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.

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.

Christmas is over, and with it, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday-shopping gimmicks.