Category Archives: Illinois / regional

Call them twisters, call them cyclones, call them (incorrectly) willy willys—tornadoes are as much a part of spring as blossoms on the trees and ants in the kitchen. Roughly 75% of Earth’s tornadoes strike the United States in a given year. Another … Continue reading

To pay further homage to the angry gods who make the cumulonimbus their home, we delve into some memorable portrayals of twisters in American pop culture. 1. Tornado episode of WKRP in Cincinnati The beloved series often forayed into dramedy, and does … Continue reading

Chicago is a city of bridges. Second only to Amsterdam in the number of drawbridges, the city is connected–and in some cased divided–by the engineering that channels foot, wheeled and marine traffic across the waterways. Patrick McBriarty, author of Chicago … Continue reading

Jesse Jackson Jr. gained his Congressional seat by winning a special election to replace Rep. Mel Reynolds. Reynolds resigned after being convicted of sexual misconduct. Jackson himself resigned as the Representative of the Second Congressional District of Illinois facing charges … Continue reading

When Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced he’d be resigning from the U.S. Congress it was seen by many as yet another example of the state’s seamy political underbelly. As detailed in Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality, Aaron Schock is not … Continue reading

Political corruption isn’t just about under-the-table dealings. A major factor that contributes to a system that many see as broken in the state of Illinois and throughout the country is a culture of patronage that, although obfuscated, is perfectly legal. … Continue reading

Food historian and travel writer Cynthia Clampitt recently answered some questions about her book Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland. Q: What was the importance of corn to Native Americas before European contact? Cynthia Clampitt: To a certain … Continue reading

“Back then farming was people,” says Alan Guebert. Guebert has written about agribusiness issues in “The Farm and Food File” since 1993. But the syndicated columnist notes that he would always get the greatest reader response from the times he’d … Continue reading

Laurent Pernot is the executive vice chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. Pernot came to the U.S. as a Chicago-area foreign-exchange student in 1988 and caught ’89 Cubs playoff fever. He answered some questions about his book Before the Ivy: The … Continue reading

Authors Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson document many colorful and dubious characters in their book Corrupt Illinois. An example (on page 1 of the book, even) would be former Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell, who left nearly a … Continue reading