Sundiata Cha-Jua/Real Talk: Rachel Dolezal, Ben Carson and racial draft

While walking on the Quad one day in the fall of 2001, I bumped into a graduate student who was wearing a faded multicolored dashiki and sporting reddish blonde dreadlocks. Noticing my quizzical look, he explained that he was white but "aesthetically black." Now by this confusing concept he meant to convey that he had consciously adopted African-American culture.

John Reed: Change is in our DNA at News-Gazette Media


I like numbers. Perhaps that's a testament to the education in finance and accounting I received at our local institution of higher learning nearly three decades ago. Or maybe it's that numbers have proven over the years to be a useful way to help me tell a story.

Scott Reeder: With death penalty, justice must be balanced with mercy

SPRINGFIELD — "These are halls of justice — not mercy," the prosecutor bellowed before the jury as I wiggled uncomfortably in the back of the courtroom, notebook in hand.

I was fresh out of college and covering courts in Texas when I first wrestled with the notion of justice vs. mercy.

Dan Corkery: World War I's echoes 100 years later

Not long after President Donald Trump ordered two U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea last week to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base, some members of Congress and Washington commentators questioned whether the commander in chief had the authority to attack a sovereign nation.

George Will: Experience America at the time of Great War

"War is the health of the state. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense." — Randolph Bourne (1886-1918)

Jim Dey: The mole who dogged Schock

The mole was digging deep, and the feds wanted to know what he had found.

"Do you have the receipt or copy of the receipt Aaron's attorney left when he returned documents to the office?'" federal postal inspector Shari Rowe asked in a March 2015 text.

"Yes. There were lots of them for individual boxes," the mole replied.

Sundiata Cha-Jua/Real Talk: MSNBC's Hayes on internal colonialism

MSNBC Emmy Award-winning news anchor Chris Hayes' new book, "A Colony in a Nation," offers what many readers will find a challenging and maybe frightening argument. Hayes resurrects the core interpretation of black power, that African-Americans are a domestic colony inside the U.S. nation-state.

Dan Corkery: Looking back on 500 years of divided Christianity

Five hundred years ago, a confident Martin Luther stood outside the church in Wittenberg, Germany, on All Saints Eve.

Only years earlier, he was a man in turmoil.

An Augustinian monk and priest, Luther was pious in his prayers and practices, yet felt unworthy before God.

While a theology professor, his thoughts began to coalesce.

George Will: Baseball numbers aren't difficult, but this quiz might be

Sportswriter: "You hit only two home runs all last year and already you've hit seven this year [1969]. What's the difference?"

Reds outfielder Alex Johnson: "Five."

Jim Dey: No mayoral 'boogeyman' behind Danville's pension woes

Danville has a big problem.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer contends it's the high cost of the city's police and firefighter pensions that are underfunded by $106 million — $55 million-plus for the firefighters and $50 million-plus for the police.

Pat Devaney, a Champaign firefighter and the head of the state firefighters association, disagrees. He argues Danville's problem is the mayor.