Essays People Places Politics Sports

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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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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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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My day with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Two Iowa rallies explain why Hillary may be about to blow a sure thing

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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 1968 Changed Hillary

The year that transformed a Goldwater Girl to a liberal Democrat

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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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