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Thursday, March 18, 2010 01:04 am

Local schools think about teaching China’s official language

If enough middle and high school students sign up for it, the Springfield and Ball-Chatham public school districts may offer instruction in Mandarin Chinese, the simplified official Chinese dialect us...
Thursday, March 11, 2010 02:09 pm

Springfield as a border town on the North-South divide

Maybe it was the recent election of Richard Nixon to the White House that left me looking to the past rather than to the future in 1974. That was the year I published Honest Abe’s Honest Almanac...
Thursday, March 4, 2010 01:50 pm

Gov. Thomas Ford’s history of Illinois politics

Illinois has a very short list of distinguished governors and a somewhat longer one of able historians. The list of distinguished governors who also are able historians is very short indeed. Only one ...
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 08:38 am

A Springfield grade-schooler confronts American folk songs

When I was a student, I was introduced to the concept that the simplest-sounding phrases had irreconcilable and contradictory meanings that rendered interpretation impossible. No intellectual test was...
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 01:01 am

Direct primaries and the Scott Lee Cohen fiasco

The obituaries for the political career of the unfortunate Scott Lee Cohen list as the cause of death all the common viruses of Illinois politics, from dunderheaded party leaders and lazy reporters to...
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 03:35 pm

Turning Lincoln stuff into sacred relics

Many years ago, I made my first visit to the Illinois State Historical Library in its handsome but cramped new quarters beneath the Old State Capitol. Having time to kill while waiting for the staff t...
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 07:04 am

Springfield’s tradition of Lincoln Scholarship

“One thing I don’t like, and Springfield don’t like, is someone to come in from outside and tell us about Lincoln.” That was the late Murray Hanes, talking as only Hanes could ...
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 07:55 pm

Is this the golden age of the autodidact?

This town has been the theater for the careers of many a self-made man and woman (and nearly as many unmade ones) but the self-taught person is rare among us. Not so a century and more ago. In Illinoi...
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 09:50 pm

The newest energy crop from Illinois fields

The American Wind Energy Corp. in December announced its intention to plant 25,000 acres in western Sangamon County with wind turbines, beginning in 2011. While county officials busy themselves determ...
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 09:18 am

The rewards of reading books before you are ready

I was a bookish boy. I read at school and at home, encouraged by boredom and the summer reading programs at Lincoln Library. I didn’t read to learn; I read to be entertained. (There is no spur t...


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