The stimulus bill that won't

If the point of the federal stimulus bill was to help the economy right now, why are its provisions aimed at having the greatest impact later this year and in 2010, when many economists believe recovery already will be under way?

The development of the economic stimulus bill, a $787 billion monster that taxpayers will be paying for for decades, was even uglier than watching the manufacture of sausage. What has been portrayed as a noble endeavor to reverse an economic crisis before it turns into a catastrophe, has become just another example of politics.

At Darwin's 200th, what made him controversial has evolved

Two men born on the same day, both controversial in their time: Abraham Lincoln is the patron saint of America, while Charles Darwin has become a figure perhaps even more controversial than he was 100 years ago.

Feb. 12 marked the 200th anniversaries of two very different and very differently perceived reinventors of history.

Studio in Sullivan to re-create Mardi Gras celebration

SULLIVAN – The Little Theatre On The Square and the Sullivan Area Arts Council will re-create a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration with a party starting at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the newly renovated Little Theatre Production Studio.

The studio is housed in the former Shasteen Motors Building, just north of the theater, across from Jibby's restaurant.

Modern-jazz quartet Astral Project to play Iron Post gig

As part of its Midwest tour, the New Orleans modern-jazz quartet Astral Project will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., U.

The cover charge will be $8.

Ban on text messaging while driving is reasonable

There are at least two bills in the Illinois Legislature this spring that would prohibit the operator of a motor vehicle from text messaging or checking e-mails on a cell phone. The proposed ban is a reasonable idea that might reduce a growing problem on roadways.

According to a recent Zogby Poll, two-thirds of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 admitted to text messaging while driving.

Ryan wins a legal Lotto

After years of losing in court, a former Illinois governor claims victory.

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan won a big victory last week when an Illinois appellate court ruled that, despite his conviction on corruption charges, he's entitled to keep state pension benefits worth about $65,000 a year.

Good move on transparency

Congratulations to Champaign City Council members for making some relatively minor but still important advances in transparency at their meetings.

Consider this a well-deserved pat on the collective backs of Champaign City Council members for unanimously approving a welcome change in the way the council does its business. Under new rules the council now will hold a roll call vote, instead of just a frequently anonymous voice vote, on all motions to go into closed session. And whenever possible closed sessions will be listed on the council's agenda.

Mr. Lincoln's University

There is much to celebrate and commemorate on this, the 200th anniversary of the birth of a great man and a great American president. In East Central Illinois we are especially attuned to the time that Abraham Lincoln spent in our counties as a young lawyer, leaving legends, legal documents and more for future historians. But Lincoln died not knowing one great gift he would leave to the people of Champaign County and the rest of Illinois.

It is one of the great regrettable pieces of Illinois history that Abraham Lincoln, America's greatest president, the pride of central Illinois and the man who as president signed the Land Grant Colleges Act, would never see the creation of Illinois' land grant college, the Illinois Industrial University.

Death penalty dishonesty

Gov. Pat Quinn wants it both ways on the death penalty.

After what state government in Illinois has been through during the past two months, it seems almost trivial to criticize a state official on a substantive policy difference.

Digital delay Congressional con

Congress delayed the deadline for the conversion from analog to digital television broadcasting. Or did it?

Last week, the national news media reported that Congress "is giving consumers four more months to prepare for the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting."