On Broadway

There's a picture of Robert Moses tucked behind Book Trader Café on Chapel Street. His arms are crossed and he's smiling, though there's something a little uneasy about his pose: his tie is slightly off-center, his face half-hidden in shadow. He looks eager to get back to work.

Morning Shift: October 9, 2015

If you're running the Chicago marathon this Sunday, you have a big decision to make: Will you listen to music? Or will you skip the earbuds? We have the arguments for and against a race-day playlist.Also, the marathon will cause some traffic headaches this weekend, so we give you ideas for things to do in the suburbs.Plus, two WBEZ reporters join us to recap the conversations that are happening at Chicago's city budget hearings.And the conversations that AREN'T happening … thanks to our obsessions with iPhones, tablets, Twitter, and Facebook. The author of a new book called Reclaiming Conversation explains why we need to get back to talking to each other.

Margaret Atwood on Climate Change, Her New Book and Why Socialists Are Better with Budgets

One might expect Margaret Atwood to have a dark take on humanity's future. Over the course of a 50-year career, the Canadian novelist has penned a number of Orwellian scenarios: a fundamentalist Christian coup inThe Handmaid's Tale, a genetic experiment run amok in Oryx and Crake, and, in her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last, an economic crash that leaves most Americans living hand to mouth (unless they're selected for a company town whose bylaws have some hellish fine print). Atwood has stressed that she writes not “sci-fi” with “pod people,” but rather “speculative fiction”: things that could happen, or have happened. In a recent essay for Medium that might be termed “speculative journalism,” she lays out three energy futures. In Picture One, oil has run out, but we happily rely on solar cars, sailboats, trains and bicycles for transportation—and lots of long underwear for warmth.

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Reclaiming Conversation: New book examines how digital age impacts communication

Here's a familiar situation: You're talking with someone face-to-face, when suddenly that person whips out their phone for a quick glance — or more. Could be a text, or a tweet, or some kind of alert. Either way, their focus is now off the conversation. The digital world has taken a bite out of the real one. But is it just an annoyance, a blip that's part of modern life?

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What happens at City Council budget hearings?

About two weeks ago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave his 2016 budget address before City Council. It included a massive property tax hike to cover the unfunded pensions that cast a dark cloud over everything.A week later, the 50 members of that body started their question and answer sessions with people like city CFO Carole Brown, Budget Director Alex Holt, the Business Affairs Commissioner, the Police Superintendent, and other department heads to determine everything from “do we really need to spend X money in Y place,” to “how am I supposed to sell these big tax and fee increases to the people in my ward?”But what's really going on in these hearings? Are aldermen engaged? Are they asking the tough questions...the right questions? WBEZ's Political Reporter Lauren Chooljian does a little “demystification,” and WBEZ criminal justice reporter Robert Wildeboer provides insight.

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“Howl” Howls Afresh

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, Allen Ginsberg's clipped and certain tenor boomed through a loudspeaker. Starving hysterical naked/dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn.The first lines of Ginsberg's famous poem filled the still, slightly warm air. A glass of wine clinked in the audience.Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry/ dynamo in the machinery of light .

Was It Murder?

Bonnie Foreshaw went to prison on a long sentence after a fight with an abusive partner led to her shooting an innocent victim instead—a pregnant woman who was trying to intervene. It was a tragedy. But was it premeditated murder? Was Foreshaw's sentence too long?“Usually you write about injustice and nothing happens. This time something happened,” said veteran Connecticut journalist Andy Thibault. He meant the investigative reporting he did that ended with an extraordinary hearing granting Foreshaw clemency and a lesser sentence.

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Arnott’s Arts Happenings for Oct. 12-18

Old formats rock New Haven this week, with a lecture on why vinyl records are great, separate festivals devoted to home movies and VHS tapes, and a screening of the black-and-white Hollywood spectacular The Magnificent Ambersons. For the even older-school, there are fairy tales, plus talks on farming and cheesemaking.

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Ben Carson Is Wrong About Hitler and Guns

More guns, fewer holocausts? Ben Carson said Thursday that Adolf Hitler's mass murder of Jews “would have been greatly diminished” if German citizens had not been disarmed by the Nazi regime....“But just clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?” Blitzer asked. “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said....“I'm telling you that there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first.”

This got me curious: did Hitler take away everyone's guns? As you can imagine, I know zilch about the history of gun control in Germany, so I surfed over to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, for a quick refresher course. Here's what they say:

In 1919, the Treaty of Versaille disarmed Germany.

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Rhymefest returns to his father’s house

One of the things that always has set the Chicago school of hip-hop apart is its willingness to look at issues in the black community on a much deeper and more universal level than the gang-banging clichés and cheap nihilism dispensed by many other rappers. And while Che Smith, better known as Rhymefest, hasn't quite reached the level of stardom as peers such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Chance the Rapper, he arguably has done more than any of them to live the more positive values espoused in the best of his lyrics (though he's not beyond the occasional foray into darker turf).Directed by veteran New York documentary filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (Joan Rivers—A Piece of Work, The Devil Came On Horseback, Knuckleball!"), In My Father's House focuses on Rhymefest, drawing heavily on his music, and it's steeped in hip-hop culture. But it's not a hip-hop movie per se—at least not in the way that fabulously successful Straight Outta Compton is. Flush with the success that came from co-writing “Jesus Walks” with Kanye and signing a lucrative major-label deal of his own (which, unfortunately, failed to produce anywhere near the attention that his 2006 debut Blue Collar deserved), Rhymefest bought a lovely home on the South Side of Chicago to raise his family. His father had grown up in the same house, but he was estranged from his son through most of the child's formative years, winding up as an alcoholic living on the streets and in shelters only a few blocks away.After 25 years, Rhymefest set out to reunite with Brian Tillman, moving from his initial curiosity and anger to concern to finally helping rehabilitate the man.

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‘The Long Journey Home’ sparks conversation on Latino migration

Last year, Frida Arellano came to Arcola, Ill., from Texas with her family to find work in the area's agricultural fields. The job left her family broke and homeless, she said. More than 15 years ago, Daneli Rabanalez Hernandez also moved to Arcola, traveling thousands of miles with her family from their original home in Mexico. Now a student at Olivet Nazarene University, Hernandez said central Illinois has become her true home. “When they had [my brother and me], my parents realized that they wanted us to have an education, and the United States was a place where we could obtain that, and where we actually had a chance for a better life,” Hernandez said.