Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, December 6

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics

Environment/Sustainability Sun Jun 21 2015

Touring the Deep Tunnel and Thornton Quarry

The Thornton Reservoir
Construction equipment on the bed of the future Thornton Reservoir. Trucks on the Tri-State Tollway can be seen above the quarry.

On Saturday, I joined the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) on one of its tours of Chicago's goliath infrastructure. The tour featured the future site of the Thornton Composite Reservoir, the largest such reservoir in the world, and a Deep Tunnel pumping station 350' below ground at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant. Both are part of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD)'s gargantuan Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, the multi-decade, multi-billion dollar project designed to protect the Chicago region from the flooding and pollution caused by overflowing sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol

Event Mon May 04 2015

Join Your Neighbors for On the Table 2015

On the Table 2015On May 12, the Chicago Community Trust, the region's largest charitable foundation, turns 100 years old. To begin a yearlong celebration of its centennial, the Trust is once again hosting On the Table, a day of events at which thousands of Chicagoans will come together over a meal to talk about ways we can make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic through collaboration and philanthropy.

The conversations will happen over breakfast, lunch and dinner -- or even just drinks. They may be in someone's home, a restaurant or the office. There is still time to register to host an On the Table event yourself, or to find one to attend.

Gapers Block is proud to join the organizers of the Sister Neighborhoods initiative for an On the Table event at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., from 6 to 9pm. There will be soup served, Soup & Bread-style, in the back room of the Hideout, followed by a presentation about Sister Neighborhoods -- an initiative to foster hospitality across communities in the city and suburbs by facilitating an exchange of cultural awareness and barrier breaking activities -- and conversation about how to make the idea a reality. The event is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Chicago Help Initiative, a nonprofit providing meals to the homeless.

We hope you'll join us. Please register here, and we'll see you on Tuesday, May 12.

Andrew Huff

Event Thu Mar 26 2015

Your Kids Are in a Crisis: Robert Putnam's American Dream

"Everybody who went to college raise your hand," said Dr. Robert Putnam from the stage of Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. Without exception, every hand of the 400, white, middle-aged professionals in attendance went up. "You're who I'm talking about when I say 'rich kids,'" Putnam jested. The audience laughed at the recognition that, yes, they were all members of a privileged social strata. Putnam nodded and turned toward the PowerPoint behind him, "Today, I'm going to be talking about inequality."

Continue reading this entry »

Sam Rappaport

Event Wed Dec 10 2014

Illinois Humanities Council Teams Up with Community Media Workshop to Ignite Dialogue on Gun Violence

The Illinois Humanities Council and Community Media Workshop will hold a screening today of MSNBC's "Ricochet: Life in a City Under Siege From Guns."

This event kicks off a three-month-long reporting project, "Reporting Back," which partners journalists with community residents to create multimedia stories on key community issues in Chicago.

The screening will be followed by a conversation about media coverage of Chicago communities affected by gun violence led by local figures including Jim Kirk, Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times; Alison Scholly, COO of Chicago Public Media; Janey Rountree, Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Juliana Stratton, Cook County Justice for Children; and Susy Schultz, President and Executive Director of Community Media Workshop.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity to hear from top media decision makers and civic leaders about the coverage of violence in Chicago communities and to engage in meaningful discussion," said Michele Welsdon, Director of Programs at Illinois Humanities Council. "Instead of rhetoric around the issue, we will have a deep conversation about why and how this coverage portrays gun violence."

The screening will be held at 6pm on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Film Row Cinema at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., and is free to the public, though a reservation is recommended. To RSVP, visit the Illinois Humanities Council's website.

Becky Schultz

Event Mon Oct 13 2014

Chicago Community Trust Releases On The Table Report

The Chicago Community Trust organized numerous dialogues, occurring in every neighborhood of Chicago, on May 12, called On the Table. The dialogues centered on "how to collaboratively build and maintain strong, safe and dynamic communities." A report was released last Tuesday highlighting the results of the dialogues.

Continue reading this entry »

Monica Reida

Event Tue Aug 12 2014

18 Groups to Participate in Placemaking Challenge

The Metropolitan Planning Council will hold its annual Placemaking Challenge this weekend, Aug. 15-17. The event, entitled "Old Place, New Tricks," will be held in neighborhoods throughout the city as well as the city of Blue Island.

Last year's MPC Placemaking Challenge resulted in Union Station having a picnic area as well as other amenities.

There will be 18 groups participating in the Placemaking Challenge, including Austin Coming Together, I Grow Chicago, Rebuild Foundation and Groupon. The events will occur in a variety of neighborhoods including Ravenswood, Austin, Bronzeville and Pilsen.

According to MPC's website for the event, they "believe people have the power to transform their neighborhoods, one space at a time."

Among the project is Austin Coming Together transforming an area in the 600 block of North Lorel Avenue into a "Peace Lot," which will provide a space for residents to organize and address issues affecting the area.

For more information on the event, visit the website for the Placemaking Challenge.

Monica Reida

Event Wed Feb 19 2014

Putting Community on the Table

on the table 2014The Chicago Community Trust turns 99 this year, and to celebrate it's asking the people of Chicagoland to gather for events it's dubbed On the Table. On Monday, May 12, residents of Chicago and the rest of the metropolitan area will come together in small groups to discuss how to build, encourage and maintain strong and stable communities.

The Trust's goal is to have more than 10,000 people participate in 1,000 discussions. Groups of around 10 people each may convene in private homes, restaurants, bars, bookstores and community centers to share ideas, bring up topics and propose solutions to the challenges Chicago faces. Participants are encouraged to share their conversations via social media using the #onthetable2014 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Gapers Block is hosting one of the discussions to explore, in particular, the needs for community journalism and citizen reporting. We'll be meeting at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St. in Andersonville, at 7:30 on May 12. Join us by RSVPing here.

