Jim Dey: Redeveloping Urbana hotel is hard-hitting business

At 5 feet 7 inches tall with a slight build, 52-year-old Xiao Jin "X.J." Yuan doesn't look like a political football.

But one couldn't tell that from the recent Democratic Party primary election in Urbana in which rival candidates kicked around the wisdom of the city's role in helping Yuan renovate the old Urbana Lincoln Hotel at Lincoln Square.

If you think it's bad now, it was worse way back when

WASHINGTON — "When I first met Richard Nixon," Robert Bork says in the book he completed a few weeks before his death in December, "I could see in his expression the conviction that someone had blundered badly."

Quinn lays it on line — again

Gov. Pat Quinn made strong points but few friends when he outlined the bad news in his annual budget address.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivered his annual budget address Wednesday before a not-particularly-friendly audience at the Capitol in Springfield.

Saving us from ourselves

There are some problems for which there is no legislative solution.

If all the legislation that was passed to cure what ails us actually worked, there would hardly be any problems left.

Political pioneer

The late Dawn Clark Netsch epitomized the image of a serious-minded politician who seeks office for more than personal aggrandizement.

Dawn Clark Netsch's name hasn't been in the headlines for years.

But people are hearing it again this week because the former state senator, state comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor in 1994 died at age 86.

More Medicaid costs a problem

"Free" money can be awfully expensive, as in the case of the expansion of Medicaid.

The fallout from last year's decision affirming the constitutionality of Obamacare is spreading across the country, last week landing in the Illinois Senate.

Prussing on track for re-election

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing showed last week that she is the voters' choice, even if there weren't many voters.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing is on the brink of her election to a third term following her victory in last week's Democratic Party primary.

The odd couple

Politics really does make for strange bedfellows.

Could North Korea, the despotic regime built on the cult of personality, become any weirder?

The answer is a definite yes after a visit to the Hermit Kingdom by the Worm, the nickname given to former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman.

Pouring some cold water on public school meal choices

CHICAGO — It's not that I don't welcome good news, but here's a caveat to go along with recent reports that children in the U.S. are consuming fewer calories: All calories are not created equal.

A recent analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2010, boys daily consumed 7 percent fewer calories (2,100) and girls 4 percent less (1,755).

Threats to privacy should be a cause for concern