Stories by Paul Caine

State Universities Under Strain as Budget Stalemate Enters 7th Month

Governors State University (Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr)

With the state budget standoff in its seventh month and little apparent urgency from Springfield, we talk with the presidents of Governors State and Northeastern Illinois Universities as the funding crisis deepens.

Commercial Space Race Propelled by Musk vs. Bezos Rocket Competition

| Sean Keenehan
SpaceX's Falcon 9, left, and Blue Origin's New Shepard. (SpaceX / Flickr, Franke360 / Wikimedia)

Last month, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets back onto its launch pad. In November, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin landed its sub-orbital capsule New Shepard. Space enthusiast and Fermilab physicist Don Lincoln recently wrote a column on the Musk versus Bezos competition and shares his insights.

Fossilized Jaw Bone Reveals Early Evolution of Mammals

| Sean Keenehan

A new high-tech analysis of the fossilized jaw bone of Haramiyavia clemmenseni, one of our earliest ancestors, is shedding new light on the mammalian family tree. University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin was one of the lead authors of the study and he joins us in studio to talk us through the findings.

Northwestern Professor Tells Turkish Coming-of-Age Story

In the 1980s, women in Turkey weren't supposed to have adventurous lives. After initially trying to meet the expectations of others, Ozge Samanci finally realized her true calling was to be an artist. She tells her coming-of-age story in her new graphic memoir "Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up In Turkey."

Chi-Town Rising on New Year's Eve Brings a Little NYC to Chicago

| Sean Keenehan

John Murray is hoping to create a New Year's Eve tradition in Chicago that will rival the annual Times Square party in New York. Murray joins us to provide an inside scoop on Chi-Town Rising.

Calls for Police Reform, Training Intensify After Fatal Shootings

After two more fatal shootings by the Chicago Police Department over the weekend, calls for urgent police reform and better training of officers have grown louder. What, if anything, could police have done differently to de-escalate the situation, and is more training the answer? We discuss the issues with our panel.

Suspended Wheaton College Professor Addresses Religious Statements

| Sean Keenehan

Wheaton College's decision to place a tenured professor on paid leave after she declared she was wearing a Muslim headscarf to express her solidarity with Muslims facing hostility has created national and international headlines. Larycia Hawkins joins us to discuss her position.

Sparks Fly Over National Security at 5th GOP Debate

| Sean Keenehan
(DonkeyHotey / Flickr)

Last night's GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN set off some fireworks as candidates did all they could to make an impression in a crowded field. Political communications specialist Jason DeSanto joins "Chicago Tonight" to give his take on the heated discourse.

Argonne National Lab Simulation Tracks the Evolution of the Universe

| Sean Keenehan

Simulating the evolution of the cosmos. A local physicist is here to talk about using supercomputers to delve into the mysteries of the universe.

Donald Trump's Call for a Muslim Ban Provokes Heated Reactions

| Sean Keenehan

Despite recent statements that sparked outrage in many quarters, presidential candidate Donald Trump is still popular among Republican voters, according to some polls. We get reactions from Azam Nizamuddin, president of the Muslim Bar Association of Illinois; and Ed Lasky, founder and news editor of the conservative web magazine American Thinker.

Donna More Shares Vision for Cook County State's Attorney's Office

Donna More

Donna More is one of two candidates looking to unseat Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in a March Democratic primary. As Alvarez fends off calls for her resignation in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting and subsequent criticism over the pace of the investigation, we ask former state and federal prosecutor More what she might have done differently.

Analyzing the Media's Coverage of Laquan McDonald Shooting Video

| Kristen Thometz

With the release of a graphic video depicting Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, we examine how the media has covered this case. Two longtime Chicago media professionals join us to discuss the issues raised by the release of the disturbing dash-cam footage.

Ministers and Community Activists Respond to Decision to Charge CPD Officer with Murder

| Kristen Thometz

With news that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald, we talk with activists and faith leaders about the charge and what reactions they expect from their communities.

Dominic Pacyga Shares History of Chicago's Stockyards in 'Slaughterhouse'

They closed some 44 years ago, but Chicago's Union Stockyards profoundly shaped the development of the city and the modern world. Dominic Pacyga, a local historian and former stockyard worker, tells the story in his new book "Slaughterhouse.” Pacyga joins us tonight.

Laquan McDonald Police Video Release Stirs Mixed Reactions

| Sean Keenehan

We speak with two members of the black community as a Cook County judge orders the release of dashboard video footage of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Examining the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Response Following Paris Attacks

| Kristen Thometz
Police and emergency crews respond to terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday.

In the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris, many Republican governors are saying they are unwilling to allow Syrian refugees to be settled in their states, among them Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Our panel discusses the refugee crisis and response.

Cleaning Up the Garden

| Kristen Thometz

Winter is coming, which means it’s time to clean up the WTTW organic garden. The Organic Gardener Jeanne Nolan helps us prepare the garden for winter and plant one last crop.

Physicist Lisa Randall Connects Dark Matter to Dinosaur Extinction

| Sean Keenehan
Lisa Randall

Dark matter: we can't see it, but it's believed to make up 85 percent of all matter in the universe and without it we almost certainly wouldn't be here. Particle physicist and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Randall joins us to discuss her new book "Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe."

Feds: Transgender Student Should Have Access to Locker Room

The U.S. Department of Education ruled that Palatine Township High School District 211 violated a transgender student's right not to be discriminated against when it refused the student unfettered access to the girls' locker room. District 211 Superintendent Daniel Cates accuses the department of "overreach" and so far is refusing to back down. Cates joins us to discuss the issues raised.

Historian Antony Beevor on 'Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge'

| Kristen Thometz
US Infantry advancing through a hole blasted in the Siegfried Line, or Westall, in October 1944. (Viking Penguin)

In December 1944 Hitler and the German army were desperate. Losing the war on two fronts, they launched a last great offensive in a desperate gamble to split the Western Allies. The fighting was ferocious, with atrocities on both sides, and the outcome shaped history. It's a story told in acclaimed author Antony Beevor's latest book "Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge."

New Rideshare Rules Allow Airport Pickups

| Kristen Thometz

New rules that will allow rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft to start making pickups from O'Hare and Midway airports could be in place as early as Nov. 18. How will these changes impact taxi drivers and others who drive for a living? We speak with Peter Ali Enger of the United Taxi Drivers’ Community Council.

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Begins

| Kristen Thometz

Open enrollment has just begun for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act. As President Obama's signature health care reform enters its third year, we assess the impact of the ACA on health care provision in Illinois.

Jessa Crispin on New Memoir 'The Dead Ladies Project'

Jessa Crispin

International literary critic Jessa Crispin–once a frequent reviewer of books on "Chicago Tonight" as the author of the online magazine Bookslut–has written her first book, a memoir. She joins us on Monday for a discussion of the book, her favorite European cities and her take on Harper Lee's latest.

New Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening

| Kristen Thometz

The American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines for women at "average risk" of developing breast cancer, raising the age it says they should start regular mammogram screening from 40 to 45. We discuss the changes and how women should go about determining their own levels of risk with Dr. Carolyn Bruzdzinski and Dr. Kent Hoskins.

Chicago Cubs Swept in NLCS Amid Memorable Season

| Kristen Thometz

Getting swept by the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series is something the Chicago Cubs team and fans will soon want to forget. But the loss came during a memorable season for the Cubs. We reflect on the team’s 2015 season and look at what moves they will want to make in the off-season to keep them in contention next year.