” star tried to become a serious actor by playing a Chicago mayor in “Boss”

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Master and Commander

An innovator in a genteel sport

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All in the Game

Allan Calhamer invented the board game Diplomacy as a student at Harvard, then went on to a life as a suburban mailman.

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R. Kelly: Trapped in the Courtroom

The R&B singer’s child pornography trial

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The Steel Sailors

Life aboard the Great Lakes ore freighter Joseph L. Block

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Shark out of Water

Waterdog was one of America’s most talented hustlers, until heroin reduced him to living in a car outside a Chicago pool hall.

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A portrait of the drug dealer as a young man

Profile of a small-time crack dealer in Lansing, Michigan

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Downstate Hate

A history of the bitter, nearly 200-year rivalry between Chicago and the rest of Illinois.

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I never worry I’ll be shot in Chicago. After all, I’m white.

Walking through a high-crime neighborhood without fear of violence is the ultimate white privilege.

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Meet The Flintstones

A Flint, Michigan, couple try to give away their house, have a hard time finding a taker

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Reader’s Corner: Malcolm X St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing, Michigan

Streets named for black leaders reflect Lansing’s tradition of integration

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Flint’s Man in Washington

Rep. Dan Kildee and his fight to preserve “legacy cities”

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The Roots of Rust Belt Chic

Youngstown, Ohio, is leading the revival of Rust Belt pride

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Chiraq, Drillinois

On the South Side of Chicago, rap music and gangbanging are inseparable

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Who Killed Detroit?

Why Detroit and its suburbs should merge to form a megacity

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Canoeing the Cuyahoga: An Outsider Travels the Cuyahoga in Search of the Rust Belt

A canoe trip down the river that once caught fire

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An Ethnic Mix Keeps It Funky in Chicago

Rogers Park, one of America’s most multicultural neighborhoods

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Hometown Favorites, Obama Style

A tour of President Obama’s old haunts on the South Side of Chicago

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Driving Into Fall

A visit to Ronald Reagan’s birthplace and boyhood home in northern Illinois

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Chicago’s New Progressive Boss

Chuy Garcia is headed to Washington, but his local influence is bigger than ever.

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Meet the Community Organizers Fighting Against…Barack Obama

As he plans his presidential center, Obama is getting pushback from members of his old profession, who want to make sure the surrounding neighborhoods benefit.

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Why Trump Won’t Save the Rust Belt

Donald Trump’s economic message is better suited for the 1980s than the 2010s.

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Baby boomers have a Donald Trump problem

Baby Boomers grew up in an immigrant-free America, and they want that country back.

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Inequality leads to authoritarianism

Why Trump is acting like “a generalissimo with a giant brass eagle on his hat”

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Rahm Emanuel Has Not Been Good for Chicago

The hassles and dangers of living in the new global city

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Michigan’s Great Leap Backward

Why Michigan is nicknamed “Michissippi”

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Chicago’s Tale of Two Cities

Rahm Emanuel’s neoliberalism puts him out of step with today’s progressive mayors

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Mayor 1%

The blog post that coined a nickname for Rahm Emanuel

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Ballot Battle

A homeless man fights for the right to run for office

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Young Gun

A profile of then-newly elected congressman Aaron Schock

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More than 125,000 witness history in Chicago

Election Night 2008 in Grant Park

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How Obama Learned To Be A Natural

The lessons Barack Obama learned from his defeat.

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Is Bobby Rush In Trouble?

In 2000, State. Sen. Barack Obama tried and failed to unseat Congressman Bobby Rush.

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Undercover Advocates

One couple’s pursuit of humane treatment of horses

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Fritz Pollard: Football’s Unsung Trailblazer

The Chicago native who broke the NFL’s color line

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From Kentucky Derby to Dinner Plate

How to end the horse slaughter pipeline

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Unbreakable

The women’s track and field record book needs to be expunged

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In Praise of Kissing Your Sister

Why I love tie games

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Why I Love the Preakness

The least glamorous but most bettable Triple Crown race

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The Handicapper

How an ex-nun became a winner at the track

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The Inside Track

Tipping a blind beggar results in a big win at Hawthorne Race Course

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Tackling Souls

Chicago Bears linebacker turned evangelist Mike Singletary

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One-Track Minds

A horseplayer’s apprenticeship

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