With the nation facing considerable uncertainty about the outcome of the current military struggle in Iraq, it's no surprise that Americans feel a certain unease.
Last year the state Office of Executive Inspector General received 1,278 complaints about state employees, ranging from accusations of unethical behavior and discrimination to theft and violence in the workplace. The office completed 424 investigations, finding 64 to have some merit. Some of the complaints were forwarded to other inspectors general (each of the state's five constitutional officers has one) and others were referred to other agencies, including the U.S. attorney's office.
At least 13 state employees were fired, have resigned or are in the process of being discharged because of the allegations made to the inspector general's office.
Diplomats are hailing a six-nation agreement that calls for North Korea to disable its nuclear facilities and allow nuclear inspectors into the country in exchange for a $400-million aid package.
But there is considerably less to this agreement than one might have hoped. Indeed, examination of the fine print suggests that North Korea isn't giving up much at all.
For most of East Central Illinois, it's as if Tuesday never existed. Many of us couldn't work, couldn't go to school, couldn't make our appointments, couldn't drive to the store and could barely go outside to shovel the sidewalk before it was again covered in snow. It was a good day to stay indoors and surrender to Mother Nature.
There are some interesting numbers in the latest report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. The bottom line is that the state's revenue numbers are very healthy, and that Illinois doesn't look like a state with financial troubles.
Those were impressive receptions that Illinois gave Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over the weekend (Saturday at the Old State Capitol in Springfield and Sunday at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion) but don't be misled into believing that the young U.S. senator has the nomination wrapped up. The road to the White House is littered with the bodies of candidates who started with rousing campaign christenings that went bust.
Many were from Illinois. Most recently there was former U.S. Sen. Carole Moseley-Braun in 2004. She was in the race for almost a year but dropped out four days before the Iowa primary. In 1988, the late Sen. Paul Simon won the Illinois primary but fizzled out after that. In 1984, the Rev. Jesse Jackson won three Southern state primaries but ultimately lost the Democratic nomination to Walter Mondale.
Despite criticism from his own daughters, Champaign County Presiding Judge Thomas Difanis is sticking to his decision to ban cell phones from the courthouse.
It seems these incredible gadgets have become so sophisticated that judges are concerned that they will be used to surreptitiously record court proceedings in violation of statewide rules that ban cameras from courtrooms in Illinois.
Presidents have unfettered power to hire and fire executive-branch appointees, for no reason or any reason. But people might not realize that after listening to members of the U.S. Senate complain about a decision by the Bush administration to dismiss a handful of its appointed U.S. attorneys throughout the country.
President Bush's fiscal 2008 budget presents an interesting dilemma for Democrats in Congress and those who are running state governments.
The budget includes more federal funds to states for health care coverage for children – but not as much as the states want. Bush has proposed sending about $5 billion more to the states over the next five years, while the states say they'll need $13 billion to $16 billion just to continue covering the same number of families. Among the states with complaints is Illinois, where officials say they'll come up $16 million short under the Bush budget, an amount that would require dropping health care coverage for about 13,000 children.
Long ago, the last time you took a driver's test or got your driver's license renewed at the Illinois secretary of state's office, you may have registered to become an organ or tissue donor.
What you may not know is that you need to reregister. Otherwise family members could still overrule your written desire to be an organ or tissue donor.