IllinoisTimes - Second Thoughts http://illinoistimes.com/blogs.sec-138-1-second-thoughts.html Thu, 24 Jul 14 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 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...]]>
Barrett Deems http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13623-barrett-deems.html Barrett Deems
 My column about drummer jokes in December made significant mention of Springfield native son and drummer, Barrett Deems.   I am informed by UIS Auditorium Director Bob Vaughn that...]]>
Miscontrusion http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13621-miscontrusion.html Miscontrusion
About a year ago, in a column titled, "What was that again?" I noted that people who learn words solely from books are prey to pronouncing them the way they look -- which, unfortunately, is not al...]]>
Votes by the barrel http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13579-votes-by-the-barrel.html Votes by the barrel
In the 19th century, votes were bought not by money but by whiskey. A keg would be set up outside each polling place on election day, and the more generous a candidates was with the ladle the bette...]]>
A tax plan with interest http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13550-a-tax-plan-with-interest.html A tax plan with interest
The tax-reform proposal recently unveiled by Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been praised by even Democratic-leaning commentators such as Jonathan Chait as “maybe th...]]>
Saving for an un-rainy day http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13549-saving-for-an-un-rainy-day.html Saving for an un-rainy day
More on the politics of water rate increases. (See also "Demanding answers.") I addressed the issue in this paper back in 1988, when Springfield also was suffering through a protracted dry spell....]]>
Er, I don't know http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13494-er-i-dont-know.html Er, I don't know
 In my recent babbling about which collective noun best describes residents of Springfield, I explored which of the word endings "-ian" or "-er" was most appropriate to attach to the word Spr...]]>
The French don't know just how to live http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13495-the-french-dont-know-just-how-to-live.html The French don't know just how to live
 In a 2013 piece that was harder to write than it is to read, I remembered my good friend and long-time I contributor Rich Shereikis, who died of advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 75....]]>
Public utility, private monopoly http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13491-public-utility-private-monopoly.html Public utility, private monopoly
 Since David Atkins asked the right questions about the wisdom of the recent purchase of Time Warner Cable by Comcast, I won’t have to.  . . . the taxpayers funded much if not most o...]]>
Job killers http://illinoistimes.com/blog-13492-job-killers.html Job killers
A couple of week ago Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced his intention to introduce legislation to cut the corporate state income tax rate – that is, the rate applied to business prof...]]>