Scott Reeder: There is a Santa Claus

SPRINGFIELD — Just call me the Santa reporter.

I've been a journalist for nearly 30 years and found myself writing about the jolly old elf several times.

And it's never pleasant.

I know. I know. I must sound like Ebenezer Scrooge.

But there are certain things that bring joy to others that bring nothing but aggravation to reporters.

Sundiata Cha-Jua/Real Talk: The Peoples Agenda and a black agenda

The direction of the Trump regime is now crystal clear. There is no doubt what his seizure of the presidency portends. The burning questions are, how do we survive and resist the transition to fascism?

Dan Corkery: All I want for Christmas is the real story

I don't envy Jack McElroy and Sam Venable.

They are, respectively, editor and columnist with the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel.

Last week, they co-authored a cringing confession.

George Will: Our excellent electoral-vote system

WASHINGTON — Political mildness is scarce nowadays, so it has been pleasantly surprising that post-election denunciations of the Electoral College have been tepid. This, even though the winner of the presidential election lost the popular vote by perhaps 2.8 million votes, more than five times the 537,179 votes by which Al Gore outpolled George W. Bush in 2000.

Jim Dey: Madigan still king, but his crown is tarnished

The S.S. Michael J. Madigan continues to plow through Illinois' stormy waters, warding off the political cannonballs fired its way as if they were spitballs.

But there are signs this aged, previously impregnable political vessel is taking on water, not nearly enough to sink it but enough that Madigan-watchers have noticed that what is now isn't quite what once was.

Jim Dey: Our leaders are turning bad into worse

It's always darkest — just before things get even worse.

That's supposed to be a joke, a foray into gallows humor that is a takeoff on those optimists who predict happy endings in the midst of thoroughgoing disaster.

George Will: Revisiting a 2016 Nobel laureate

WASHINGTON — There has been ferment among the literati since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Many say that however well Dylan does what he does, it is not literature. Dylan did not go to Stockholm on Saturday to collect his prize, which the Swedish Academy says was awarded "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Well, then:

David Bernthal/Off the Bench: Senior judges critical to courts' ecosystem

My chief goal in writing these columns is to inform readers regarding the systems and processes of both the state of Illinois and the United States courts. Most people have minimal direct contact with the courts. As a result, they may seem mysterious and confusing. The operation of the courts is funded by people who pay taxes.

Scott Reeder: Praise for Castro is unjustified

SPRINGFIELD — On the afternoon that Fidel Castro's ashes were buried in Cuba, I picked up the phone and called the Illinoisan who may have known him the best — former Gov. George Ryan.

Sixteen years ago, Ryan, along with his wife, Lura Lynn, led a humanitarian trip to the island nation just 90 miles off Florida's shore. I was one of the reporters who covered the trip.

Sundiata Cha-Jua/Real Talk: Racial double standards remain prevalent

Racism as a form of oppression is rooted in double standards. A popular African-American proverb maintains, "You have to be twice as good to get half as far."

This African-American aphorism was boldly brought to mainstream public attention in an episode of "Scandal," Shonda Rhimes' popular television soap opera entitled, "It's Handled."