Stories by Nick Blumberg

Peoples Gas, CUB Discuss Gas Main Replacement Program

| Kristen Thometz

The Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have accused Peoples Gas of deliberately misleading regulators about the ballooning cost of a huge program to upgrade gas lines around Chicago. Tonight, we discuss the safety upgrades, the program's estimated cost and the claims about the company's actions with representatives from CUB and Peoples Gas.

Obama Urges Bipartisanship in Address to Illinois General Assembly

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon—nine years to the day after he announced his run for the White House on the steps of the Old State Capitol. In a return to his old stomping grounds as a state senator, the president invoked many of the same themes from his 2007 speech.

CPS Denies Arts Program At Gallery 37 Faces Chopping Block

(Courtesy CPS Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37)

Chicago Public Schools denied Friday that about 150 students from around the city could lose a widely celebrated magnet arts program at the end of the current semester, despite statements made earlier this week to the contrary.

Chicago Teachers Union Gets ‘Serious Offer’ from Chicago Public Schools

Earlier this evening, the union announced a possible breakthrough in contract talks after the day's bargaining session wrapped up.

Saving Illinois' Pension System

After the Illinois Supreme Court ruled a pension reform plan unconstitutional, lawmakers have failed to come up with a solution to a problem that worsens with each passing day. Could some form of federal bailout or bankruptcy restructuring be the answer for Illinois? 

Robert Gates Shares His ‘Passion for Leadership’

New Book Highlights Lessons Learned in 50 Years of Public Service

Robert Gates (Eleanor Gates)

To say that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen a lot is undoubtedly an understatement. He's served under eight presidents of both major parties (2006-2011), led the CIA and Texas A&M, and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Now, he’s the president of the Boys Scouts of America. He joins us to talk about his new book.

Chicago's Crisis-Management Challenges

As Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel face crises at the state and city level, crisis management specialists tell us about the importance of leadership and image.

Lawmakers Discuss Governor's Pension Proposal, Democratic Response

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday announced a pension deal to reform Illinois' troubled state retirement system, but Democratic leaders in the legislature quickly pushed back on the plan. A panel of lawmakers discusses the proposal and whether it has any chance of passing the General Assembly.

How the Chicago Defender Shaped American History

Ethan Michaeli (Jason Reblando)

Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender gave a voice to black Americans during the Jim Crow era and helped along the careers of politicians from JFK to Richard J. Daley. Former Defender editor and reporter Ethan Michaeli spent years conducting research and interviews for his extensive new history book.

Crain's Roundup: Ricketts Buying Rooftops, Walgreens Outsourcing Wellness

| Sean Keenehan
Ann Dwyer

The owners of the Cubs are buying three more rooftops with a Wrigley Field view. Joining us with more on that story and other local business news is Crain’s Chicago Business deputy managing editor Ann Dwyer.

Why An ‘Index Card’ of Financial Advice is All You Need

In 2013, Harold Pollack came up with a nine-point index card of common sense financial advice after a conversation with journalist Helaine Olen. Now, the two have expanded the card slightly into a book designed to put the average person on the road to financial well-being. Pollack joins “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the book.

Aldermen Weigh In on City Finances, Inspector General

As Chicago aldermen push for new oversight of City Council and take a hard look at proposals to borrow billions, they’re also faced with ongoing ethics questions about the city’s Law Department and police review authority. A panel of aldermen joins "Chicago Tonight" to discuss those issues and the search for a new police superintendent. 

Emoji, -ism and Identity: The 2015 Words of the Year

Gender identity, social movements, and the changing way we communicate with each other all helped shape the list of words that dominated 2015. University of Chicago linguist Jason Riggle joins “Chicago Tonight” to talk about which words were big and why.

Global Markets Calmer, But Worries About China Persist

(Rafael Matsunaga / Flickr)

After a big sell off Monday, international markets appeared more settled today. What's causing the concern, and how will the Fed's rate hike affect the U.S. economy in 2016? Two local economists join us to discuss the global markets and last month's long-awaited announcement of a U.S. interest rate hike.

What's Your Favorite Word of 2015?

(Natalie Roberts / Flickr)

Oxford Dictionaries picked an emoji. Merriam-Webster picked the suffix "–ism." What's your nomination for the word of the year? 

Mental Health Crisis Training for Cops Faces Funding Gaps, Lack of Buy-In

Last weekend's police-involved shooting has raised questions about whether Chicago officers are equipped to deal with mental health crises. We discuss the crisis intervention training offered to local police officers with two mental health advocates.

Ted Koppel on America's Vulnerable Power Grid in 'Lights Out'

The veteran journalist who was anchor and managing editor of "Nightline" on ABC from 1980 until 2005 discusses his new book about the risk of cyberattack facing the power grid in the United States and the inadequate measures being taken to protect it.

Inside 'House of Cards' with Screenwriter Laura Eason

Laura Eason

The hit Netflix show "House of Cards" has a devoted following, but did you know that one of the people responsible for it is an Evanston native and Northwestern alum? Laura Eason, executive story editor of "House of Cards," takes us behind the scenes of the popular drama.

University of Chicago Neuroscientist Reacts to ‘Concussion’ Movie

| Sean Keenehan

While the new Will Smith movie has received mixed reviews from critics, Peggy Mason, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago, is more concerned with the science behind the story than whether it's an Oscar contender. She joins us to discuss her thoughts on the film and to shed light on the dangers associated with concussions.

Architect David Adjaye Among Finalists to Design Obama Library

The Barack Obama Foundation last week announced the seven finalists chosen to submit designs for the Obama Presidential Center. One of the architects, David Adjaye, is the subject of a solo exhibition at the Art Institute’s modern wing that runs through Jan. 3.

University of Chicago Answers Calls for Hyde Park Trauma Center

| Sean Keenehan

The University of Chicago answers activists' calls with a new trauma center in Hyde Park. One of the hospital's top surgeons joins us to discuss the details.

County, Food Bank Battle Food Insecurity

Twenty percent of children in Cook County are what’s known as food insecure–living in families who can’t afford or can’t access nutritious food. A new program aims to tackle food insecurity among some Chicago-area children and their parents. Take a look at how the program works.

Activists Talk McCarthy Ouster, Creating Change in Chicago

Embattled police superintendent Garry McCarthy is out of a job following last week's release of police dash-cam video depicting the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. We talk with community activists Malcolm London and Jedidiah Brown about how they plan to keep the pressure on the city, and the ways in which they hope to create lasting change in Chicago.

P.J. O'Rourke's Years of 'Twaddle and Blather' Highlighted in New Collection

P.J. O’Rourke (James Kegley)

Since the 1970s, humorist P.J. O’Rourke has been writing about politics, covering wars and satirizing American life. His new book, “Thrown Under the Omnibus,” collects a variety of works from his prolific career. O'Rourke joins us to discuss his new book.

Understanding Police Shooting Investigations

The city of Chicago will release video this week showing a police officer shooting a teenager. We take a closer at look at the sometimes lengthy process of investigating police shootings.