Andrew Huff

Event Mon Jan 20 2014

South Side McDonald's Owner Donates $1,000 to Hadiya's Foundation

Pendleton Family & Yolanda Travis; photo courtesy of Charles Jackson.

For Yolanda Travis, the grand re-opening of her newly redesigned McDonald's restaurant at 740 E. 47th St. was not only a cause for celebration--it was also a reason to give back.

At the festive event, Travis presented a $1,000 check for "Hadiya's Foundation," to Nathaniel and Cleopatra Pendleton, parents of King College Preparatory High School student, Hadiya Pendelton, who was slain near the school last January. Happening shortly after she, along with the rest of the school's marching band performed at inaugural events for President Barack Obama's second term, her murder, which made national headlines, cast an even brighter spotlight on the violence that plagues Chicago.

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams

Event Mon Nov 18 2013

Event to Celebrate Book 'Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of the 99%'


Haymarket Books will host a celebration launch and discussion Tuesday evening for Chicago journalist Kari Lydersen's new book, Mayor 1%: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago's 99%.

Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky, Grassroots Collaborative executive director Amisha Patel and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson will join Lynderson for a panel to discuss her latest work.

Continue reading this entry »

Emily Brosious

Environment/Sustainability Thu Sep 26 2013

Event Preview: An Evening with Tim DeChristopher and Terry Tempest Williams

Thumbnail image for 1236811_606326526084263_408350990_n.jpg

(Tim DeChristopher, Photo/Haymarket Books)

"Those who write the rules are those who profit from the status-quo. If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don't make any substantial change." (Tim DeChristopher)

Influential climate justice activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising Tim DeChristopher will be in town with acclaimed writer Terry Tempest Williams this Friday evening at Chicago History Museum.

Continue reading this entry »

Emily Brosious / Comments (1)

Federal Government Wed May 01 2013

What Were Once Vices

The summer of 1974 is memorable not only for the release of a Doobie Brothers' LP that with its hit "Black Water" would form a soundtrack for much of the coming year, but also for the resignation of Richard Nixon. As Mechanics' attorney-in-residence, and possibly the only writer here who remembers dancing to either of the aforesaid, and as a nod to Law Day, I agreed to cover the forum last night at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics in Hyde Park featuring current and past U.S. Attorneys General Eric Holder and John Ashcroft. Moderated by former Chicago law school dean Geoffrey Stone, the event highlighted the publication of Restoring Justice: The Speeches of Attorney General Edward Levi, by Jack Fuller. Fuller, former Chicago Tribune editor and publisher, interrupted his long journalism career to serve as an assistant to Edward H. Levi during Levi's stint as the country's top lawyer during the Ford Administration.

That 1975 appointment, of course, plucking Levi from the presidency of the University of Chicago, was a direct response to a national crisis in confidence in the Justice Department specifically, and in government generally. Watergate and related scandals saw lawyer-President Nixon impeached and resign, two of Levi's predecessors as Attorney General convicted of perjury, and the White House counsel plead guilty to obstruction of justice. Fuller's book debuts amidst the 40th anniversary of the scandals, cover-ups, shocking revelations, and legal-political drama that overshadowed much else in the nation in 1972-74. Since some of the same themes that then gripped the U.S. reverberate today -- electronic surveillance of Americans, bombings abroad ordered by the executive branch, and the power of the Presidency itself -- the forum held promise of potential fireworks and relevancy. The Institute did a pro job at logistics and presentation, and, let's be clear, is not required to offer all points of view. Unfortunately, what could have been more provocative ended up, by virtue of lack of balance, as a soft promo for continued perpetual war and expanded executive branch power, with only nods of concern to clampdown on civil liberties and ever-eroding privacy. I have to wonder if that's what Edward Levi would have wanted.

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Smith

Chicago Mon Apr 15 2013

Talking about Harold Washington, "The Man, the Movement & the Moment"

By Chuck Reed

David Axelrod joined a four member panel convened last Tuesday at the University of Chicago's International House in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Harold Washington's 1983 successful mayoral election. Journalist and political correspondent Laura Washington moderated the discussion between 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns, University of Chicago political science Professor Michael Dawson, Washington campaign advisor Jackie Grimshaw, who now serves in the department of policy, transportation and community development for Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology; and the aforementioned former Obama campaign strategist Axelrod.

After twice polling the plentiful and diverse audience as to our ages and cognizance of the historical election of Chicago's first African-American mayor, the event began with rousing clips of an effusive Mayor Washington speaking of the great responsibility of his office, love for his constituents and contempt for the tactics of Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Continue reading this entry »


Labor & Worker Rights Mon Mar 05 2012

Remembering Chicago's Riotous Past

Despite the recent announcement that the G8 summit will be held at Camp David, not Chicago, the city can still expect protesters to descend for the NATO summit being held May 20-21.

Since history tends to be instructive, its lessons bear repeating.

"We often forget the connection to history," said Tracy Baim, who knows very well how the city of Chicago handled protests over 100 years ago. "We're still fighting a lot of the same battles."

Baim is the daughter of Joy Darrow — related through marriage to Clarence Darrow, the crusading "attorney for the damned" in such controversial cases as the Scopes Monkey Trial and the Leopold and Loeb murder case. In 1902, Darrow eulogized former Illinois governor John P. Altgeld as "a soldier in the everlasting struggle of the human race for liberty and justice on earth."

Altgeld, since hailed as one of Illinois' most progressive governors, was once reviled as John "Pardon" Altgeld for pardoning, in 1893, the three surviving prisoners sentenced to death for Chicago's Haymarket bombing. Altgeld was widely vilified and his decision effectively ended his political career, a choice that perhaps represents a moment of integrity triumphing over political expedience.

Continue reading this entry »

Megan E. Doherty

Event Thu Jan 19 2012

The People Speak, Live!

