WIUM Tristates Public Radio

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.

Wikimedia

Six years ago this week, when George W. Bush was still President, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing six.

Wikipedia

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.

Wikimedia

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.

Wikipedia

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.

Wikimedia

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.

Wikipedia

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.

Two popular TV series come to mind when musing about East Moline Democratic Congesswoman Cheri Bustos joining the Blue Dog caucus: “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards.”

Christianity’s season of Lent is underway, a good time to sacrifice a little time to read Pope Francis’ book "The Joy of the Gospel.”

When I’m 64

Mar 12, 2014

A bit of resistance or resentment at aging is not unexpected, maybe.

Unionizing offers workers group strength that can mean labor contracts, due process, and a vote on their leaders.

Our Kidney Adventure

Mar 3, 2014
courtesy of Terry Smith

When Mary Eby learned her friend Amy Stein needed a new kidney, she didn’t hesitate to offer one of hers, saying, “I have two kidneys.”

In an effort to protect good jobs and community service against privatization schemes on Capitol Hill and the marketplace, Postal Workers this month called for a boycott of Staples office-supply stores.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court debate comes down to employees working at jobs where most of their peers want to be represented by negotiators they elect and share the costs of that representation, versus individuals who feel coerced into sharing the costs of achieving better compensation, and their narrow notion of free association and free speech.

For baseball fans, even an active off-season “Hot Stove League” by itself is no substitute for action on the diamonds.

To some, five decades back seem like ancient history: “Biblical times.”

Many churches recently had a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and the world is about to begin the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, so one once more longs to fulfill that lion-and-lamb image, that notion that the Gospel of John recounts Jesus as describing, “that all of them may be one,” or the simple idea that people can put aside their differences and work or play together.

The possibilities are inspiring.

A Wall Street Journal writer, a trade representative and a Congressman walk into a Denver pot store and the clerk says, "What is this, a joke?"

The writer says, “I know I really shouldn’t, but I just NAFTA!”

In reality, WSJ writer Mary Anastasia O'Grady wrote about the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): “A continental web of supply chains now supports production facilities and serves consumers in three countries with a combined population of 470 million.”

Differences on Capitol Hill have made recovery from the Great Recession difficult. Differences in interpreting what’s good and what’s bad in what’s happening with the economy have made recovery efforts worse.

As 2014 gets going, it’s revealing to see current public opinion and notice how Capitol Hill apparently pays more attention to Congress’ wealthy patrons than everyday Americans.

Dear Russell:

Here’s something very rarely mentioned in the same sentence: Prizefighting and parenthood.

Actually, parenting is less like prizefighting than watching boxers from a ring-side seat.

Life is not exactly a fight but it can sometimes feel like we’re on the ropes in a ring.

Alone maybe, or facing lousy odds.

Personally, I’ve been a spectator, trainer, sometimes a cutman in your life “matches.” It’s offered me a sense of pride, if not power.

I’ve always been proud of you. Conversely, I’ve never been ashamed of you.

Pages