Jim Dey | More pension debt? Surely legislators jest!

Call them cliches or give them the kinder characterization of aphorisms.

Pithy sayings always have their place because, in a handful of words, they send a clear message.

Here's one: The first rule of holes is that when you're in one, quit digging.

Most people can figure out the meaning — don't make a bad problem worse.

Jim Dey | When national economy stops humming, Illinois is in trouble

Laissez le bon temps rouler.

You can say that again — "let the good times roll." Because when the national economy stops humming like a top — as it eventually must — Illinois' dire financial status will — hard as it is to imagine — get even worse.

That's the conclusion of a recent Moody's Investors Service report on the financial status of the 50 states.

Jim Dey | House Democrats just going through motions on tax plan

Television advertisements running across Illinois foreshadow a war over the income tax that has not yet been formally declared.

Pro-progressive-income-tax Think Big Illinois and anti-progressive-income-tax Ideas Illinois are throwing roundhouse punches over a proposed state constitutional amendment expected to be on the November 2020 ballot.

Jim Dey | Is investigation of 1966 murder dead? Maybe, maybe not

One of the most high-profile murder cases in the history of Illinois remains unsolved and appears unlikely ever to be solved.

So can law-enforcement officials credibly claim their investigation into the 1966 bludgeoning death of 21-year-old Valerie Percy, the daughter of then-U.S. Senate candidate Charles Percy, is "active and ongoing"?

Jim Dey | At DCFS, challenges terrible, choices worse

Two weeks after sustaining withering criticism in an investigative report prepared by the state's auditor general, the state's Department of Children and Family Services was hit again last week by another negative assessment of how it does its job.

Real Talk | The white Midwest and 'electability' arguments are false

Addressing the NAACP convention in Detroit, Democratic presidential candidate Kalama Harris challenged the false narrative of the Midwest as a white region.

Harris rightly claimed the pundits' notion of "electability" reflects their misconception of the region, the type of candidate who can appeal to Midwestern voters and it privileges white male candidates.

Jim Dey | Appeals court upholds teacher's firing for using sick days for vacation

When Dorothy Crawley, a tenured Chicago elementary school teacher, felt like taking a vacation, she didn't let her job get in the way.

So on three occasions in 2015, she called in sick and hit the road. Crawley took a "pre-planned" Caribbean cruise and another trip to Norway. Her Facebook posts documented her travels.

Jim Dey | It's possible to run afoul of ethics rules even in Illinois

The idea of government ethics in Illinois may strike many people as oxymoronic. But even here in the Land That's Now an Embarrassment to Lincoln, our elected officials pay tribute to the idea of not dealing from the bottom of the deck.

Jim Dey | Bathroom-video battle moving forward as civil case

Back in January 2018, University of Illinois journalism Professor Jay Rosenstein escaped a criminal court appearance after the state's attorney's office declined to charge him following a video-recording incident involving Chief Illiniwek supporters in a State Farm Center bathroom.

Jim Dey | Promised tax cuts for poor, middle class mostly illusory

On primary election night in March 2018, Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker stood before cheering throngs and laid out a series of campaign pledges to his supporters.

Among them was the following:

"Let's institute a progressive income tax, so we can lower the tax burden on the middle class and those striving to get there."