Local Commentaries

The opinions expressed in these commentaries are not necessarily those of Tri States Public Radio or Western Illinois University. Diverse viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged.


As flags unfurl, fireworks explode, and independence celebrated this week, patriotism seems absent from many corporate boardrooms, and an effort to encourage America-first business with roots in west-central Illinois lies dormant since being introduced eight years ago.

Renee C. Byer

Eighty-five people have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After Republican Eric Cantor lost his primary race to a Tea Party challenger last week, most press prophets seemed either to sympathize with the House Majority Loser as Capitol Hill’s equivalent of California Chrome losing the Belmont Stakes to little-known Tonalist or to celebrate the upset as Washington’s or the GOP’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

But it’s less about the Loser – an Establishment Republican, despite his ultra-conservative bona fides – than the Virginia voters who supported Dave Brat: populists.

Rich Egger

Corporations and mainstream media often repeat the “jobs vs. the environment” angle to situations, but that’s a false choice.


Spring is here.  (All together now: “FINALLY!”)

Rich Egger

The Illinois legislature’s spring session is supposed to end this week, roads and bridges are deteriorating, and state and federal programs to fund construction are expiring, so an unusual coalition of business and labor proposed a plan to address the situation.

However, it’s unclear where it stands in Springfield.

Wrapping up are Illinois Jobs Now – which funds maintenance and construction of roads, highways and public transit, set to end July 1 – and the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), ending Sept. 30 (if its funds don’t run out sooner).

Harvest Public Media

As recently reported, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea killed millions of piglets in 27 states this year. Possibly originating in China, Iowa farmers were hurt the worst.

Rich Egger

May 1 was Law Day, so this month is a great time to consider law enforcement concerning those banking gangsters –“banksters” – who violated laws and went unpunished.


A lot of attention has been paid to racist comments apparently made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Everyday people holding voter-registration drives, partnering with faith communities, organizing corporate campaigns and fasting in protest all may be so familiar that their revival by Cesar Chavez a generation ago is overlooked.


It’s neither unpatriotic nor an exaggeration to recall the Ludlow Massacre 100 years ago this week as that era’s 9-11, Pearl Harbor or Alamo.


Insurance policyholders who pay their premiums, people who work, and veterans who serve all are eligible for coverage, for wages and for benefits.

Why Poetry Matters

Apr 14, 2014
Curtis Bisbee

Last month, on the drive home from school, my daughter recited a haiku entitled “Cruelty”:

It’s still Spring, but the Summer game’s back, with some changes and much tradition.

Dissatisfaction in the area with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues as the income-tax deadline approaches.