Five years later, Iraq's future uncertain

Despite our long involvement in Iraq, the future there is yet to be determined.

It's been a long five years since the U.S. military invaded Iraq and quickly defeated Saddam Hussein and his army.

Obama's minister puts him in a jam

For the first time in this presidential campaign, Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is on the defensive.

Stung by the political fallout from the prejudiced and destructively ignorant comments of his Chicago minister, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday tried to get his arms around the complicated issue of race.

A shameful vote on earmarks

Congress can't kick its pork-barrel spending habit.

Last week, Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain were in rare agreement on one particular issue – that there should be a one-year moratorium on those congressional pork-barrel projects known as earmarks. The three presidential candidates, unfortunately, were flattened by their Senate colleagues.

Here's how to fix state budget

Legislators want input from the public on the state's budget challenge. Here's our advice: stop spending more than you're taking in.

Hurrah! Hurrah! The circus is coming to town!

Budget cuts won't doom Urbana parks

The Urbana park district will have to cut up to $200,000 from its budget for the fiscal year that begins May 1. Not unlike a lot of individuals and businesses, the park district will have to economize this year. It happens all the time in the private sector.

The Urbana Park Board last week gave its staff approval to reduce $200,000 from its $4.8 million budget. The cuts will be made to the budget that goes into effect on May 1. It is hoped, the board said, that the reductions will be made with enough care that while many services will be reduced, no service will be eliminated.

Spitzer's swift collapse

It might be great to be bulletproof, but hardly anyone is.

Just a week ago, Eliot Spitzer was on the list of up-and-coming politicians who might someday take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Now he's just another self-destructive loser thanks to his resignation as governor of New York. But that's what comes of consorting with employees of a high-priced prostitution ring, using your cell phone to schedule assignations and moving large amounts of money through the banking system in a way that is guaranteed to draw federal attention.

It's your business:Garden shop, ice cream stand open

Longing for warmer weather to get here?

Here's a recent opening that will get you thinking about warmer days and yard work ahead.

Bring more open government to UI

University of Illinois President Joe White is talking a good game about the importance of transparency in government. Let's see his Freedom of Information officers play it.

Whether it's at the state or federal levels, there's a lot of grandstanding and hot air associated with legislative oversight hearings. But whatever their flaws, they provide an excellent vehicle for holding the feet of the powerful to the fire or delivering an important public message of reassurance.

Public money for public art

With a city budget that has little margin for error, Urbana officials are right to suggest that a new public arts program needs to be more financially conservative.

It appears that Mayor Laurel Prussing and at least three members of the Urbana City Council want to put the brakes to a proposal that would fund a new public arts program at a rather generous rate of $4 per capita. Good for them.

Champaign's alternative ed plan could be good investment

The Champaign schools are making a big investment in a plan to boost education for struggling students.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.