6648343549_530538526d_m.jpgIt started in 1980, when historian Howard Zinn (who died in 2010) published A People's History of the United States, in response to what he saw as a skewed view of how the nation's life unfolded. That book inspired the award-winning documentary The People Speak, which featured Matt Damon reading John Steinbeck; Bob Dylan performing Woody Guthrie; Marisa Tomei describing the 1937 Flint sit-down strike; Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle performing the words of Frederick Douglass; and John Legend reading Muhammad Ali.

Chicago poet Kevin Coval remembers finding Zinn's book in his high school library. "I was looking for anything counter to the stories in history classes," he said, having gotten the impression that there is truth to the saying that history is written by the winners — or those with deep pockets.

Damon will be coming to Chicago's Metro on January 31 to headline the Chicago premiere of "The People Speak, Live!", a benefit performance which will also include members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble; local poets Angela Jackson, Kevin Coval, Idris Goodwin; journalist Rick Kogan; civic leader Rami Nashashibi of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; the Luna Blues Machine band; playwright Lani Montreal; and actor Brian Quijada — among others.

Continue reading this entry »

Megan E. Doherty

Event Tue Jan 10 2012

Pity the Billionaire

Author Thomas Frank will discuss his book Pity the Billionaire, which "examines the peculiar mechanism by which dire economic circumstances have delivered wildly unexpected political results...he gives us the first full diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous."

A must-read for the 99 percent?

Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 6pm
International House, 1414 E. 59th St.

Megan E. Doherty

Event Sun Dec 25 2011

Book Discussion: Twenty-First Century Chicago

Join the Society of Midland Authors for a discussion of Twenty-First Century Chicago, an anthology of speeches, editorials, memoirs, biographies and articles investigating Chicago's "social, economic, political and governmental conditions."

Leading the talk will be the book's editors, Dick Simpson (former alderman and head of the political science department at University of Illinois at Chicago) and Constance A. Mixon (an associate professor of political science and director of the urban studies program at Elmhurst College), as well as contributor Don Rose (independent political consultant).

Tuesday, January 10, social hour with complimentary snacks and cash bar (6pm) and event (7pm)
Cliff Dwellers Club (200 S. Michigan Ave.), 22nd floor

Megan E. Doherty

Event Mon Dec 05 2011

Preckwinkle and Brizard to Speak at Forum on Dropouts

On Wednesday, Dec. 7 a public policy forum will be held to discuss how to deal with dropouts. The forum is entitled "Re-Enrolling Out of School Youth: A State, County and City Blueprint," and will be held at the Union League Club from 9am until 12:30pm.

The forum will feature Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico.

At the forum a new study entitled "High School Dropouts in Chicago and Illinois: The Growing Labor Market, Income, Civic, Social and Fiscal Costs of Dropping Out of High School," authored by Dr. Andrew Sum of Northeastern University, will be released. Sum will also be one of the participants at the forum.

There is currently no more space for people to attend the forum.

Monica Reida

Event Thu Nov 17 2011

Chicago Youth Speak About Community Issues in Project Soapbox Citywide Competition

On Saturday, Nov. 19 the Mikva Challenge, an organization focusing on getting Chicago high school students engaged with civics, will hold its fourth annual Citywide Public Speaking Competition.

The Citywide Public Speaking Competition is part of Mikva Challenge's Project Soapbox program, in which students develop and deliver a speech after being given the prompt of "What is the most important issue facing your community?"

"Participating teachers implement a five-lesson curriculum in their classrooms between September and November where students identify effective tools and devices for conveying a message, both by analyzing famous speeches and in the development of their own speeches," said Emma Kornfeld, Issues to Action Manager for Mikva Challenge.

Continue reading this entry »

Monica Reida

Event Wed Nov 02 2011

Journalist Peter Eichstaedt on Congo's Conflict Minerals

Peter Eichstaedt can't help it. He has to write about what everyone else ignores.

Over the next couple days, he'll be promoting two of his recent books through discussions at the University of Chicago (details below). Both touch upon "humanitarian disasters" that, despite their toll on human life, go largely unnoticed by the media. One of these books, Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World's Deadliest Place, ultimately began with his time working for the Uganda Radio network and the Institute of War and Peace Reporting.

"The daily news media focus only on the event of the day, and rarely any context. Why is something happening? As if things happen in a vacuum. It's not that difficult, truly, to put a couple of paragraphs or sentences about background in some of these stories but most news reporters don't."

When confronted by the fighting he found in Uganda, he realized he was on his own in finding out what was going on. What he learned was that, although a relatively low percentage of the world's supply of some minerals necessary for our most necessary and addictive technology (cell phones, laptops, etc.) comes from eastern Congo, this region has suffered a staggering human cost: the greatest loss of life since World War II.

Consuming the Congo painstakingly details the ins and outs of the tribal conflicts in the region, the flight over minerals, and the complicity of not only the corrupt Congolese government, but of all those who have allowed this tragedy to continue.


Consuming the Congo — discussion, book-signing, Q & A
Friday, 4 November, noon-1:30pm.
Pick Hall Lounge
University of Chicago
5828 S. University Avenue

Pirate State: Inside Somalia's Terrorism at Sea
— discussion, book-signing, Q & A
Thursday, 3 November, 6-7:30pm
International House
University of Chicago
1414 E. 59th Street

For additional information click here, or email

Megan E. Doherty

Event Fri Oct 07 2011

Q & A with Political Writer Tariq Ali

Political thinker, novelist and filmmaker (and, co-author of the recent On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation) Tariq Ali will be giving a free talk at the Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln) on Thursday, 27 October. The discussion, "Revolution in the Air: The Arab Spring and a World in Motion" will have a look at the revolts in the Middle East as well as the Occupy Wall Street/Chicago movements across the globe. His talk on this "new resistance to the status quo, its challenge to empire and the dictates of capital, and radical notions of democracy and liberation born anew" will be followed by a Q & A, as well as book signing.

