Local Commentaries

Bill Knight - November 22
2:12 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Determining Threats to Religious Liberties

Bill Knight

At the first Mass after the election, a 70-something parishioner scolded an usher about giving her any more letters from Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky, saying, “If there is one, keep it.”

There wasn’t – which was too bad. After political bishops “took a beating at the polls,” according to Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, it could have been an opportunity for reconciliation. His Excellency looks more natural smiling, rooting for Notre Dame or cuddling with his Chihuahuas than comparing President Obama to Hitler.

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Bill Knight – November 15
10:49 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Walmart Workers Fighting Back

Bill Knight

As the world’s largest retailer last month filled aisles with Halloween candy and cheap costumes, workers from coast to coast conducted an effective “trick ‘r treat” job action, and now others are taking the giant retailer to court.

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Bill Knight - November 8
11:48 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Climate Change and the Midwest

Bill Knight

Climate change is not just an abstract, an inconvenience, or a disaster limited to Arctic ice or coastal populations during superstorms like Hurricane Sandy. Illinois is already affected and climate change could hurt us all worse. The saying “think global, act local” is recalled, but there are no simple or easy answers.

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Bill Knight - November 1
12:53 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

The Betrayal of the American Dream

Bill Knight

The new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele is, they say, “the story of how a small number of people in power have deliberately put in place policies that have enriched themselves while cutting the ground out from underneath America’s greatest asset – its middle class.

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Bill Knight – October 25
11:01 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Constitutional Amendment Won’t Fix Pension System

Bill Knight

Most Illinois voters might be surprised by their ballot when they vote next month – but they’ll be shocked by the consequences if it passes. Proposed Constitutional Amendment 49 “adding Sec. 5.1 to Article XIII,” claims to address the state’s pension obligations.

First, given the shortfall of more than $80 billion in Illinois’ five pension plans, voters should ask how a new Sec. 5.1 would deal with the money the state owes those pensions. It does nothing.

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Bill Knight – October 18
10:50 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Big Business Not Hiring Despite Profits

Bill Knight

The country’s unemployment crisis is because workers no longer have marketable skills prospective employers want, according to corporate-cozy politicians who repeat Big Business’s excuse for not hiring, despite record corporate profits.

Such a justification is another “blame-the-victim” attack rather than helping jobless Americans.

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Heather McIlvaine-Newsad - October 15
9:33 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Promoting Change Through Non-Violent Means

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad
Rich Egger

This past January, Sarah Haynes and I took 9 intrepid WIU students to India for a study abroad course. We spent two weeks living and working at Navdanya, an organic farm that is the headquarters for Vandana Shiva’s national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources through the promotion of organic farming and fair trade.

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Bill Knight - October 11
10:52 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Bi-Partisan Disapproval of Congress

Bill Knight

If there’s anyone as unpopular as the NFL’s replacement referees this fall, it’s Congress.

After all, “action” such as Senate Republicans on Sept. 19 killing the veterans jobs bill –endorsed by the American Legion (and co-written by four GOP Senators who followed orders and voted against it!) – may be one reason, tied to the GOP’s strategy to stall or stop government, apparently hatched in a 2009 meeting.

Some 9 out of 10 Americans disapprove of Congress, according to a new Gallup poll. Before 2007, the disapproval rating topped 80 percent only twice.

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Bill Knight – October 4
11:09 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Bain Capital & Jobs Outsourced from Illinois

Bill Knight

One of the most recent groups of U.S. workers to see their jobs outsourced is in Illinois, and they have Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital to blame.

Freeport’s Sensata Technologies – majority-owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once headed by Romney – is another example of how venture capital and globalization function for regular Americans.

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Bill Knight - September 27
1:23 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

The Rural Midwest Economy

Bill Knight

Illinois’ economy has been affected by the drought and other negatives, plus improved retail sales and home sales, but its overall Rural Mainstreet Index remains below neutral, according to the new assessment of Creighton University’s monthly poll of area business executives.

The state’s Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell in August, says the project out of Creighton’s marketing and public relations department at its Omaha campus. It’s the third consecutive month Illinois’ RMI was below growth neutral.

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