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Gov. Rod Blagojevich's re-election campaign advisers undoubtedly want him to cut into the perceived strength of his November general election opponent, Republican Judy Baar Topinka. And they're doing all they can to boost his appeal to women voters, a group that is expected to swing to Topinka.
But the governor's latest scheme – to put his name on the wall at each of the state's 2,700 pharmacies – goes way over the line.
U.S. Rep. Lane Evans fought off the effects of Parkinson's disease for more than a decade, but even a relatively young ex-Marine could only battle the affliction, not conquer it.
Evans, a 12-term Democrat from Rock Island, announced Tuesday that he would not be a candidate for re-election this fall in the 17th Congressional District, even though he had run unopposed in last week's primary election. Evans made the right call.
One might be tempted to question the selection of Robert Exley as president of Parkland College because he's just another white male college administrator – and one from western Iowa, no less.
But the 51-year-old Exley has a rich and diverse background, and that makes him a nice fit for Parkland, with its mix of young and middle-aged people from the farms and small towns of East Central Illinois, suburban areas such as Mahomet, St. Joseph, Philo and Tolono, and the growing minority populations (black, Hispanic and Asian) found in Champaign-Urbana.
At a time when support for the war in Iraq is dwindling in the United States – and even 75 percent of U.S. troops in Iraq supposedly believe the U.S. should pull out of the country within the year, according to a Zogby poll – President Bush still has a loyal, dependable, stalwart ally in British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
We hope the entire world – including the American people and Bush's critics in Congress – heard Blair's stirring comments Monday before the two houses of the Australian Parliament.
A week ago, East Central Illinois' interest in the NCAA basketball tournament was waning. Not only had the Illini been eliminated, but so had every other Big Ten team. The only school from our region remaining was the Bradley Braves of Peoria. And soon they were knocked out as well.
But the most remarkable thing occurred this weekend when George Mason University – a small public school in Fairfax, Va. – somehow beat Wichita State and Connecticut and advanced to college basketball's coveted Final Four. It's a place where so-called "mid-majors" never go, or at least haven't gone for more than 25 years.
Any large organization – FEMA, the University of Illinois, General Motors – is going to have its share of organizational problems. And when a crisis strikes, the chance for errors, omissions and mismanagement increases even more. But such mishaps have become habitual at the American Red Cross, whether it's responding to the 9/11 disaster or Hurricane Katrina, managing blood donation centers or keeping its finances in order. The Red Cross is a mess and it needs to be overhauled.
Most recently, it was charges of improprieties, possibly criminal, in the way the organization distributed relief supplies in New Orleans following last summer's hurricane. Two key supervisors were dismissed by the Red Cross last week after it was disclosed that supplies had been improperly diverted.
Few people have any illusions about the character of baseball slugger Barry Bonds, whose steroid-induced home run records now are the source of so much embarrassment for Major League Baseball.
But in case there are any people still out there laboring under the illusion that Bonds has any capacity for shame or embarrassment his latest stunt should rectify that situation.
It might not be a common occurrence but a recent incident at Champaign Centennial High School points out the kind of problems that school officials – and students – face in public schools.
Some of the problems are the result of stupid decisions not only by students but by adults.
John Lee Johnson was born and raised in Champaign and never left town, but he sure didn't have a privileged pedigree. He had no more than a high school education. When you saw him around town – and he was ubiquitous – he was inevitably walking. He didn't even have a profession, aside from the vague, ever-evolving title of "black activist" or "community organizer" or "community leader."
But through sheer brashness and audacity, a simple eloquence, and more than anything a genuine concern for Champaign-Urbana, Johnson was for decades the principle spokesman for the black community in Champaign-Urbana.
Reports of the demise of the Illinois Republican Party have been greatly exaggerated. Despite the federal court trial of former Gov. George Ryan (a Republican), and a sometimes-ugly five-way primary race for governor this spring, a lot of Illinoisans still consider themselves Republicans and voted in Tuesday's Republican Party primary.
In Champaign County, there were almost exactly twice as many Republican primary voters as Democratic primary voters – 14,293 to 7,161. In Vermilion County, there were 4,324 votes in the Republican race for governor to 2,422 in the Democratic race. Republicans also outnumbered Democrats in Peoria, Sangamon, McLean, Macon, Winnebago, Kane, DuPage, Will, Lake and McHenry counties. The fastest-growing Illinois county – Kendall – had 3,147 Democratic ballots cast in the governor's race on Tuesday, but 13,112 in the Republican race.