Doors open at 7pm, the event starts at 7:30pm.

For more information:

Megan E. Doherty

Event Fri May 27 2011

CNU 19: Growing Local @ Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison, WI

Hey Chicago, take the time to meet your regional neighbors in Madison! CNU 19 is the 19th annual Congress from Chicago-based non-profit The Congress for the New Urbanism, the nation's leading advocacy organization dedicated to promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.

Visit the program book now to see the full spectrum of events, tours, and networking events that await. CNU 19: Growing Local, June 1-4. Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703. Register today at

Ben Schulman

Environment/Sustainability Thu Apr 21 2011

Rallying for the Clean Power Ordinance

Co-sponsor Ald. Joe Moore (49th) speaks at a Sierra Club meeting about the ordinance in April 2010

After a year of battles, lobbying and hopeful waiting, the Clean Power Ordinance, long-awaited legislation that would reduce pollution emitted from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago, might see life outside of council committees.

Supporters of the ordinance will gather at 9:15 this morning outside Council Chambers (the 2nd floor of Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.), for a press conference about the ordinance, followed by a Health and Energy, Environment and Public Utilities committees hearing.

The proposed ordinance, introduced last year in City Council, sets standards for two of Chicago's worst polluters -- Fisk Generating Station and the Crawford Generating Station -- to limit harmful particle matter (soot) and Carbon Dioxide emissions. At a Sierra Club meeting on the topic last year, proponents argued that these limits are feasible for both the coal-burning plants, which were built in the 1950s and were often exempt from certain regulations because of their age.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Event Tue Apr 12 2011

How to Help Save Homeless Services

(A Chicago Coalition for the Homeless protest in December 2009)

Advocates with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless are taking 100 people to Springfield Wednesday morning, joining other citizens in a fight to prevent the further slashing of state-funded services that support homeless residents.

Budget cuts have been particularly brutal to homeless services, which benefit those who are continuing to have fewer and fewer options.

According to an e-mail organizer Hannah Willage sent out, funding for state-funded homeless programs were cut 41 percent this year, and they could be cut by up to 68 percent in the coming budget year.

Willage writes:

Homeless prevention grants helped 2,322 households in 2010, 89% of whom were able to avoid becoming homeless. That same year, state funding was cut by $8.6 million, and another $1 million is to be cut next year, leaving just $1.4 million in the prevention grant program.

We can't let this happen.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Event Wed Apr 06 2011

Love Your Bike in the South Suburbs

Although there has been some small gains for Chicago's bicycle community in recent years, such as the launching of the city's bike-sharing program last year, the Chicago area could certainly use its share of more bike lanes, trails and other transportation services.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Event Thu Mar 10 2011

Taking a Stand Against Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, as Danny Fenster reported on for Gapers Block last year, remains a serious problem in the city -- often unbeknown to many Chicagoans.

In honor of Women's History Month, activists will screen the documentary Turning a Corner on Saturday at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the film, a project between the Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART) and Beyondmedia Education, prostitution survivors from Chicago reveal their stories about Chicago's sex trade. A panel discussing the problems of human trafficking and domestic violence will follow the screening. One of the panel members will be Daria Mueller, a senior policy specialist at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless who helped produce the film. Other panelists include representatives from the Oak Park and Maywood police departments, Sarah's Inn of Oak Park, and the Cook County Human Trafficking Response Team.

State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Broadview) organized the forum.

You can purchase the film here and watch the trailer below.

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Event Thu Mar 10 2011

Honoring the Life of Clarence Darrow and More

(Photo from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law faculty project page)

For more than 50 years, Chicagoans have gathered every March 13 in Jackson Park to commemorate the life of Clarence Darrow, a famed Chicago attorney who strongly opposed capital punishment. This Sunday, supporters will gather outside Jackson Park once again at 10 a.m. But this year, in addition to remembering Darrow's life and his missions, supporters will also be celebrating Governor Quinn's signing of legislation to end capital punishment in Illinois.

Darrow, who was also a passionate advocate of labor unions, was born in 1857 in Farmdale, Ohio. He practiced law in Chicago for most of his career, "representing union activists, underdog causes and vigorously opposing capital punishment," according to a press release about his life. He died on March 13, 1938. In 1957, the Chicago Park District dedicated The Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park in his memory.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

National Politics Mon Nov 01 2010

A Chicagoan's Trip to the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear

The following photographs are by Waleeta Canon, a Chicagoan who traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear on Saturday. Some are already suggesting that the event could be remembered as one of the most important events in modern political history. Regardless of its ultimate consequence, crowd estimates put the turnout at over 200,000, or two and a half times the number of people who turned out for Glenn Beck's D.C. rally.

The following photographs document scenes from the crowd while paying special attention to participants' signs.

Additional photographs from the satellite Chicago rally by GB flickr pool contributor Michael Courier are available here.

David Schalliol

Immigration Thu Apr 29 2010

Immigrant Rights Picket at Wrigley Field: Boycott Arizona!

Wrigley picket

Immigrants Rights Activists Picket outside Wrigley Field.

Chicago is finally getting some spring weather. In Wrigleyville, thousands of fans are enjoying the weather and catching a baseball game. Jeering the other team has a long history in sports, but today over 200 supporters of immigrants rights picketed outside Wrigley Field to protest against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona's anti-immigrant SB1070 law.

The law forces law enforcement in Arizona to stop "suspected illegal immigrants" and make them prove their citizenship in order to avoid arrest. Leone Jose Bicchieri, the executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative explained that the law would "only increase racial profiling in Arizona." Describing what the law tells police to do, "You better go out today and you better stop suspected undocumented immigrants. When you say, 'Well what does that mean?' They say 'well you know, suspected undocumentented immigrants.' That means dark people."

