Jim Dey: Cases reveal slipshod state oversight on grant money

It's getting so people can't tell the state grant scandals without a scorecard.

While federal investigators appear — with emphasis on the word "appear" — to be in the final stages of prosecuting co-conspirators in the theft of $13 million in taxpayer dollars, they're just getting started on another investigation involving the disappearance of an additional $55 million.

Jim Dey: Salaita fight generating wild theories

In a 1963 lecture that was later turned into a Harper's Magazine article and then a book, the prominent historian Richard Hofstadter first addressed what he called "The Paranoid Style in American Politics."

Cashing in on voting

WASHINGTON — The pursuit of perfection is usually foredoomed, but the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which has a latitudinarian understanding of ethical behavior, has a perfectly awful idea. It is urging the City Council to consider ways of paying — starchier ethicists might call it bribing — people to vote.

In-state students opt away from UI, but Chinese students eager to enroll

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is one of the world's great graduate research centers. The 2013 world rankings compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China's most prestigious, placed UIUC at 25th best in the world, ahead of elite U.S. institutions such as Duke, Northwestern and the Ivy League's Brown.

Admirals and generals at war over fat

CHICAGO — Four years after a group of more than 450 retired military leaders released a report called "Too Fat to Fight," chronicling the expanding waistlines of our armed forces, the admirals, generals and others are waging this war anew. Their group, called "Mission: Readiness," is back with a new report warning that "Retreat is Not An Option."

Obama needs Congress' OK for war

WASHINGTON — The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Today's issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek congressional authorization for the protracted use of force against the Islamic State.

Dan Corkery: Dyslexia discussion on tap; paving the way in Urbana

Dyslexia — the difficulty that many people have decoding the written word — is often misunderstood.

Last month, I recommended a few resources for those who are trying to understand what's interfering with the education of their children, their grandchildren or even themselves.

Scotland the next ethnic nation?

WASHINGTON — Tucking into a dish of Scottish haggis is not a task for the fainthearted. There are various haggis recipes, but basically it is sheep's pluck — the heart, lungs and liver — cooked together, then mixed with suet and oatmeal and boiled in a sheep's stomach, then served, sometimes drenched with Scotch. People who pour whisky on oatmeal are not shrinking violets.

Jim Dey: Mystery man was homeless when he was murdered near a railroad track

Lonnie D. Scheel lived in the shadows and was killed by the railroad tracks.

Few people noticed, and even fewer cared.

That's the way it is with street people. Almost invisible, they stagger through life — panhandling, drinking and hanging out in soup kitchens and public parks. If they don't make a scene, they don't make an impression.

The rising power of NFL's female fan base

CHICAGO — What do pedicures and sparkly flip-flops have to do with Ray Rice's unceremonious ouster from football?


Most observers credit the latest leaked video of Rice punching out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer for his new punishment. But this theory misses the rising power of the NFL's increasingly female — and super hard-core — fan base.