Democrats find their swagger in Charlotte

Democrats find their swagger in Charlotte

Illinois Democrats have had a rough summer. They haven't been getting along so well with their close friends, the unions. (Relations are...

Europe's decision day

Europe's decision day

This could finally be the day that the European Central Bank launches a rescue plan for the down-and-out economies of Italy and Spain. The...

More gas pains

More gas pains

Democrats opened their convention Tuesday as people went back to work after the Labor Day weekend. A lot of those people —...

Revealed: The Chicago teachers pact

Revealed: The Chicago teachers pact

We interrupt preparations for a Chicago schools strike — union members chanting, "Enough is enough," district officials conjuring...

Breaking the buck

Breaking the buck

Investors who park their cash in money-market funds expect to be able to withdraw it whenever they want: $1 in, $1 out, plus a tiny gain.

 Dynamiting the status quo

Dynamiting the status quo

In July, leaders of the cash-starved Chicago Public Schools reluctantly returned $34 million in federal grant money targeted to...

 The pernicious jobs gap

The pernicious jobs gap

A just-released report from the Brookings Institution rated Chicago and other cities by how well job openings line up with workers'...

R.I.P. Hastert Highway

R.I.P. Hastert Highway

When a $1 billion highway project once championed by a speaker of the U.S. House gets spiked, it merits a post mortem. Scalpel, please.

Decision time for the dress-alike jurors

Decision time for the dress-alike jurors

Pity the poor Drew Peterson jurors. After listening to nearly five weeks of stop-and-start testimony, it will be up to them after Tuesday'...

'Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!'

'Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!'

We don't get to play as much "Ring Around the Rosie" as we did in childhood. Instead we watch from afar the evidently carefree adults...

Brizard on the ropes?

Brizard on the ropes?

The Tribune on Friday reported a stunner: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has gotten sharply critical reviews from the...

Bernanke's caution

Bernanke's caution

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took the stage Friday at the annual economics conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., we were hoping...

Romney, Ryan and Isaac

Romney, Ryan and Isaac

Waving from the stage Thursday night, Mitt Romney concluded a Republican National Convention that was sobered by a running mate he chose...

Hold firm, CPS

Hold firm, CPS

The Chicago Teachers Union announced Thursday that it will lead its members off the job Sept. 10 if it does not have a new contract.

Wallflowers? Not exactly

Wallflowers? Not exactly

Illinois delegates have a long, long trek each day to the Republican National Convention. From the Sheraton Sand Key Resort on a strip of...

Illinois, the 6th-rate state

Illinois, the 6th-rate state

On Aug. 17, Illinois lawmakers interrupted their summer vacations for a special session that wasn't so special. As usual, they refused to...

Thank you, Governor

Thank you, Governor

"We're not going to have loopholes for mobsters in Illinois."

 You wouldn't think ...

You wouldn't think ...

Part of the joy of reading the news every day is discovering what we call the "You wouldn't think" story. Exquisite examples of...

America is waiting

America is waiting

In what passes for good news about the U.S. economy these days, the government on Wednesday is expected to revise upward the broad measure...

The golden swoosh

The golden swoosh

The lesson of Nike's $315 sneakers: Whatever you're buying, they're selling. For more.

 Lance Armstrong's disgrace

Lance Armstrong's disgrace

In his quest to be the greatest cyclist ever, Lance Armstrong let nothing stop him. Not the hours of pain and sacrifice required to train...

The Thomson prison standoff

The Thomson prison standoff

By refusing to release the money so the federal government can buy Thomson Correctional Center, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., is holding up 1,...

Candidate Bingo

A couple of years ago, our own Eric Zorn set out to create a game called "Pat Quinn Bingo." The object was to cover a row —...

Their pension fiasco, your income tax

Their pension fiasco, your income tax

The legislator — a hard worker who pursues centrist solutions — grew more dispirited as last week's conversation lengthened. Bad...