Immigrants and civil rights groups across the country have begun a nationwide boycott against the state of Arizona in order to pressure the state to rescind the law and to prevent other state from passing similar laws.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Muchowski / Comments (1)

Event Tue Mar 30 2010

Freed Journalist To Speak in Chicago about Iran

Roxana Saberi, a U.S.-Iranian journalist held captive in Tehran's infamous Evin prison for four months, will speak about her ordeal April 12 in Chicago as part of a McCormick Freedom Project author series.

Saberi, 32, recently released a book about her experience in Iran entitled Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran.

Saberi, who received a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University, was working as a freelance journalist for NPR and BBC among other media outlets when she was arrested in late January 2009. Early reports indicated she was arrested for buying alcohol, but Saberi has now explained that she was forced to say that in a phone call to her father.

"Until this day, I'm still not sure what they arrested me for," Saberi recently told NPR. "It wasn't for buying alcohol; it wasn't for reporting without a press pass. My interrogators claimed that I was spying for the U.S., and however much I told them that I was not -- that I was simply writing a book and doing interviews for a book, which I hoped to use to show English speakers around the world a more balanced and complete picture of Iranian society -- however much I told them this, they told me I was lying and that I was a U.S. spy. So my first -- the first charge that was against me was taking steps against national security, which can mean various things in Iran."

Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court, but the court later dismissed the charges last May. In between that time, Saberi's case drew national media attention, she went on a hunger strike and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly asked Iranian officials to free Saberi.

Saberi will speak at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., at 6 p.m. The event is free but organizers ask that you register here.

Sheila Burt

The Left Sat Mar 20 2010

Reflections on Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

Eugene Cherry from Iraq Veterans Against the War Speaks at Chicago's Anti-War Rally.

Every year around March 20th, I attend an anti-war rally. On March 17, 2010 over a thousand people rallied at Federal Plaza and marched on Michigan Ave. It came as President Obama is intensifying the war in Afghanistan. The protesters seemed to be mocking Mayor Daley's challenge, "Where are the anti-war people? They disappeared! They stopped marching!" No, we never did stop marching, even as Daley has continued to antagonize us.

It was March 20, 2003, seven years ago, that shock and awe began and our country invaded and began to occupy Iraq, the second largest source of oil in the world, a country with a civilization that dates back to before the bible was written. I was arrested that day at a protest, like 900 Chicagoans, and many more around the country were.

It was a scary time. Less than two years since 9/11, and it felt like the whole country was against the anti-war protesters. I had nightmares that I was thrown in Guantanamo Bay. Today, the majority of the country is against war in Iraq and most of the country has it's doubts about the war in Afghanistan.

I asked a friend if he was going to attend this year. He would rather apartment hunt. He asked me what difference going to the rally would make. Would it end the war? Would it stop the bloodshed? After we had such massive anti-war rallies before the invasion and those failed to stop it, what difference would this one rally seven years later, 95,000 dead Iraqis later, make?

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Muchowski / Comments (3)

Cook County Board Sat Feb 27 2010

Ald. Preckwinkle at the Interview Show

Fourth Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, who recently won the Democratic nomination for the Cook County Board presidency, will be appearing at the Hideout for Mark Bazer's Interview Show. Bazer's interviews are irreverent and typically hilarious, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the unperturbable Preckwinkle. Also there will be beer there. Here's Bazer's interview with local superstar chef Paul Kahan. See you all there!


Ramsin Canon

Event Mon Feb 22 2010

Neve Gordon at Oak Park Library Tonight

Among the small network of Jewish mothers in suburban Detroit that all played a part in raising me (my mother, my best friend's mothers', my mother's best friends) an email made the rounds last week. It contained a video of some young people at a Trader Joe's somewhere boycotting the sale of Israeli-made goods. The young people posted stickers with images of bombs on the products and informed shoppers about their boycott, asking that they not support a nation who occupies and oppresses a people.

In other words, they were voicing a very common human rights concern by non-violent means.

Of course, this being an email circulating among middle-aged suburban Jews, the comments on the video were filled with vitriol. "How could Trader Joe's let this happen," "This is hard to believe and harder to watch."

I don't know what the moment feels like when a generation reaches the point that it turns to its progenitors, at eye level and not looking up, and engages as an equal in dialog. In fact, I suspect that that may never fully feel right. The reverence and respect I have for the mothers in my life makes it even harder to think they are wrong. But I think in the Jewish community--at least in my Jewish community--there is a divide between the ages that needs to be discussed. Many of our parents refuse to see the err in any Israeli action. Many of them are far closer to the pain that brought about the state of Israel.

We can argue over the use of words like apartheid and occupation--and certainly those are arguments that ought to be had--but to become enraged at a boycott of a controversial nation that the international community has routinely condemned is to act blindly and of the same base sense of identity the worst acts have been done to us.

I have much family and many friends in Israel, which makes it even the more painful to see the logic in criticisms of Israel. Harder, in fact, than to challenge my mothers. It is also painful to hear the opinions of those living in Israel when speaking about certain other human beings. There is a deep and pervasive sense of racism in daily life in Israel, and I suspect that's a fact more widely known in my community than revealed. Those ties--familial, religious, emotional--should not cloud discussions of justice and policy. We sit on a priviledged perch, us American Jews, the better to see the world and its shades of gray (not my line), a luxury spared most Israelis.

Anyway, Neve Gordon is an Israeli that is trying valiantly to help Israel treat all people justly. A lot of Israelis don't like him for that. He will be at the Oak Park Public Library tonight, and was on Worldview earlier today. Please go listen to him, and hear about the important "binational solution."

Danny Fenster / Comments (4)

Chicago Tue Feb 09 2010

Sold Out Premiere of Disturbing the Universe Impresses Chicago Crowd

On Jan. 22, William Kuntsler: Disturbing the Universe, a documentary about the legendary left-wing lawyer, premiered to a sold out crowd at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Directed by William Kuntsler's daughters Emily and Sarah Kuntsler, the film looks at the life and cases of one of America's most controversial lawyers.

