Editorials

Congress must resist spending pressure for lock, dam system

Let's say you were the director of a library and you know that your library building is getting older and is going to need some remodeling. But instead of remodeling, your library board wanted to rebuild the entire library. Now let's also say that use of your library is declining and that all evidence pointed to a continued decrease in the number of library users and the number of books being checked out of your library. Would it make any sense to build a new library?

Certainly not. And that, essentially, is the crux of the seemingly never-ending debate to rebuild the lock and dam system on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Last week, a coalition of labor and business groups including, for shame, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, again asked for a federal handout to help rebuild the lock and dam system at a cost of $2.3 billion. The project would replace seven existing 600-foot locks with new 1,200-foot locks, all with the idea of eliminating a traffic bottleneck and expediting the shipment of cargo, especially grain, to the Gulf of Mexico.


A virtuoso performance by Daley in Chicago

When it comes to politics, no one can play the game like the Daleys. And the Chicago City Council's vote last Wednesday to uphold a mayoral veto of a so-called "big box ordinance" was great proof.


Ford follows GM with restructuring

First it was General Motors, now it's Ford.

Both companies have lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the past couple of years, and they are struggling in their efforts to return to profitability.


Council members prepare to rubber-stamp tax increase

There's a problem in Urbana city government not unlike a problem in Champaign city government: city council members often seem to think that they're there to mimic, support or represent the city staff, not to represent the public who elected them.


H-P scandal sends message

Patricia Dunn, the chairwoman of high technology giant Hewlett-Packard, demanded that her underlings find out the identity of a fellow member of the H-P board of directors who had unauthorized conversations with reporters.

Her minions, fearful of the consequences of failing to fulfill her orders, hopped to it. Now, of course, everyone at H-P is fearful of the consequences of what they learned, including Dunn.


Forfeiting pension another price Ryan must pay

George Ryan, a former governor who held other high positions in state government, has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for his conviction on federal corruption charges. At the age of 72, it's possible that he may die in prison, alone and apart from his family. And now, on top of that humiliation, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued an opinion saying that Ryan must forfeit his entire $197,040 state pension. Is this a legitimate decision or just piling on an already beaten man?


Who will take blame for latest Blagojevich blunder?

In the litany of scandals that have tainted the Blagojevich administration thus far, the governor and his staff have repeatedly suggested that the misdeeds were the work of some sycophantic underling or some "bad apple" in state government. Never could the wrongdoing be tied directly to the governor, at least publicly. (The extent of investigations going on inside of the U.S. attorney's office – and there is at least one investigation going on there – isn't known.)

But a new Pandora's box has been opened with the disclosure that the FBI is investigating allegations by the wife of a longtime Blagojevich friend that she may have been given a state job because of a personal check her husband wrote to the governor's daughter.


No letup in scandal probes

The sentencing hearing for former Gov. George Ryan put an exclamation point on the long-running "licenses-for-bribes" corruption investigation.

But this is no time for scandal fatigue. There's more to come.


If steroid abuse is a problem, IHSA should pay for testing

It's not uncommon for local high school coaches and athletic directors to insist that players in their school are clean of steroids and human growth hormones, but that they have suspicions about athletes at other schools.

The evidence, as old as it is, suggests that steroids are not a major problem in high schools. A 2003 American Medical Association survey found that youth steroid use had increased from 2.1 percent in 1991 to 4 percent in 2002. A more recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey estimates steroid use among high school athletes at 4 percent to 6.1 percent. But the Office of National Drug Control Policy said it believes steroid use has declined in recent years.


No reason to move trial from Vermilion

Arguing that extensive pretrial publicity has made a fair trial impossible, lawyers for a Newtown man accused of murder want his upcoming trial moved out of Vermilion County.

Circuit Judge Michael Clary has taken the motion under advisement. But past experience with these kind of cases would indicate there is no reason to move the trial. There has been nowhere near the relentless drumbeat of publicity required to taint the jury pool.


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