IllinoisTimes - Second Thoughts Sun, 13 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0400 en hourly 1 We are the East germans We are the East germans
 I am taking a break from regular column-writing, but I might from time to time alert readers to columns of the sort I might have written or wished I could write on topics of moment.I ran across...]]>
Mencken sees the future Mencken sees the future
For no particular reason, and for every reason in the world, I thought I'd share with you something H. L. Mencken wrote almost a century that could have been--should have been -- written yesterday.As...]]>
The Hay house The Hay house
 I'm working on a column about the life of Springfield attorney and public citizen Logan Hay.Most of today’s Springfieldians who have heard of Logan Hay know him because his name was attached ...]]>
City of the dead City of the dead
I'm writing about cemeteries this week.My focus is Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery, world-famous for being the final (one hopes) resting place of Lincoln and his family. But anyone who's driven in...]]>
Amazon deals Amazon deals
 In “How high can you go?” (Nov. 16, 2017) I looked at the various proposals to lure Amazon’s proposed second national headquarters to Chicago.           ...]]>
Shooting for the stars Shooting for the stars
 In “Stellar! Stellar!”—a column lumbered with my lamest title ever—I explored the new fund drive to help build the University of Illinois’ Springfield campus. For space reasons I wa...]]>
New developments New developments
 In Business as usual” (Nov. 9, 2017) I looked at, por rather down on, the new economic development initiative known as the Sangamon County Project. There is more to be said. The focus of ...]]>
Bearing the burden of normality Bearing the burden of normality
In the Fall 2017 number of The Hedgehog Review, devoted to critical reflections on contemporary culture, Paul Christman explores life in " a no-place that is also everyplace and anyplace."...]]>
Columbus in Illinois Columbus in Illinois
I addressed the problem of Columbus Day in “What Columbus Day means to us.” I decided write the column after rejecting performing some symbolic act by which I might commemorate Christopher Colum...]]>
Neibuhr speaks to our present from the past Neibuhr speaks to our present from the past
This was brought to my attention by the editors of the London Review of Books. It concerns something written by the influential mid-century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who as every mid-Illinoisan s...]]>
Lincoln wins again Lincoln wins again
 Abraham LIncoln has long engaged our historians and public intellectuals. Of late he has stimulated our artists as well. The winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Britain's most...]]>
Robert P. Howard on tape Robert P. Howard on tape
 In "Gathering nuts," I tried to pay tribute to that a string of Springfield men who played a surprising large role in the acceptance of oral history as a means of research into the past, ...]]>
Parking over time Parking over time
Allow me to return briefly to the topic of metered street parking that I took up in September in "Parking smartly." A lot of people say to me, “We should have free parking, like Decatur.” ...]]>
Higher ed bargains Higher ed bargains
On my recent visit to the main campus of the University of Illinois, in Urbana-Champaign, the presence of Chinese, Korean and Indian students was marked. The university’s recruiting of the Asian...]]>
More, please More, please
 I am among those many Americans who believe that this country needs more immigrants, not less. (See this column and this column and this column.) I recommend to you therefore a stimulating ...]]>
The Downstate returns have started to come in The Downstate returns have started to come in
The wheels of our nation's book review machinery turn very slowly, and only now has the first proper review of my new book, Corn Kings and One-Horse Thieves, been published.It was worth the wait. &nb...]]>
Dumb mistake about smartphone parking Dumb mistake about smartphone parking
 Reader John Paul of Prairie Archives points out that my account of smart phone parking apps in “Parking smartly” (Sept. 14, 2017)  was misleading. Downtown street parking spaces a...]]>
How others see us How others see us
 In "New Beijings" (June 7, 2012) I mentioned in passing the astonishing popularity of the University of Illinois's Urbana campus with students from mainland China.From the excellent long piec...]]>
Corn Kings on Kindle; The Urbanologist interview Corn Kings on Kindle; The Urbanologist interview
 Readers who prefer to do their reading of history on e-devices should know that my book from SIU Press, Corn Kings and One-Horse Thieves, is now available in a Kindle edition.Also, a nice thing ...]]>
Woodn't it be nice Woodn't it be nice
 It might seem perverse to be concerned about how to construct new buildings when the Republic is falling down around our ears, but the world moves on, even if millions of Americans refuse to m...]]>
More on statues limitations More on statues limitations
 In a recent blog post about the recent agitations about Confederate statues, I cited disapprovingly the opinion of economist and gadlfly Tyler Cowen. Cowen offered a fuller explication of h...]]>
Iconoclasm 101 Iconoclasm 101
 About those Confederate statues, which I write about in my new column: Tyler Cowen, a critic of some influence these days, praised Baltimore’s mayor who decided to remove that city’s conf...]]>
A rural future from the past? A rural future from the past?
I have been observing the population decline in Illinois' rural parts for decades now. (See “Devoid of life” from July 14, 2011.) In the current issue of Illinois Issues magazine,&...]]>
The company he keeps The company he keeps
Kevin Drum today lists the CEOs who have quit Trump’s manufacturing council in disgust over his thinly-disguised support for the Charlotteville neo-Nazis. Ten have left so far; still on the council ...]]>
A book a-borning? A book a-borning?
 In my recent column about the need for a proper environmental history of Illinois, “Oh, for a Thucydides of the prairie,” I noted that several excellent recent works, while not environmen...]]>
Wobbly stool Wobbly stool
Anyone who cares about Springfield should read Bruce Rushton’s recent dispatch on the parlous economic prospects for the capital city. (See “Sobering statistics”July 27, 2017.) Basically, of...]]>
Unholy matrimony Unholy matrimony
A few afterthoughts occasioned by my column "On not doing wrong." To the unbeliever, the particular opprobrium with which Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki regards gay marriage is pu...]]>
Into the woods Into the woods
In "Underground movements" I discussed some novels new solutions to the very old problem of how to dispose of human remains.The same question has been vexing New York Times commentator Ric...]]>
The world out-imagines Orwell The world out-imagines Orwell
The English novelist Christopher Fowler ruminates to good effect in this blog post about George Orwell's novel, 1984.Orwell could never have predicted Trump. The fall of real authority came with the ...]]>
Making do without Making do without
Some further thoughts that I couldn't squeeze into this week's column on higher education.It is amazing how many of the men and women now honored as great Illinoisans managed to become so without b...]]>