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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 12:01 am

Is the national pastime past its time?

 Woman of the Year, the 1942 movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn:  Sportswriter Tracy invites the Hepburn character to her first baseball game, at Yankee Stadium. She arrives...
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 12:01 am

Finding ourselves gets harder all the time

 You would think that the one inarguable fact about Illinois is that it is a Midwestern place. Walt Hickey, a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, commissioned a web poll of self-identifie...
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 12:01 am

Gotham has always drawn Springfieldians to the bright lights

 It is natural in this season to think of New York City, but this year I have been thinking of it in a happier light than the 9/11 anniversary casts on it. I had reason to read the interview that...
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 12:01 am

Rauner wants to give ailing Illinois a dose of California

It was sometime just after the new millennium, I think, that Illinois political leaders first started to resemble the first guy through the broken store window crying “Justice!” while looting a TV...
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 12:01 am

Why not a Y block wetland?

 For years, “green space” in downtown Springfield meant a weedy parking lot. These days greenery of a handsomer sort abounds, in curbside flower beds, in planter boxes and urns, in hanging ba...
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 12:01 am

Big words and the search for meaning

I was reading the other evening, which is what I do when I can’t read during the day. My choice this night was a detective novel written by Englishman Bruce Montgomery as Edmund Crispin. Montgomery�...
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 12:01 am

Too many Illinoisans don’t know how to behave on the road

 There is no traffic situation so bad that drivers can’t make it worse, as I was reminded while driving on I-55 recently. Work on the Des Plaines River bridge required rerouting traffic onto on...
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 12:01 am

A lot of people are not happy where they live

To borrow a phrase, all happy cities are alike; each unhappy city is unhappy in its own way. To learn a bit about what those unhappy ways are, three economists at Harvard and the University of British...
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 12:01 am

Can fishy fads rid the Illinois of silver carp?

 It is satisfying to contemplate that unbridled capitalism might in some cases be harnessed to rectify the damage done by unbridled capitalism. In recent weeks commercial fishing on the Illinois...
Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:01 am

Springfield’s oral history tradition

 In “Squabbling over the inheritance” (June 12), I lamented the fact that the Illinois State Historical Library, which has collected and preserved materials on the state’s political, social...

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