William Kuntsler fathered Sarah and Emily late in life, and when he died, they were still young, so the movie became a way for them to know their father in a more adult way. It became a way for them to shed the simple childlike images of their father, and come to know him in a complex way.

The sold out Chicago premiere was hosted by the Next Gen, the young lawyers group of the Chicago chapter of the radical National Lawyers Guild. The theater was filled with activists, lawyers and law students. The amazing thing about the showing was how many people in the crowd had met or knew William Kuntsler.

National Lawyers Guild Next Gen members Sarah Gelsomino and Robert Luderman at the Chicago premiere of Disturbing the Universe.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Muchowski

Event Wed Jan 20 2010

A Chicago Report on Zimbabwe's 'Blood Diamonds'


Americans can help stop Zimbabwe's "blood diamond" abuses by writing to elected officials and pressing retailers on the source of their diamonds, argues Tiseke Kasambala, a senior researcher with the Human Rights Watch.

Kasambala, who has researched the trafficking of blood diamonds in Zimbabwe since 2004, spoke to a small crowd at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., on Tuesday evening as part of an event sponsored by the Chicago committee of the Human Rights Watch.

According to Kasambala's research for the organization, armed forces in Zimbabwe are torturing children and adults in the diamond mines of eastern Zimbabwe, specifically in the Marange district. The military -- under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe -- took control of these fields after killing more than 200 people in Chiadzwa and injuring thousands more in October 2008. In part, Mugabe's Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front) wanted control of the diamond trade in this area to fund its own activities around elections and to pay off militia they had hired, she says.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Chicagoland Thu Jan 14 2010

Chicago Education in Danger of Being Parking Metered

"They never thought of the children first," Lillie Gonzalez exclaimed to several hundred people's applause at Malcolm X college. The small, but feisty, Latino community activist was speaking at the Democratic Alternatives to Renaissance 2010 conference organized by the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) and the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) on January 9, 2010. Gonzalez was "one of the lucky ones," who was able to stop the closure of Peabody Elementary School in 2009 in Chicago's Near West Side. The planned closure of the more than a century old school was a part of Renaissance 2010, Chicago's program to privatize its public schools.

"Renaissance 2010 and 15 years of mayoral control are 15 years of failure." Explained Kenwood Community Organization organizer Jitu Brown. Describing the conference, Brown stated, "we want to begin to project what we think should happen in our schools... Our vision, not a corporate vision."

President Obama's appointment of Arnie Duncan to the Secretary of Education made the conference particularly important. "The first thing that Arnie Duncan did as US Secretary of Education is fly to Detroit and promise Detroit Public Schools major federal funds if they were to adopt the Chicago model," Pauline Lipman, a professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, explained.


Lipman pointed out that, "Renaissance 2010 is a partnership between Mayor Daley and the most powerful financial and corporate leaders in the city. What is their goal?" she asked before answering "to train a low wage workforce and to support real estate development. That's their education agenda. Their strategy is to hand public school to private operators, undermine the teachers union, phase out local school councils, the only democratic community voice we have, and replace neighborhood schools with selective enrollment schools and gentrifying neighborhoods."

"They have a long term plan. If they don't kick you off this year, they will pick you off next year." Lipman explained.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Muchowski / Comments (1)

Event Thu Dec 24 2009

Merry Happy Everybody!

Hey everybody! Enjoy your Christmas/Secular Consumption Day! Posting will be light over the next week, but check back in, because we'll still be around. Also you can follow our holiday hijinks on twitter, here.

Au revoir!

Ramsin Canon

Event Wed Dec 02 2009

Scenes from Wednesday's War Protest

Nearly 24 hours after President Obama announced that 30,000 more U.S. troops will be deployed to Afghanistan (and hopefully brought home in 18 months), Chicago protesters took to the streets to rally against this decision. These pictures (albeit blurry) were taken just as the protesters marched north on North Michigan Avenue, chanting loudly and holding signs about supporting education, health care and treatment for veterans--anything but war, even if there's a timetable for withdrawal this time. Among the things overheard as the protesters marched on:

"What do we want? Troops out! When do we want it? Now!"

"Bush and Obama--just the same."

"Your president lied to you!"

"Stay to your right!" (From a police officer telling non-rallying pedestrians to move to the side).





Sheila Burt / Comments (3)

Event Fri Oct 23 2009

Speak Out Against Climate Change on Saturday

Saturday is International Day of Climate Action, where people around the world will gather at various demonstrations to support the need for an international climate treaty and to raise awareness about climate change. You can check out the various scheduled events around Chicago on this map. There are two events worth noting:

At noon, join bicyclists for the International Climate Action Day bike ride. Bicyclists will meet at Daley Plaza at Dearborn and Washington. Bicyclists will gather for a picture and ride to the Fisk Generating Station at 1111 W. Cermak Rd., where members of Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and other organizations will be protesting the coal-fired plant, one of the worst polluters in Chicago.

Sheila Burt

Event Mon Sep 21 2009

Fighting For Children With Incarcerated Parents

IMG_1085.JPG"Sometimes, people need help. And when people are asking for help, they normally want it." Darlene Horton says this to Mechanics just outside the James R. Thompson Center Friday afternoon. Dozens of community activists and supporters are crowded around the Center, getting ready to attend a legislative hearing on an issue they all view as urgent: legislative reforms to protect children with incarcerated parents. These children, they argue, are too often left alone, struggling to understand what happened to their parents.

