Justices finally did right thing

Just last week, the Illinois Supreme Court took steps to implement a long-ignored state law requiring the notification of parents whose underage daughters are seeking an abortion.

But in doing so, in following a legislative mandate, the justices inadvertently reminded voters just why it is that they so despise high-handed judges who think their prestigious positions permit them to do as they please.

Voters disillusioned with Illinois government

What do Cecil Turner, Jacqueline Price, Ken Buzbee, Delores Martin, Michael Mayer, Allen Mitzenmacher and Carl Forn have in common?

They've all donated thousands of dollars over the last several years to Secretary of State Jesse White's campaign committee.

Champaign faces big decision

City and park district officials in Champaign have a big decision to make about the design of the Boneyard Creek improvement project, and they're soliciting public opinion to help them make it.

That's an invitation citizens ought to enthusiastically accept because the ultimate decision will have a big impact on the appearance of central Champaign.

Illinois officials insult taxpayers by breaking access laws

At Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln said that government was of the people, by the people and for the people. But that message seems to have been lost on the governors, that is, the people running government, in his home state.

The Illinois Press Association last week showcased some downright outrageous examples of suppression and secrecy in local and state government in Illinois over the last year. Nicknamed the "Worsty Awards," the examples cited outrageous abuses of the state Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Capitol keeps FBI busy

Those who closely follow the news may have noticed that members of Congress seem to be getting into trouble with the law.

U.S. Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Randy Cunningham of California, both Republicans, each have been charged or convicted in recent months in connection with illegal payoffs. Another legislator, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, is expected to be charged following the execution of a search warrant that turned up thousands of dollars in bribe money.

Irresponsible budgeting leaves state with little room for growth

State Comptroller Dan Hynes' address last week to a Chicago business group could not have been better timed. Smack in the middle of the campaign season when candidates tend to promise more, expanded and better services and programs, Hynes dared to show that Illinois government can't afford more, expanded and better. Not, at least, based on its current revenue growth.

Clear difference between Topinka, Blagojevich on higher ed funding

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka differ on a lot of topics, but there's one issue where the difference is particularly striking: funding for higher education.

On the same day recently that the University of Illinois trustees said they hoped the university could put five years of budget cuts or nominal increases behind it, and a national study gave Illinois an "F" in college affordability, Topinka was on campus and promised to increase higher education spending by $350 million over the next four years. She also promised to fully fund pensions and to increase capital spending, virtually nonexistent in recent years.

Illinois must stay on path to utility rate deregulation

AmerenIP electric rates could increase as much as 40 percent in January, the result of higher wholesale costs for energy. That shouldn't surprise anyone. Illinois' electric rates have been frozen for nine years, putting customers in a sort of suspended universe where even though all other costs have risen, electricity prices stayed the same. But the freeze is about to end, and with it will pass the era of low-cost electricity.

Customers, both residential and commercial, understandably are upset. And they're ready to take their anger out on the utility companies.

Joe Tanner's last shuttle flight a successful one

There will never again be a routine space shuttle mission, not after the Challenger and Columbia disasters, and Thursday's conclusion of Atlantis' flight to the international space station was no exception.

Atlantis left Cape Canaveral about two weeks behind schedule over concerns about weather and its electrical system and a fuel gauge, and also came back to Earth a day late. After a nearly flawless trip to the space station, NASA engineers became concerned about material seen floating around the shuttle. There were concerns that it could have been part of the shuttle's heat shield, or perhaps some other debris that could have damaged the vehicle's exterior. But NASA officials now believe the material was a small shim, a plastic filler designed to keep a gap between the thermal tiles. If not that, the mysterious item could have been, sadly, a garbage bag.

Blagojevich drug program little used, expensive, illegal

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has pulled off a rare triple play of government ineptitude.

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