IllinoisTimes - Second Thoughts Mon, 27 Apr 15 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 Grammar nerdery Grammar nerdery
The three or four readers who in 2014 shared my exasperation with the universal use of “for” (see All for one – and ‘for’ for all) might find amusing this mock web quiz at Clickhole inten...]]>
A tree grows in Grandma A tree grows in Grandma
 Goodness me, has it really been five and a half years? In November, 2009, I devoted a column to new ways of dealing with the fact that when our loved ones go away forever, they leave one last...]]>
Taxing thoughts Taxing thoughts
Tomorrow is tax deadline day, which is why the most recent edition of Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States makes such depressing reading.  The left-of-cent...]]>
Department of Injustice Department of Injustice
 In a piece in the April 7 Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, drew attention to revelations in a new book that ought to interes...]]>
Depends on the circumstances Depends on the circumstances
 Edmund Burke might forgive me for adapting the following passage from his “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790) to make it more plainly relevant to the revolution that is, halti...]]>
Seeing glass paperweights clearly Seeing glass paperweights clearly
 Readers interested in learning more about the Morton D. Barker paperweight collection I wrote about this week can do so at the Illinois State Museum's web exhibit at]]>
The intelligent lawmaker's guide to economics The intelligent lawmaker's guide to economics
The other day I wrote about Rockford state senator Dave Syverson’s proposal to ensure that Illinois lawmakers  know more about the economic effects of their decisions by requiring newly...]]>
Making better ducks Making better ducks
 People love to feed the ducks, as happens every day where the Jacksonville Branch of Spring Creek enters Washington Park. People don’t love ducks, however, judgig by what they feed these ani...]]>
A little knowledge . . . . Part 6 in a series A little knowledge . . . . Part 6 in a series
Over at Vox, Sarah Kiff reminds us that the Affordable Care Act is now five years old. Better known as Obamacare, the legislation has accomplished more and cost less than even it supporters expected...]]>
Opportunity squandered Opportunity squandered
Reading about the reactions from around Illinois to the cuts in state programs proposed by Gov. Scrooge, I was reminded of this passage from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Those who govern, ...]]>
Everything old is new again, Part 1 Everything old is new again, Part 1
Alert readers of the news will have noted the kerfuffle about the salaries being paid by Illinois' new governor to his  senior staff, in particular the 100 Gs being paid to equip Mrs. R with a c...]]>
Seeing Grandma in a new setting Seeing Grandma in a new setting
In “Underground movements” (Nov. 12, 2009) I took a nearly serious look at the problem of what to do with human remains on a planet becoming short of both space and resources.   Dona...]]>
Our memory as a people Our memory as a people
 Yes, I do go on a bit about the library of Illinois history whose future is at stake in the wrangling over who runs the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. I believ...]]>
And the winner is . . . And the winner is . . .
 Wise heads at the statehouse have been scratched as observers try to make sense of the antagonistic stances taken by Illinois' new governor. One explanation is that he is uninterested in actu...]]>
Rereading the past Rereading the past
 In my recent column titled “An overdue policy on the library,” I quoted from a very interesting article about the history of Illinois’ history library, Roger D. Bridges’ “The Origins...]]>
Higher mission Higher mission
While researching my recent column on the State of Illinois’ historical library (see “An overdue policy on the library”) I made (or rather renewed) my acquaintance with John Francis Snyder. As...]]>
Different roads Different roads
I mentioned in my recent remembrance of John Garvey that I had known him for nearly 50 years. I met him when I was 18 years old. The folly of Vietnam had become alarmingly plain, I was facing the d...]]>
Lincoln's low tricks Lincoln's low tricks
 In “Insult with wit,” my paean to the lost art of invective, I noted that while the mature Lincoln did not stoop to invective. This was partly fastidiousness, partly because (as Joseph Med...]]>
Dollar a year, my foot Dollar a year, my foot
 In response to no public demand whatsoever, I took up as my column topic this week (“Masters of the new machine,” out February 5) our new governor’s interesting remarks on public sector...]]>
More on Lee Sandlin More on Lee Sandlin
 I have more to say about the late Lee Sandlin, whose work I extolled in “A poet of fact.” For decades Lee seemed doomed to be another of those writers who is famous for not being known...]]>
Listen to the President -- he's your leader Listen to the President -- he's your leader
Reporter Claire Cain Miller recalled Pres. Obama’s wish, expressed during the State of the Union Address, that Internet service that is fast enough to be useful and affordable enough to be used be extended to every American city. Right now, lack of competition among the big providers means that most Americans have both slower and more expensive Internet service than people in many other countrie...]]>
On the roads again? On the roads again?
 In “Topping off the tank” in 2012, I noted about the federal gas tax that it had not been adjusted for inflation since 1993, Merely raising the federal gas tax enough to restor...]]>
New Beijings New Beijings
 In my 2012 column “New Beijings,” I speculated more than half seriously on a possible cure for the depopulation of the Illinois countryside. I proposed to add a few New Beijings to our Ne...]]>
Other views of Lee Sandlin Other views of Lee Sandlin
 On January 9. Bob Goldsborough of the Chcago Tribune published a fine obituary of Lee Sandlin, the man I described in "A poet of Fact" as "arguably . . . Illinois’ best writer." In on...]]>
A town by any other name . . . A town by any other name . . .
 You might recall that in a February 2014 column I argued with myself about whether “Springfieldian” or “Springfielder” is the more appropriate term for residents of the state capital.&...]]>
Waiting for wisdom Waiting for wisdom
 Faithful readers of this paper will recall that Jackson Street between 2nd  and 8th streets has been talked about in recent months as a pedestrianized link between the statehouse complex...]]>
Naming right Naming right
Further thoughts on the naming, renaming and misnaming of public buildings that I addressed in "Official graffiti": The original wing of what is now regrettably known to most Illinoisans as the Mi...]]>
Learning to share Learning to share
 In “Why did the pedestrian not cross the road?” I noted that downtown promoters and merchants have become concerned about the risks to workers, shoppers and tourists downtown posed by car...]]>
Listening about torture Listening about torture
Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo fetched a bit of tape from the memory hole. Holding copies of FBI emails about torture that the ACLU obtained through FOIA requests last fall, Sen. Dick Durbin said, ...]]>
A little knowledge . . . No. 5 in a series A little knowledge . . . No. 5 in a series
The invaluable Diane Coyle at The Enlightened Economist recently brought to our attention The Diminishing Returns of the Information Age by Mark Roeder, an essay gathered in a collection about&...]]>