IllinoisTimes - Second Thoughts http://illinoistimes.com/blogs.sec-138-1-second-thoughts.html Mon, 01 Sep 14 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 Searching for the mot juste http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14397-searching-for-the-mot-juste.html Searching for the mot juste
 In "What do you mean by that?" I ventured the opinion that "big words"  words are not, like jewelry, mere adornments to the educated, but essential tools that equip us to...]]>
Sears, No-buck http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14365-sears-no-buck.html Sears, No-buck
In a 2012 column I recalled the bad deal made by the State of Illinois in 1989 when it caved it to threats from Sears, Roebuck to move its Merchandise Group out of Illinois. The package a...]]>
Big words http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14366-big-words.html Big words
 In next week's column, “What do you mean by that?” I ask the perennial question: Big words – what are they good for? One man who has some very good answers to that question is writer...]]>
More unhappy news http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14335-more-unhappy-news.html More unhappy news
 More on happiness in, and with cities, a topic I touched on in “Land of mope and worry.” Wages and housing alone don’t predict where people want to live very well. Cities like San Fran...]]>
Peter Hall http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14330-peter-hall.html Peter Hall
A while back, I edited and wrote chapter introductions to a collection of essays on the influence of Daniel Burnham, the architect-turned-city planner whose 1909 Plan of Chicago gave Chicago its fa...]]>
When non-profit means non-professional http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14301-when-non-profit-means-non-professional.html When non-profit means non-professional
 Imagine this scene: Having recognized that they share a common need, a group of well-intended parents gather and decide to found a Montessori school. They lease classroom space, they buy the n...]]>
Flunking the test http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14247-flunking-the-test.html Flunking the test
 I have railed in print  about our national health care “system” that spends more and gets less for it than more advanced nations do because it buys not good health but “health care ...]]>
What, for? http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14243-what-for.html What, for?
 Language wonks might recall my January column about the rise in American English of the all-purpose preposition, “All for one – and “for” for all.”  I spotted another instanc...]]>
Scrap heap http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14241-scrap-heap.html Scrap heap
This week came sad confirmation of my complaint from 2010 that the State of Illinois’ stewardship of its major buildings amounts to slow-motion vandalism. Crain’s columnist Greg Hinz dropped b...]]>
Getting connected http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14209-getting-connected.html Getting connected
It’s a start. The Springfield City Council on July 1 approved extending the existing cable television franchise agreement with Comcast, in spite of the many complaints aldermen receive about ...]]>
Crazy Judah and the Chinese http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14157-crazy-judah-and-the-chinese.html Crazy Judah and the Chinese
 I noted my recent visit to Donner’s Pass in “Promised lands.” Trains go through that gap as well as trucks and cars, as Kevin Baker, a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, learne...]]>
From prop to proposal? http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14156-from-prop-to-proposal.html From prop to proposal?
 Rahm Emanuel seems determined to see George Lucas’ museum of the visual arts – what one Hyde Parker more accurately describes as “The George Lucas Museum of Perpetual Adolescence” –...]]>
Trashing the past http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14129-trashing-the-past.html Trashing the past
 In  “Squabbling over the inheritance,” I asked whether the State of Illinois, which governs a commonwealth rich in everything except good government, is capable of responsible stewar...]]>
Amen http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14020-amen.html Amen
 A while back I complained about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that permitted the use of explicitly Christian prayers to open public meetings even though such rituals make it plain to non-Christi...]]>
Hipster patriotism http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14018-hipster-patriotism.html Hipster patriotism
The June 2 issue of New York magazine included a good piece by Will Leitch titled, "Is 2014 the Year Soccer in America (Truly) Goes Mainstream?"Leitch charts soccer's surprising rise in popularity ...]]>
"You can't not catch 'em" http://illinoistimes.com/blog-14019-you-cant-not-catch-em.html "You can't not catch 'em"
 A faithful reader alerted me to a fun piece in The Scientist, which describes itself as the magazine for life science professionals. As everyone knows by now, various species of Asian ...]]>
Big Data meets Big Ag http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13991-big-data-meets-big-ag.html Big Data meets Big Ag
From time to time I have noted the baleful effects on the Illinois countryside of factory-style grain production systems that require fewer and fewer farmers. The day is approaching when raising corn ...]]>
Hidden costs of health care http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13988-hidden-costs-of-health-care.html Hidden costs of health care
 In Give and take, I noted that the cost of non-wage benefits can be a brake on business hiring and depress wages, and that in recent years the cost of total compensation for U.S. workers has r...]]>
Wookiees 6, Bears 0 http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13985-wookiees-6-bears-0.html Wookiees 6, Bears 0
(Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / May 19, 2014)As I noted in Cultural Arts Major, Star Wars creator George Lucas wants to buy some U.S. city a new museum to house his collection of...]]>
George Lucas and the pizza king http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13952-george-lucas-and-the-pizza-king.html George Lucas and the pizza king
One last thought on Chicago and the George Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. The man Lucas most reminds me of is Tom Monaghan, the former Domino’s pizza magnate. You might recall Monaghan as the man wh...]]>
Musical museums http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13891-musical-museums.html Musical museums
 My column deriding George Lucas’ hopes to house his personal collection of Americana in Chicago was probably ungenerous. Maybe it was because I was mistaken for Lucas in shopping center not...]]>
Dense voters http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13838-dense-voters.html Dense voters
 Emily Badger, who covers urban policies for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, flagged for her readers a recent Wall Street Journal article about how once-Republican inner-ring suburbs of...]]>
Reporting the report http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13783-reporting-the-report.html Reporting the report
I have been writing about Springfield local government since the Great Satan in the White House was a Republican. During that time, able and earnest citizens sat down to recommend improvements to e...]]>
Reforming the reform http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13784-reforming-the-reform.html Reforming the reform
 In my recent piece about the challenges facing the Sangamon County Citizens Efficiency Commission, I noted that the adoption of township government in the 1850s, which has been intended to enh...]]>
Inheritances http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13782-inheritances.html Inheritances
Thanks to Jared Bernstein for alerting me – us – to a speech delivered by Larry Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard University, Chief Economist at the World Bank, Clinton-era Secretary of the...]]>
Cougar, cougar, shining bright http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13716-cougar-cougar-shining-bright.html Cougar, cougar, shining bright
 In the fall of 2012, I remarked (“They’re b-a-a-a-c-k”) on video evidence that confirmed the presence in a Morgan County woods of an adult cougar. The animal was then only the fourth know...]]>
Wrong-headedness about schools http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13715-wrong-headedness-about-schools.html Wrong-headedness about schools
This morning Rich Miller over at Capital Fax.com responded to a recent report comparing Chicago charter schools outcomes to those at the city's neighborhood schools. [The] over-emphasis on takin...]]>
Wait control http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13711-wait-control.html Wait control
Thinking about epistolary romancing for last week's column (Please mister postman), I wondered, Do romantic emails excite the same kind of response as the old-fashioned love letter? I used to t...]]>
More on the Little Giant http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13682-more-on-the-little-giant.html More on the Little Giant
 Whatever one thinks of him – and I made clear in Price of Demagogues that I think that his ambition consistently outran his judgment – Stephen A. Douglas was a singular character. John Mas...]]>
Option play http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13681-option-play.html Option play
Good news. The Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board recently decided  that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the university and thus can unionize if they c...]]>