Stories by paul caine

Former Cook County Jail Warden Advocates for More Holistic Criminal Justice System

Nneka Jones Tapia appears on "Chicago Tonight" on May 19, 2022. (WTTW News)

Do inmates in Illinois prisons and jails have a right to safety? That’s the central question raised in a new publication written by former Cook County Department of Corrections Warden Nneka Jones Tapia.

Spotlight Politics: City Council Passes New Map

(WTTW News)

The City Council passes a new ward map, avoiding the possibility of allowing voters to weigh in on a new map via a referendum. And the mayor orders a change to the city's teen curfew. Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

The Week in Review: Candidate Called Trump ‘Bigoted Racist’

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin is pictured in April 2020. (WTTW News)

Exclusive text messages reveal Richard Irvin called Trump a “bigoted racist.” A new entrant in the race for mayor. Alderpeople approve gerrymandered new city maps. And Bally’s casino proposal revealed.

Researchers Claim They’ve Found Fossilized Remains from Extinction Event That Wiped Out Most Dinosaurs

Field assistant Kylie Ruble, left, and Robert DePalma excavate a slab of fossils from the Tanis deposit. (Courtesy of Robert DePalma)

An international team of researchers say they have found fossilized remains of fish and a dinosaur in North Dakota at a site that they believed died on the very day of an asteroid impact. That story is told in a new documentary called “Dinosaur Apocalypse” airing on WTTW.

Former US Defense Secretary Hagel Expects Further Escalation of War in Ukraine

(CNN via WTTW)

Chuck Hagel served as the United States Secretary of Defense under the Obama administration from 2013 to 2015, after two terms as a Republican senator from Nebraska. Hagel is visiting Chicago to speak on national security and global geopolitics at the University of Chicago. 

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Selects Bally’s Bid for Long-Awaited Casino

An aerial view of the proposed Bally’s casino site. (WTTW News)

The Mayor rolls the dice on a casino proposal, will alderpeople buy-in? The abortion bombshell rocks politics. Boeing takes off from Chicago. And the Bears complete the first draft under their new GM.

The Week in Review: Quigley Won’t Run for Mayor, Bulls Dumped Out of Playoffs by Dominant Bucks

(WTTW News)

Gas card giveaway a go. A big name bows out of the race for mayor. The Chicago Reader standoff resolves. The bears on the draft clock. And the Bulls bounce out of the playoffs after a successful season.

Anti-Defamation League Reports Record Number of Antisemitic Incidents Across U.S. In 2021

A "Holocaust is a lie" sticker on a parking sign outside of a Holocaust Museum. (Courtesy Anti-Defamation League)

The Midwest chapter of the ADL which focuses on Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin reported a total of 175 antisemitic incidents in 2021, up 62% from the 108 cases it recorded the year before, and more than 200 percent higher than five years ago.

New Book by Chicago Political Observer Dick Simpson Explores Democracy’s Future

(University of Illinois Press)
Chicago has not always had the most cordial relationship with democracy over decades of machine-style politics. A new book from longtime Chicago political observer Dick Simpson aims to diagnose what’s wrong and offer prescriptions to fix it.

Science News: Fossil Could Rewrite History of Evolution; Birds Laying Eggs Earlier

Egg collecting was trendy 100 years ago but today collections like the Field Museum's are rare. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago-area birds are nesting and laying eggs earlier than ever before. A mysterious meteor burns up over Papua New Guinea. A fossil could rewrite the history of the evolution of life on Earth. And a disturbing finding about microplastics.

Profits for Meat Producers Soar Amid Allegations of Price Gouging

(WTTW News)

Last year, shoppers paid roughly 6% more for their groceries than the year before. But it’s the cost of meat in particular that is behind much of the rise in our grocery bills. Beef is now some 20% more expensive than it was, while pork is up 14% and chicken around 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biden’s Budget Takes Aim at the Wealthy

President Joe Biden’s proposed $5.8 trillion budget aims to provide more money for police, education, public health and housing — while at the same time slimming the federal deficit.

