Neil Steinberg biography

Neil Steinberg began writing for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984, and joined the staff in 1987 as a feature writer.

He became a columnist in …

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Inviting Palestinians to the Seder

Religion is supposed to impose hardships and obligations. That’s the whole point. My kin do the full, six-hour, sail-past-midnight, 14-point, Kiddush-to-conclusion Passover meal, with frequent pauses for questions and comments and readings. One by one, suffering groups were named. Except one.

CNN stuck in pandering pattern on Flight 370 coverage

On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers and crew en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared. That’s it. There’s really no more to say, no more facts at hand. Oh, a few details, if you are new to …

It’s fine to tax Main St., but hands off La Salle

Two utterly true, impossible-to-argue generalizations about people: a) they like to insist they are right about everything; b) they often are wrong. Notice a conflict? There is nothing you can do about b); try not to be mistaken, but it still happens. But a) can …

Chicago fighting to defuse pension bomb

It hurts to have your pension cut. Trust me on that; I know of what I speak. In 2009, when Jim Tyree bought the paper, the deal he offered was: the union loses its right to seniority and takes a pay cut, and the company …

April is poetry month, so open your heart

Friday was cold and windy. Getting dressed for the Cubs home opener, I thought: better put on my Under Armour. Which is usually reserved for skiing or when it’s 15 below zero. But I worried that high-tech long johns were overkill, so I fired off …

In Chicago, Amnesty International to debate legalizing sex trade

In case you are tempted to stop by that conversation, you can’t: closed to the public. You may, however, join the protest convening in the street at 5 p.m. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will be there, along with Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, asking Amnesty International why it is using its good offices, usually found spotlighting torture and political oppression, to go to bat for pimps and johns.

So tell me, maestro, what’s with the stick?

Only one member of the orchestra is mimicked with any regularity. The average guy doesn’t tape empty soda cans together and pretend to play the bassoon, or sit on a chair and saw away at an imaginary cello. Nobody plays the air flute. But who …

Illinois is doing lousy? No, it’s doing great

I wanted look at the state of Illinois with a cool, dispassionate eye and ask: Is Bruce Rauner right? Are we really much worse off under Gov. Pat Quinn? Rauner points to our 8.7 percent unemployment, second highest in the nation. The Quinn people, however, observe that when he took office, it was 11.4 percent. Rauner focuses on the bloat of government, Quinn on how much has been cut. Who’s right? The bottom line is, for purposes of conversation, that it doesn’t matter.

Hobby Lobby tries to craft religious rights

The arc of history bends toward freedom. If you want to understand what has happened over the past decades and centuries, what is happening now, keep that premise in mind. In the past, people were controlled by institutions, which dictated the details of their lives, telling them how to worship, work, dress, think, behave. Yet, right now, in 2014, a case is being discussed by the Supreme Court whether Hobby Lobby, a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores, can decide for its 13,000 employees what kind of birth control they use.

Chicago City Council to fire words at Russia

The Chicago City Council is poised to try to project its moral authority from the corner of LaSalle and Randolph streets, echoing across the globe, to rattle the windows of oppression and exert what influence it can on the enormous, grinding gears of world events. It wants too dummp Moscow as a sister city.

Felon’s teaching role at U of I sparks response

The phone rings. David Thomas, formerly of Orland Park, now of Honolulu. Do I know that the University of Illinois is employing James Kilgore, a 1960s radical and terrorist, as a teacher? What, another one? I wonder.

Putin’s next push into Moldova?

Before we work ourselves into too tight a knot over what we should have done to keep Russia from seizing Crimea, here’s a sobering thought from Sen. Dick Durbin, fresh from a quick trip to Ukraine. “I don’t think it’s over,” he said, referring to Vladimir Putin’s attempts to claw back parts of the Soviet Union.

  • When the rich play poor

    In politics, it’s better to be seen as a common man climbing up than a rich guy stooping down. Take Lucius Annaeus Seneca, the stoic philosopher of 1,950 years ago, constantly pooh-poohing the importance of money, yet as Nero’s tutor he was one of the richest men in Rome.

  • Products you can — and can’t — live without at Housewares show

    From toilet decals to cases that keep bananas from bruising to cookie dunkers, the housewares expo has solutions to issues you don’t even know you have.

  • Brain cancer battle may include vaccine

    ‘Here’s the thing with brain cancer,” said Dr. Andrew Parsa, chairman of neurological surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “it’s relatively rare — 30,000 to 40,000 people get it every year. Yet it’s a very significant health care cost, per patient, because of all the chemo, …Read More

  • Leaving your phone at home

    The possibility bloomed, strange and wonderful. I could go to work without my cellphone. I could consciously and deliberately leave it behind.

    Don’t argue over gun permits, just watch

    I want to depart from habit today and tip my hat to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, because he said something that is utterly true and will certainly be born out by events. As the state of Illinois sent out its first 5,000 concealed carry permits, he noted: “Stand by and watch what happens. The answer to gun violence is not more guns.”