For July, kids should be kids

CHICAGO — We're deep into my family's unprecedented "Summer of Lethargy.''

Jim Dey: Cullerton optimistic, but sees challenges

Arguing that Illinois is in better shape than some might think, Senate President John Cullerton paid a visit to Champaign-Urbana Wednesday, touting what he calls positive changes and predicting progress will continue.

"I'm more optimistic," he said. "I look at (the glass) as half full," not half empty.

Divisive opinions veiled in unanimity

WASHINGTON — Even when Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, the justices can be fiercely divided about fundamental matters, as was demonstrated by two 9-0 rulings last week. One overturned a Massachusetts law restricting speech near abortion clinics. The other invalidated recess appointments that President Barack Obama made when the Senate said it was not in recess.

Jim Dey: Citizen initiatives swim against the tide in Illinois

Hundreds of people worked thousands of hours and spent millions of dollars to collect signatures needed to put two state constitutional amendments on the fall ballot.

Then Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the all-powerful godfather of state politics, hired the right lawyer and — poof! — made most of it (soon to be all of it) disappear.

What's in a name? Government decides

WASHINGTON — Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo who successfully moved a federal agency to withdraw trademark protections from the Washington Redskins because it considers the team's name derogatory, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. She opposes this name; the Native Americans who picked and retain it evidently do not.

Dan Corkery: Readers weighed in, we listened

We've been doing a lot of listening the last week and a half — because you've had a lot to say.

Please bring back the weather maps and national temperatures.

The comic strips are harder to read now. Can't you put Dear Abby on another page?

Restore the stock market graphics on the daily Business page.

We got the message. And changes are in the offing.

Understanding the reparations difference

CHICAGO — In his 2004 book "The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America," author Nicolas C. Vaca shatters the myth of a Rainbow Coalition among minorities.

Jim Dey: IBHE director's exit seemed neat, but report details quite a mess

In October 2012, the Illinois Board of Higher Education issued a news release announcing that George Reid, the agency's executive director, "has decided to step down for personal reasons" in order to reduce "his personal time on the road and to increase his time with his family."

Mississippi votes its appetite, rejecting tea party

WASHINGTON — Chris McDaniel, 41, the flawed paladin of the tea party persuasion who in Mississippi's Republican Senate primary failed to wrest the nomination from the faltering hands of six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, 76, came into politics after a stint in talk radio.

Jim Dey: Library stink lingers

Tempers have cooled, but suspicions remain following last month's legislative/bureaucratic fight over the future of the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.