Understanding Illinois: Big Dollars Will Likely Decide Gubernatorial Primary

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

Republican gubernatorial aspirant Bruce Rauner spent more than $4 million in the past quarter alone on sophisticated TV ads to define himself as the anti-union, pro-term limits candidate who can transform Illinois government.

As a result, the previously unknown candidate is now the clear front-runner in a four-way race, according to recent polls. Read More

Another Possible Shortage?

by William C Bailey

Professor, Western
Illinois University

Recall the national attention and concern generated just before Thanksgiving when the country’s largest turkey producer indicated the possibility of a shortage of large, fresh turkeys? There is a major national celebration that will soon be upon us, and the question may again arise – might another poultry shortage befall the American public? The day of the possible shortage is Super Bowl Sunday. And the possible shortage would be chicken wings, not turkeys. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Minimum Wage Comment Stirs Political Pot

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner stuck his foot in his mouth with an impolitic remark recently in the Quad-Cities that the Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 an hour should be cut back by a buck-an-hour.

Rauner’s three GOP primary opponents and Gov. Pat Quinn immediately piled on, calling him everything from “out of touch” to “cruel, heartless and wrong.” Read More

It’s Just Golden…ASD: Adult Snow Day

Golden Column Photoby John Golden
NP Columnist

Just as most adults do, I work almost every day, and my workdays always start with a jolt of java; every morning, every time. On most of my days off, I drink my liquid caffeine injection at home. So I guess by using the old process of elimination trick, that would mean that I drink coffee seven days a week, every week. Read More

Resolve to Evolve!

by Angela Hogan RN MSPH
Administrator, Mo. Co. Health Dept.

Now that we are two weeks into the New Year, how is your New Year’s Resolution working? Most people will consider at least one possible New Year’s Resolution, but the number of folks who actually attempt it falls off from there, and for good reason. Researchers estimate that among individuals who make a resolution, one-half will abandon the resolution before the end of January! Since most resolutions consist of one or more goals for self-improvement, we need to find better ways to stick to them. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Courts in Better Shape Today

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

When I was a boy, unschooled local justices of the peace were infamous for working with small-town cops to set up speed traps to fleece unsuspecting motorists. Not a very reassuring introduction to our state’s justice system. Things have improved much since then, yet vigilance and some changes are still warranted.

In 1969, two Illinois supreme court justices were forced to resign for accepting stock in a new bank at bargain-basement prices from a fellow who at the same time was receiving a favorable court ruling from these same justices. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Is Illinois Poised for Rebound?

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

Mother always said it was darkest just before dawn. When it comes to the state of Illinois, I cannot yet see the sun or its penumbra from beneath the horizon, but there are signs that the future may brighten. We need to build on those portents.

Illinois has been in a funk. People I talk with lament our reputation for corruption and the state’s embarrassing fiscal situation. Most say we are headed in the wrong direction. Many say they would like to be someplace else.

Americans have a sour view of Illinois as well.

A survey a couple of years ago by Public Policy Polling found that only 19 percent of Americans had favorable views of Illinois, while 29 percent had unfavorable views; the rest had no view whatever of Illinois. Most states had more favorable than unfavorable mentions. Read More

The Man Behind 007

DanColumnby Dan Hagen
NP Columnist

James Bond’s attitude toward women has been much criticized, but it wasn’t fictional. It matched his creator’s.

Even the melodramatic tragedy characteristic of 007’s relationships with women was prefigured in Ian Fleming’s real life, according to Andrew Lycett’s biography “Ian Fleming.”

Alan Schneider, a U.S. naval intelligence officer who knew Fleming during World War II, noted that women, whether English aristocrats or American officers, all got the same backhanded treatment from Fleming.

“He got bored with them fast and could be brutal about it,” Schneider said. “He had absolutely no jealousy. He explained to me that women were not worth that much emotion. But with it all, he had an abiding and continual interest in sex without any sense of shame or guilt.” Read More

Mix Up With My Mail

For a while now, I have been getting my neighbor’s mail and just this morning, my neighbor called me and said he got my mail. I do not understand why this has become such an issue when the addresses are so clearly marked. When our last postmaster, Ed, was in charge, these things did not happen. I cannot put the blame solely on the postmaster, but there is surely something wrong. In the past three months, I have had to go to the utility company to find out what I owe. I got the notice to pay or shut off but not the bill itself. Am I the only one that has to deliver other’s mail while missing my own? I really hope not. When I get a bill, I pay it. Yes, I agree that I should pay better attention to what is due and when, but I have become accustomed to them being delivered and paying them when I get them. Please, Mr. Postman, deliver me my mail.

Christina Punches

Understanding Illinois: Gambling at the R Bar

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

I walked recently down the main street of my hometown to the R Bar tavern to try out the new video gaming machines. Not a gambler, I did so for research on this column about why the state of Illinois pushes gambling onto its citizens in such an unseemly way.

The small, dimly lit bar (aren’t they all) has three machines; the maximum is five. They are all electronically tied to the state’s computers somewhere; after all, the state government is operating these games in order to fleece its own citizens out of their money.

Legal gambling is the only state activity in which the state’s citizens must lose in order for the state to generate revenue. Read More