All Opinions Content

All Opinions Content

Ryan's co-defendant got undeserved break

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the star of the show at last week's sentencing hearing before U.S Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. But Ryan had company in the dock, his longtime friend Lawrence Warner.

Local rail users must support addtions to Amtrak service

Just in time to offer some relief from high gasoline prices (although not nearly as high as they were a month ago), Amtrak and the state of Illinois soon will offer a third daily train between here and Chicago.

For a community that once had dozens of passenger trains traveling in all directions and even as recently as 1986 had three Amtrak trains daily, this is hardly progress. But it is an improvement, and it does appear to be warranted.

Where's community leadership to fix health care dispute?

The ongoing dispute between Christie Clinic and Provena Covenant Medical Center has escalated to the point where Christie says it will build a $5 million outpatient surgery center no matter what the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which is supposed to govern such project, says.

"We're building it, with or without a Certificate of Need," Christie's Chief Financial Officer Jeff James told The News-Gazette's Debra Pressey.

China flights would benefit area

Four U.S. airlines are asking the federal Transportation Department for authority to offer additional flights to China, beginning in 2007. The proposals with the biggest benefit to Champaign-Urbana and the rest of central Illinois are the ones from American and Northwest airlines.

American proposes to offer one flight daily from its Dallas-Fort Worth hub to Beijing. Under that arrangement travelers from central Illinois would be able to take American's daily nonstop flight from the University of Illinois-Willard Airport to Dallas and conveniently transfer to American's Beijing flight.

Governor is in a giving mood <> and it's only September

Need money? Forget about going to the bank, the credit union or the pawnshop. Just call Rod, as in Gov. Rod Blagojevich. It's election time and the governor is in a giving mood.

In early August, Blagojevich added $1 million to the $3 million the state already had granted the city of Marion to help pay for infrastructure improvements for a minor-league baseball stadium. One factor in the governor's generosity may have been that the team will play in a stadium owned by the wife of John Simmons, a big Blagojevich campaign donor.

Huge oil field welcome news

Oil experts rushed forward to say it's no panacea, but the discovery of huge oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico by a consortium of oil companies certainly is welcome news.

The extent of the oil field, located more than 200 miles southwest of New Orleans and discovered under 6,000 feet of water and several miles of rock, remains to be determined. But oil industry experts say it could boost the nation's oil reserves by 50 percent and may be the equal of Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in the United States.

Judicial nominees deserve vote

Not much has been heard about the fight over judicial nominations since the U.S. Senate approved Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito by lopsided votes.

But that doesn't mean that President Bush and members of the Senate have resolved their differences.

Unsavory tactics despoil our elections

Most people aren't paying much attention to the political battle under way to keep third-party candidate Joe Parnarauskis off the ballot in the race for the Illinois Senate seat from the 52nd district.

Lucky for them. It's sickening.

On the horizon, grain elevators might have company

Ask anyone from outside central Illinois to describe the region in one word and they're likely to say "flat." That it is, although it's not as flat as even some old-timers might think.

In fact, some parts of central Illinois – although not Champaign County, unfortunately – aren't flat at all. There are parts of neighboring McLean County where there's enough topography to create what the federal Energy Department classifies as "good" conditions for wind power. There are parts of eastern McLean and northwestern McLean County where the Bloomington Moraine is high enough, and the nearby dips are low enough, to create a nice stream of air to turn the blades on hundreds of wind turbines.

Plame blame game is tragedy and farce

It was only a few months ago that Washington was rife with rumors about pending indictments in connection with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's probe into who leaked the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame to the media.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, eventually was charged with perjury, but not for disclosing Plame's name. He allegedly lied to a grand jury. No one was charged with leaking Plame's name because that's not a crime. She did not meet the statutory criteria of a covert agent.