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Stories by Nick Blumberg

Judge Diane Wood on Supreme Court Vacancy, Immigration Debate

With Antonin Scalia's death leaving an unexpected opening on the Supreme Court, we talk with a judge who was once considered for the high court on how she was vetted and why she thinks it's bad to have a long vacancy.

Friends of the Parks Sounds Off On Lucas Museum Lawsuit, Backlash

Rendering of the proposed site for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Courtesy Lucas Museum)

Earlier this month, a judge denied the city of Chicago's motion to let Lucas Museum construction begin on its proposed lakefront site. We speak with the head of Friends of the Parks, the nonprofit which filed the lawsuit.

Apple vs FBI: Should Privacy Rights Outrank a Federal Investigation?

| Meredith Francis

The FBI wants Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the people behind December's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Apple says it's taking a stand for privacy rights, while the FBI says it's merely trying to conduct the most thorough investigation possible.

Music Mogul L.A. Reid Talks Industry, Artists He's Discovered in New Book

L.A. Reid with Mariah Carey. (Courtesy L.A. Reid)

Avril Lavigne. Mariah Carey. Outkast. Usher. Rihanna. You've heard these names and many others made famous by music mega-mogul L.A. Reid. The current CEO and chairman of Epic Records has not only scouted star talent, but also penned quite a few top 10 hits himself. Reid tells us about his new memoir.

Toni Preckwinkle Warns of a Trickle-Down Budget Crisis in Cook County

Toni Preckwinkle appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Feb. 17.

Reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner's second budget address from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who says no state budget means layoffs are around the corner.

Obama Library Finalist Meets With South Side Community Leaders

David Adjaye

“Buildings can transform. They can change places. They can change the perception of places." That was architect David Adjaye’s message to a group of about 20 community leaders he met with on Tuesday at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

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.