In defense of the defenders

WASHINGTON — What is called "the" 1964 Civil Rights Act is justly celebrated for outlawing racial and other discrimination in employment, "public accommodations" and elsewhere. But that year's second civil rights act, the Criminal Justice Act, which is 50 years old this month, is, some say, largely a failure because of unanticipated changes in the legal and social context. Is it?

Jim Dey: Self-pity and moral posturing over Salaita

There's a reason people engage in moral posturing and wallow in self-pity — it's just so much darn fun.

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Fed up with cupcake cops

WASHINGTON — In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields.

Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything, from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans' comprehensive withdrawal of confidence from government at all levels and all areas of activity.

Jim Dey: Rauner's taxes? Devil's in details

Quinn camp claims GOP hopeful isn't disclosing enough

To hear Gov. Pat Quinn tell it, his Republican opponent in the fall election is a really rich man — rich, rich and more rich.

Dan Corkery: Get that trash off the lawn

Some people think I live in a student neighborhood.

I say, they live in mine.

Most of the year, our student neighbors — while in close proximity — might as well be living in another town. They come and go, focused on themselves, their friends and their studies. College is a temporary home. I accept that.

John Foreman: Dyess was a hero in our midst

WWII fighter pilot used Champaign home as refuge for a short time

With today's paper, readers receive their annual copy of our Answer Book, generally the most eagerly awaited publication we produce each year.

And this is a good one — largely written and photographed by a considerable array of our readers themselves. You'll like it.

STEM study doesn't miss the mark

CHICAGO — Every once in a while, research quantifies the effects of certain education policies on students. Then, the results are often shelved in favor of the prevailing "common sense." As in: If you want more scientists, mandate more science courses in school.

Jim Dey: UI, prof remain tight-lipped as fight rages on

The University of Illinois prides itself on its transparency, except of course when it doesn't.

So while the hiring/non-hiring fight over a controversial professor continues to rage in some quarters, it's hush-hush deep within the UI bureaucracy. When even a "no comment" is hard to come by, speculation fills the void, and there's plenty regarding Steven Salaita and the UI.

In a stew over inversions

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama, presiding over an unusually dismal post-recession economy, might make matters worse with a distracting crusade against the minor and sensible business practice called "inversion," more about which anon. So, consider his credentials as an economic thinker.

Jim Dey: Nelson caught in debate's crossfire

Prof takes heat for stand on nonhiring

As he crossed Washington, D.C., in a cab to his next appointment, Cary Nelson was remarkably circumspect about being caught in the crossfire of an academic food fight that he didn't start.