On Friday afternoon, the rally brought together advocates and community leaders to discuss reform for the nearly 90,000 children who have an incarcerated parent, according to the Community Renewal Society, a social justice group that organized the rally. Afterwards, advocates packed the 16th floor of the Center to attend a legislative hearing on the issue. Mechanics spent a few hours at the rally and hearing to listen to some stories.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Event Fri Sep 18 2009

Beach Clean-Up Saturday at North Avenue Beach


I find it hard to believe anyone would argue with me when I say that Lake Michigan is one of Chicago's great assets, if not the greatest. Unfortunately, nothing is immune to the effects of pollution these days, and that includes our beautiful lakefront. Luckily, tomorrow morning, you can do your part in saving the city's greatest natural resource by participating in the Alliance for the Great Lakes' annual Adopt-a-Beach clean-up, starting at North Avenue Beach at 10:30 a.m. Congressman Mike Quigley and Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, are expected to attend.

Though things like global warming are proving hard to fight, hopefully, people can do their small part by cleaning up after themselves, and oh, not dumping their crap on the beaches or in the harbors. The above photo (note the dead fish, floating in filth) was taken this afternoon at Belmont Harbor, while the below photo is from last year's clean-up. People, how hard is it to bring your underwear with you after you leave the beach? Full disclosure: I volunteered with the Alliance a few times in the office last year.


Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Environment/Sustainability Thu Sep 17 2009

What Will Make Chicago More Sustainable?

IMG_1083.JPGAs we mentioned yesterday, President Obama's "conversation/listening" tour rolled into Chicago Thursday, with members of his Cabinet stopping by the city to discuss ways of making this area more sustainable. Sustainable is a loaded term these days, but to members of Obama's Cabinet, it means sitting in less traffic, having easy access to places, such as daycares and grocery stores, via public transportation, "green" building and a more rapid train system throughout the country. Mechanics listened in on the discussion, organized by the Metropolitan Planning Council, Thursday afternoon and jotted down some notes. The tour is headed to Denver, LA, Seattle, Atlanta and then back to D.C. So, Mechanics readers, what do you think: What would make Chicago a more sustainable city? Here are some thoughts from Obama's Cabinet:

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (2)

Environment/Sustainability Wed Sep 16 2009

Obama's "Conversation" Tour Kicks Off Tomorrow

In July, speaking at an Urban and Metropolitan Policy Roundtable, President Obama announced an initiative to take a long, hard look at metropolitan development -- ways cities have failed and how planning officials can look beyond the concrete and streetlights to improve the quality of life. "For too long," Obama said, "federal policy has actually encouraged sprawl and congestion and pollution, rather than quality public transportation and smart, sustainable development. And we've been keeping communities isolated when we should have been bringing them together."

At the roundtable, Obama recalled his time spent living in LA, New York, Boston, and Chicago, adding, "I received my greatest education on Chicago's South Side, working at the local level to bring about change in those communities and opportunities to people's lives...And that experience also gave me an understanding of some of the challenges facing city halls all across the country."

This Chicago-centric experience has lead to a "conversation" tour, kicking off tomorrow in Chicago, where members from Obama's Cabinet will visit cities and regions across the country to discuss sustainable and responsible development.

The Metropolitan Planning Council, a non-profit dedicated to creating "sustainable and prosperous" growth in the Chicago area, is hosting the luncheon, "Connecting the Dots: Metropolitan Chicago's Path to Prosperity," tomorrow from noon to 1:45 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Regency Ballroom (West Tower), 151 E. Wacker Dr.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Event Sat Aug 29 2009

American Crafts Expo @ NU thru 8/30

glass.jpgWhen you hear the word "crafts" you may be tempted to think of balsa-wood Santas painted in tempera, or maybe that potholder you made on a square steel loom in 2d grade. If so, you are way out of the loop on what the art genre so referred to has become, and you owe it to yourself to hike up to Evanston this weekend for the 25th Annual American Crafts Exposition being held in the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on the lovely Northwestern University campus. The third-largest show of its type in the entire country, the expo features a couple hundred of the finest artists currently working in glass, ceramics, wood, metals, textiles, and mixed media, among others.

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Smith

Event Wed Jun 03 2009

Rally Against Budget Cuts Tomorrow in the Loop

Doing anything special during your lunch break tomorrow? Consider fighting for the little guy/gal. A rally against "doomsday" budget cuts is scheduled for tomorrow outside the Thompson Center at 171 W. Randolph St. at 11:30 a.m. Activists will be protesting budget cuts that were approved by the Illinois General Assembly on May 31. The budget cuts will have an "awful human toll," on all sorts of sectors, according to this nice breakdown from Progress Illinois. The rally is timed to make an impact just before a noon meeting between Gov. Quinn and legislative leaders.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Chicago Tue May 26 2009

Why Does Media Matter?

iFC-8022I recently had the opportunity to go to a town hall meeting hosted by the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and listen to a panel of prominent journalists (pictured left, photo from IFC) discuss why media matters. The town hall meeting is part of IFC's pro-social initiative "Make Media Matter" which raises awareness about the vital role media plays in our lives, society and world.

In the wake of the economic crisis and political unraveling in Chicago, media is more important than ever. As Attorney General Lisa Madigan boldly stated in her introduction to the panel, "media makes democracy work; without it, who would hold the government accountable for their actions?"

Continue reading this entry »

Kaitlin Olson / Comments (1)

Event Tue May 19 2009

Eat Out and Help Some Local Non-profits

Going out to eat tonight? Consider dining at a restaurant participating in the Share a Meal program sponsored by the Community Shares of Illinois. If you dine at any of these restaurants, including Atlas Cafe in Logan Square and Ann Sather Restaurant in Lakeview, a portion of your bill goes to the member organizations of Community Shares. Some of the benefiting organizations include the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network. You can also donate virtually using PayPal.

