What will be new this year?

We all could stand some self-improvement.

In reality, today is just another day — one of the 365 that make up a year. But most people don't see New Year's Day that way. Perhaps that's why Jan. 1 is described as the world's most celebrated holiday.

Pay hike, revenue bust

Illinois taxpayers will enjoy a bigger paycheck in the coming year, but that's a mixed blessing.

The start of the new year creates a classic good news/bad news scenario for the people of Illinois.

Meet-and-greets best way to go

The public will get its chance to take the measure of the candidates vying for appointment to the local state Senate seat.

Box office bonanza

"The Interview" makes its debut.

Well, so much for the notion that threats of violence would caused cancellation of the release of "The Interview," Sony's comedy that pokes fun at North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Read it and weep

Too many elected officials regard taxpayers as sheep to be sheared.

Being active in politics — especially at the highest levels of government — requires a certain amount of shamelessness on the part of its practitioners, sometimes to the point of being shameful.

Don't let emotion cloud judgment

Because both police and their critics make valid points, people must not be blind to the individual facts of confrontations.

A St. Louis area police officer last week shot and killed a young black man. Video of the incident showed the teen pointing a gun at the officer.

Economy on the rebound

After years of recession and imperceptible recovery, there are hopeful signs that the U.S. economy is poised for much-improved growth.

Maybe it's from lower gas prices or continued low interest rates. Maybe consumers are becoming more confident about job security and growth. Or maybe it's the inevitable upswing after so many years of dim economic news.

Yes, Virginia

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

Sony took hit for all of us

North Korea's cyberattack on a movie company establishes a template for future high-tech assaults on sensitive targets.

Sony Pictures has endured much criticism since it announced last week, in response to threats of violence from North Korea, cancellation of the release of "The Interview," a satiric movie about that country's despotic leader.

A new chapter on Cuba

Cuba, the tiny island nation that's been called the world's largest prison, was a foreign policy hot spot before it sank into diplomatic oblivion when the Cold War ended more than 20 years ago.