Canada in vanguard of assault on speech

Free speech, as Americans know it, is a rare concept in the rest of the world.

The New York Times last week reported that many supposedly democratic countries, including Canada, have grown increasingly hostile to the concept of free speech. The newspaper quoted a U.S. legal philosopher's support for a similar approach here.

Jon White case: How could this happen?

Jon White could have been stopped much earlier.

There were at least seven warning points at which a school employee in either Urbana or McLean County could have justified a call to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

No one did.

Empty Lincoln Hall symbolizes government malfunction

Thanks to an inept state government, one of the largest classroom buildings on the University of Illinois campus will be empty this fall and without the money to undertake long-needed improvements.

University of Illinois officials, after waiting more than five years for a commitment to undertake the long-debated improvements to 95-year-old Lincoln Hall, bet that this would be the year the governor and Legislature finally would reach an agreement.

The Addison Street miracle

The physical condition of Wrigley Field sure has improved in the last few months.

There certainly has been a lot of good news out of Wrigley Field lately. The first-place Cubs are 29-8 in their North Side home and have won 11 consecutive games there.

Q&A: Mandated reporting

A few questions about what is mandated by law to be reported:

Taxing oil industry won't lower prices

No issue apparently is too serious to turn into a political football.

Illinois' Richard Durbin, perhaps the U.S. Senate's leading demagogue, was up to his old tricks this week, denouncing the oil companies for the high cost of gasoline and proposing increased taxes on Big Oil as a solution to this country's energy woes.

Council compromises on cell phone ban

Urbana has marched boldly forward with a plan to increase public safety by regulating cell phone use.

The Urbana City Council earlier this week formally expressed its disapproval of driving while talking on a cell phone, but stopped short of an outright ban.

Thrifty to a point

Illinois' government has no money to mow roadsides three times this summer, but there's plenty for pay raises for legislators and others.

The problems in state government are no surprise to anyone, particularly those who regularly read this page.

Madigan's roadside bomb

If Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan believes there is a valid reason to hold impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, why doesn't he call for them?

The notion of discussing the impeachment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich didn't seem like such a bad idea until the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois – Blagojevich's own party – drew up a 14-page memo in support of it.

Indiana Badlands Off-Road Park draws all-terrain enthusiasts

With the kids safely strapped in, Ray Clark points his Jeep Cherokee straight toward a muddy pond.

Son Raymond, sitting in the back seat next to his sister, Jessica, couldn't be happier to have the murky brown water nearly reaching the rocker panels – he loves "gettin' dirty."