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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Steinberg: Hostage raid in Yemen highlights history of resisting ransom

The U.S. doesn’t pay ransom for kidnapped citizens because such payments only encourage more kidnapping, and the cash funds more terrorism.

Steinberg: There’s a police perspective to the Eric Garner choke hold case

So when does somebody speak up for the police? Believe me, I have no interest in being that person. It’s a lose-lose proposition. The public — in one long howl of outrage, based on two fatal encounters between young black men and police officers, in …

Steinberg: Rolling Stone steps back from UVA rape tale

If the problem were professors’ children being kidnapped and held for ransom, nobody would talk about the ability of universities to investigate and solve these cases. Nobody would demand they develop systems for better analyzing ransom notes. We would look to the police. Such crimes …

Steinberg: I bet Santa doesn’t have this difficulty

E leven months a year we get to be as selfish as we please, maximizing our advantage, straddling our small piles of loot, grinning, marveling at the view. But come December, well, a new dynamic kicks in. Echoes of a birth long ago, if you …

Steinberg: We bury you before you’re dead

Don’t expect me to snicker at People magazine for prematurely publishing the obituary of the still-kicking Kirk Douglas. It could happen to anyone and does. What caught my attention were the comments under Gawker’s story about People’s gaffe. Readers were surprised at the idea of advance obits.

Counting calories a tactic in endless war

Nutritionists hailed the FDA’s new rules requiring calories be listed on restaurant menus as an important step toward reversing our society’s steady slide toward universal obesity. I’m not expecting too dramatic an effect on America’s waistline.

Steinberg: Opera is fini if the fat lady keeps singing

Often the public thinks of opera as a 300-pound Brunhilda standing in one spot, holding a spear and warbling — what American soprano Adina Aaron dismissively calls “park and bark.”

Steinberg: Our ancestors, all immigrants, are watching us now

Everyone in the United States, unless they are Native American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.

Steinberg: Bank of America phone poll hints at tellers’ doom

With the election over, thank God, I thought pesky telephone polls would subside. But if anything, they’ve increased. Not the “Who has your vote?” polls, or what I call “Slur Polls” — questions designed not to collect answers but to deliver attacks; polls that start …

Steinberg: Birds, squirrels and the Israeli-Palestinian problem

Palestinians could have their state, but not the state they want, and Israelis could allow the Palestinians back into their country, but then it wouldn’t be a Jewish country. Plus there’s no reason to think Palestinians would give up the killing that has been their central mode of self-expression. The solution, therefore, clearly is ... umm.

Steinberg: Welcome to Chicago, Archbishop Cupich, but beware the soup

No sooner was the first Catholic church built in Chicago, however, than the minister of the first Protestant church, Jeremiah Porter, knelt outside and prayed for its downfall. A reminder that, as Catholic a town as this is, there has always been hostility.

Steinberg: Thoughts inspired by Kim Kardashian’s ample, um, assets

The book I pulled off my shelf Friday — easily, without searching, I happily noted — was “The Rear View: A Brief and Elegant History of Bottoms Through the Ages,” by Jean-Luc Hennig, a new chapter of which was written last week when a photo of the huge, oiled naked rump of Kim Kardashian roiled the Internet.

Steinberg: This Gandhi learned pacifism at the master’s feet

Twelve is a tough age, and many a struggling preteen has been shipped off to relatives to help him adjust to this whirling ball of woe we call a world. In Arun’s case, two things made his relocation unusual. First, the relative he was sent …

Steinberg: ‘Summertime’ is here, and ‘Porgy and Bess’ tickets await

I’m extra pleased to announce the 7th annual Sun-Times Goes to the Lyric Contest. Readers started asking about it last week, when I dropped in on a rehearsal of “Porgy and Bess,” which 100 readers will attend Dec. 8.

  • Steinberg: Love, life in war live on in a soldier’s letters

    Tuesday is Veterans Day, when we honor the soldiers, sailors, Marines and other military men and women who serve and have served our country. Recalling such an enormous group is impossible. It’s hard enough to remember just one person, such as Pvt. Gail O. Woodman, who grew up in Evergreen Park and volunteered for the Army in 1917. We hear his voice today only because he wrote letters to a certain special young woman.

  • Steinberg: Behold the ‘Lost Alp,’ aka the Lucas ‘Star Wars’ museum

    My immediate, visceral reaction to Chinese architect Ma Yansong’s design for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, planned for the lakefront, was to sigh, then shake my head in bewildered sorrow.

  • Steinberg: Hey GOP, have fun and give the keys back in ’16

    Honestly? The big Republican win Tuesday night didn’t bother me much. I’m not sure why. Cynicism triumphant, perhaps.