Sheila Burt

Chicago Sat May 09 2009

Wind Power Ain't Blowin' Smoke

windpower1.JPGI was fortunate to be able to spend a little time at Windpower 2009, the just-concluded 4-day expo at McCormick Place. There was surprisingly scant local coverage of the world's largest windpower conference being held here in the Windy City, of all places, so I'm posting these notes, because it was an amazing event. From a gathering that, longtime attendees told me, had about 200 people here 10 years ago, and only 1,000 attendees as late as 2001, this has grown into a massive conference, sprawling across the entire South Hall of the expo center. According to The American Wind Energy Association, the conference had 23,200 attendees, close to double the size of last year's gathering, and over 1,200 exhibiting companies.

In keeping with the green theme of the conference, I took a multimodal route to get there: I biked to the Metra, took the train downtown, walked to a bus stop, then took the CTA to McCormick Place. I was glad I made the effort. Any policymaker, activist, reporter, or general member of the public who stopped by this show would have come away convinced that wind is no longer, in any fashion, an "alternative" energy source or science fiction. Rather this is a burgeoning industry with tremendous growth ahead.

In addition to the five governors who came by the conference, speakers included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, financier T. Boone Pickens, FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu (via video). Illinois Governor Pat Quinn used the conference to announce an agreement by which the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) will purchase all of its energy for facilities in the capitol from wind-generated sources, through the city of Springfield.

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Smith / Comments (3)

Event Tue Apr 28 2009

World, Biden Discuss Urban Economic Crisis

Meetings, summits, conferences. These are where catastrophic problems are discussed and noble solutions are alluded to. That tradition was upheld on Monday at the UIC-hosted and city-sponsored Fifth Annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum cautiously entitled "Global Economic Recovery: Cities Lead the Way."

The three-hour event boasted 30 mayors from cities around the world contributing their hard-knocks experiences amidst the global recession. Much of the dialogue revolved around such big ideas as bureaucratic reform, infrastructure investment, and educational improvement -- all with very little specificity attached.

While Mayor Richard M. Daley, who Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution affectionately referred to as the "dean of American mayors," may have presided over markedly higher budgets each year, he confidently assured the forum that urban success will be rooted in "cutting government spending," and "looking at outsourcing." Yet it was Mayor Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir of Reykjavik, Iceland, who described how she and the city council agreed to a pay cut as a measure of demonstrating what needed to be done across the board. From the back of the room, it was hard to see if the 50 aldermen in the front row were stroking their chins in a eureka moment.

Vice President Joe Biden topped off the chorus of international voices in support of significant federal reinvestment in the urban landscape by using stimulus spending items as bullet points. After rattling off a stump speech of spending measures (all of which could be reviewed at, he expressed his belief that American cities will soon gain a technological edge in the global economy by trading in "smokestacks for stethoscopes."

From the bowels of the predictable rhetoric and the guaranteed applause lines about wanting Chicago to host the Olympics in 2016, a few general themes did emerge. Tourism dollars wind up finding their ways to places that spend money on beautification projects and big box infrastructure improvements, making it clear that such expenditures go beyond short-term patronage.

Secondly, business partnerships must guide the educational development in this country through secondary school grants and product development in the universities. Norbert Riedel, a spokesperson for the Baxter International, discussed how partnering with several Chicago universities allowed it to make headway in adult stem cell research, anti-counterfeiting, and product safety. These relationships went onto to produce high-paying jobs in which companies groomed the work force to suit its needs. Gone are the days about worrying how corporate influence in the educational marketplace could corrupt the schooling process. As the Beatles once said, "All the money's gone, nowhere to go."

Prescott Tolk

Chicago Tue Apr 21 2009

UIC Group to Protest Pilsen Clinic Closing

Members of the University of Illinois at Chicago Healthcare Students Against Discrimination are planning a rally on Thursday to protest the university's decision to shut down The Center for Women and Families at Pilsen, a UIC community clinic that serves several low-income Latina women and children, within two months.

The group, along with physicians and community members, will gather in front of the Outpatient Care Clinic (OCC), 1801 W. Taylor St, at noon, and will hand over a petition with more than 1,000 signatures from UIC students, staff and community members who are against the closure.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Chicago Tue Apr 21 2009

Cisneros Revisits Chicago, Listens to el Corazón

sandra_cisneros.jpgAnyone who's unsure of how politics and literature/art relate to one another effectively should consider reading Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street, which is this spring's One Book, One Chicago choice.

The book follows the life of Esperanza, a young Mexican-American girl growing up in Humboldt Park, through tiny vignettes about the little things in her life that add up to a whole lot more -- hair, her age, her name, school lunches, hips.

As she matures, Esperanza witnesses the lingering effects of gangs, binding domesticity and poverty in her community and among her friends. She vows to get ahead with education and to leave Mango Street, but "to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out." Though Cisneros, a Chicago native, has a deceptively simple writing style, she gives a complex human face to the struggles of working-class families everywhere in Chicago, especially Latino families. Many of the stories, Cisneros has said, were influenced from her days teaching at Latino Youth High School.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt

Event Tue Jan 20 2009

Liveblogging the Inauguration

Follow along as we liveblog the Inauguration from Chicago and Washington, D.C. We have several correspondents on the ground, and folks watching it from here in Chicago.

(Ended at 12:35pm.)

Andrew Huff

Event Thu Dec 18 2008

Politics on Stage

Madison Square Garden Entertainment is hosting a speaker series entitled "The Minds That Move The World" at the Chicago Theatre.

The series will be "formatted to allow for each participant to present their thoughts on a wide range of important current events and national issues, followed by a moderated question and answer period during which the moderator can elicit additional information and insights into particularly pertinent topics of the day." Here's the schedule:

• March 11: Bill Maher and Ann Coulter
• April 1: Al Gore
• April 22: Chris Matthews interviewing Tucker Carlson, Arianna Huffington and Paul Begala
• May 28: Charlie Rose interviewing James Carville and Karl Rove

Tickets won't go on sale to the public for a couple weeks, but Gapers Block readers have access to a special presale -- use this link and use the code "GAPERS" to order tickets between now and Jan. 10.

Andrew Huff

GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15