Sports Betting Brings Tax Windfall – And a Surge in Problem Gambling

(WTTW News)

Last year, Illinois residents wagered $7.1 billion according to the Illinois Gaming Board. Now, just in time for March Madness, Illinois has dropped an in-person registration requirement for sports bettors — making it even easier to gamble using online apps.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs Celebrates its Centenary

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs produced a foreign affairs talk show on WTTW beginning in 1955 called “World Spotlight.”

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs turns 100 this year. The organization was created in 1922 amid isolationist sentiment in the U.S. following World War I. In the years since, it has brought a long list of global leaders and experts to Chicago. 

Chicago Tribune Reporter Ray Long’s New Book Explores Michael Madigan’s Rise and Fall

(WTTW News)

Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Ray Long began covering the statehouse at the beginning of Madigan’s historic reign as speaker of the House, and has unique insight into how he operated. Long joins Paris Schutz to discuss his new book on Madigan’s career. 

Facebook in Trouble as Zuckerberg Pivots to the Metaverse


The company faces challenges on multiple fronts, but it was a dismal earnings report Wednesday that triggered the sudden collapse in its share price.

NFL Facing Explosive Allegations of Racial Discrimination, Corruption

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores discusses his recent lawsuit against the team and the NFL. (CNN)

The NFL is facing explosive allegations of racial discrimination and corruption made in a class action lawsuit filed by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores — who was recently fired by the team.

Chicago’s Top Cop Touts Reform Progress on Day Van Dyke Released from Prison

Chicago police superintendent David Brown joins “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom. Feb. 3, 2022. (WTTW News)

Chicago police superintendent David Brown is approaching nearly two years in command. And it's been a rough ride. His tenure has been racked with a soaring homicide rate and weeks of civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd's murder — all while attempting to reform a police department during a global pandemic.

Chicago Epidemiologist ‘Dr. Kat’ Calls Out Joe Rogan for COVID-19 Misinformation

(WTTW News)

One of those health experts calling out Spotify is Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mental Health First Responders Replace Police for Some Emergency Calls

(WTTW News)

To prevent a mental health crisis from turning into a potentially deadly encounter with police, care professionals and organizations are prioritizing treatment over a criminal justice response when possible. A non-profit in Rogers Park launched a mental health emergency responder program earlier this month.

Shedd Aquarium Embarks on $500M Transformation


That transformation will be both physical, encompassing major interior renovations to create immersive exhibits, but will also entail a transformation of mission with more educational programming for Chicago school students.

Red Cross Warns of National Blood Crisis Due to Supply Shortage

A Red Cross blood donor rolls up a sleeve to give blood during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Rockville Donation Center in Maryland. (Photo by Dennis Drenner / American Red Cross)

The U.S. is experiencing a “national blood crisis” during what the American Red Cross says is the worst blood shortage in over a decade. Winter weather, a COVID-19 surge and limited volunteers are seen as the major causes.

Northwestern Study Finds Opioid Overdose Deaths Soaring for Older Americans

(Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash)

The number of Americans 55 and older who died from an opioid overdose surged 1,886% from a little over 500 deaths in 1999 to more than 10,000 deaths two decades later, according to a new report.

Israeli Researchers Teach a Goldfish to Drive

Goldfish swimming, not driving. (Sanjiv Nayak / Unsplash )

A man receives the first pig heart transplant. Astronomers witness a star go supernova. Researchers identify a biomarker of depression. And a goldfish goes for a drive. 

Much to Fix in the Offseason As Bears Begin Search for New GM and Coach

The Bears’ head coach and general manager are out. James “Big Cat” Williams, former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, gives us his thoughts on the offseason challenges the team and the incoming new coach and general manager face.

Bears Face Vikings in What Many Expect to Be Nagy’s Last Game In Charge

(WTTW News graphic)

The Chicago Bears aim to end a disappointing season on a high note by beating the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in what could be Matt Nagy’s last game as the team’s head coach.