One of the hottest topics in Illinois government in the aftermath of the recent lame-duck legislative session is the massive criminal-justice package that’s thrilled some and outraged others.

At the post office the other day, where all of us in my rural town go to pick up our daily mail, a friend asked: “Why are we so angry, Jim?” By “we,” he didn’t mean him and me, and I could tell, even with his mask on, that he was concerned.

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With Congress overriding the president’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act bill on New Year’s Day, now’s a good time to discuss how U.S. presidential vetoes and Illinois gubernatorial vetoes work.

In the last few years, I have given my bookshelves a break by giving away 1,600 books, mostly books of theology and practical ministry. In my most recent purging last fall when I painted my office, I parted company with a couple of books containing wisdom from the Desert Mothers and Fathers …

During Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building while Congress held a joint session to certify the presidential election, news reports discussed the requests for National Guard forces to try to help restore order.

2020 was a memorable but awful year. COVID-19 ravaged the United States. It infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands. Economic inequality, hunger, racial oppression and imperialism continued to characterize the U.S. empire.