The latest scandals in government – and the fear among some politicians that they could be hurt on Election Day by the disclosures – has lawmakers at the state and federal levels offering more government ethics legislation.
All of this begs the question that if the earlier ethics and campaign finance reform measures didn't clean up government, what makes anyone think that these proposals would be more successful? As any police officer or prosecutor could tell you, you can't legislate morality.
U.S. Senate hearings opened this week on President Bush's decision to order national security wiretaps, without court orders, on phone calls from suspected al-Qaida sources outside this country to people inside the country.
If ever a congressional hearing called for a reasoned discussion of a serious issue, this was it. But rhetoric from senators seemed motivated more by political posturing than anything else.
His playbook is about 40 years old, but it still works for Anthony R. Martin-Trigona, aka Andy Martin, aka Republican candidate for governor.
Although he has no chance of being elected governor this year, Andy Martin has become quite successful at generating the one thing he really craves – attention.
No one is saying that Champaign's Kraft Foods plant, which provides about 1,300 good-paying jobs in the community, is going to close. But it is a possibility.
Kraft, the world's second-largest food company, announced last month that it would eliminate 8,000 jobs and close as many as 20 plants over the next two years. Only two of the plants, one in Alabama and another in Australia, were identified. The rest of the plant closings and job losses will be announced at a later date.
It's another day and another series of destructive riots as angry Muslims all over the world burn, stone and threaten to kill because of what they perceive as insults to their religion.
Non-Muslims should take a good look at what's going on because this grotesque and bizarre behavior says much more about the extremist world view of these religious zealots than their critics could dream up. Protesting Muslims are expressing what they believe is justifiable disagreement over the publication in Denmark of cartoon images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Not unlike Roman Catholic Church leaders who dug in their heels and were nearly dismissive when the national clergy abuse scandal broke in 2002, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George was defensive last month when allegations were leveled by prosecutors against a 37-year-old pastor at an inner-city parish.
Since then, the cardinal has done a near-reversal. "I thought that we had the process ... to take care of these things," George said last week. "Now it turns out it wasn't adequate, that I wasn't adequate."
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, concerned about a negative public image and motivated by a desire to get back to their principles, made a major change in direction last week when they elected John Boehner as their new majority leader.
Boehner, a veteran legislator from Ohio, defeated two other candidates to win the job, U.S. Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona, and, most prominently, U.S. Rep Roy Blunt of Missouri. Blunt, the Republican whip, was closely associated with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who stepped down after he was indicted for allegedly violating Texas state campaign finance law.
University of Illinois researchers have documented what most people intuitively know to be true: The more active people are, the better they feel – physically and emotionally.
UI Professors Edward McAuley and Robert Motl, both kinesiologists, and Ed Diener, a psychologist, came to their conclusions based on a five-year examination of the physical and psychological benefits to senior citizens who made the transition from a sedentary to more physically active lifestyle. Their results: The seniors who maintained active programs were not only physically stronger but more confident and content.
It's been 14 years since customers of Illinois Power (now AmerenIP) were socked with a general increase in electricity rates. And customers of the old Central Illinois Light Co. (now AmerenCILCO) have gone 24 years without a rate hike.
All of that will end next Jan. 2, when a new method of rate-setting goes into effect in Illinois. If a recent Illinois Commerce Commission decision survives anticipated court challenges, rates will be determined by the prices that utilities pay for electricity purchased from vendors in a reverse auction process.
Those who hate January in central Illinois had a pretty good time last month. It was the warmest January on record. Its mean temperature – 37.9 degrees – was 13.5 degrees above the normal of 24.4 degrees. That 37.9-degree mean is more like January in Nashville, Tenn. (January mean of 36.8 degrees), or a typical March (a 40.4-degree mean) or November (a 41.3-degree mean) in Champaign-Urbana.
In a normal January in Champaign-Urbana, the temperature drops below zero four times. The coldest temperature last month (on Jan. 26) was a scarcely frigid 20 degrees. There were 13 days in January 2006 when the low didn't even fall below freezing.