Cheering for China

Cheering for China

Export growth? Nonexistent. Industrial production? On the decline. Bank lending? Less than expected.

Victory at Oak Forest

Victory at Oak Forest

Last year, Cook County officials finally persuaded state regulators to let them convert the white elephant known as Oak Forest Hospital into...

May we suggest a red pen?

May we suggest a red pen?

Gov. Pat Quinn expects to take the weekend to weigh the latest Illinois gambling expansion bill, which lawmakers passed in May.

 Only the best

Only the best

In New York City this year, nearly half the teachers eligible for job-protecting tenure did not get it. Take a moment to absorb that...

About that steak on your plate ...

About that steak on your plate ...

If your parents made you sit at the kitchen table until you finished dinner, the following announcement is certain to disturb you: Americans...

How safe is your drinking water?

How safe is your drinking water?

For several years, Illinois has allowed dump trucks to release loads of construction debris into unlined quarries. The idea is to save money...

 Sabers over Syria

Sabers over Syria

For months, President Barack Obama has batted away questions about possible U.S. military intervention in Syria, where government forces...

Valedictorian, you're retired

Valedictorian, you're retired

Quick: Do you remember your high school valedictorian?

Amber waves and an ethanol waiver

Amber waves and an ethanol waiver

The National Corn Growers Association conceded last week that the federal government might — might — be justified in...

When a school year fizzles

When a school year fizzles

Across Chicago and its suburbs, the first day of school looms as a Big Event. New clothes, fresh supplies, a new set of teachers,...

It's the incumbents, voters

It's the incumbents, voters

Moody's Investors Service in January delivered another in the long line of downgrades from major ratings agencies, affirming Illinois as the...

The House shows Derrick Smith the door

The House shows Derrick Smith the door

From time to time we're reminded how indignant we were in March, when Tom Swiss tried to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in the...

Voters, who needs you?

Voters, who needs you?

Dave Winters, an 18-year Republican member of the Illinois House from the Rockford area, announced last year that he would not seek re-...

No denying it

No denying it

It's official: July was the hottest month in the continental U.S. since the government began keeping those records in 1895. Chicagoans,...

Standing in judgment

Standing in judgment

Frank D. Comerford had spent even less time in the Illinois House of Representatives than Rep. Derrick Smith has spent before his fellow...

 A stronger pulse

A stronger pulse

The independent panel that runs Cook County's health system has a new chairman, David Carvalho. Chosen by his fellow board members last...

More holidays than Hallmark

More holidays than Hallmark

Happy National Registered Apprenticeship Month! Join us in a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act, which...

 Egypt's surprise

Egypt's surprise

Egypt has undergone a revolution of sorts. No, not the one last year, when weeks of mass protests forced the resignation of longtime...

A cure for gas pain

A cure for gas pain

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made a sound decision last week to veto a project that would have put the customers of two major gas utilities on...

 You could be sick ...

You could be sick ...

Do you automatically assume that a headache is a brain tumor? Do you worry that a minor cut could lead to flesh-eating bacteria ravaging a...

Fellow Dems beware: Ryan offers solutions

Fellow Dems beware: Ryan offers solutions 

I was at the health club Saturday morning as news broke that Mitt Romney had selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his choice for vice...

What Paul Ryan delivers

What Paul Ryan delivers

"This plan of action is about putting an end to empty promises from a bankrupt government."

Let Northwestern build

Let Northwestern build

Its baby-birthing days behind it, the old Prentice Women's Hospital sits empty now, while preservationists imagine all sorts of new uses for...

Dear Standard & Poor's,

Dear Standard & Poor's,

In May and June we tried to be helpful, Standard & Poor's. We know how busy you and the other credit rating agencies are, watching...

Harvest savings

Harvest savings

Congress left for summer recess without passing a bill to guide spending for the next five years on farm subsidies and food stamps. This...

 'Reform lite'? Not enough.

'Reform lite'? Not enough.

If Illinois lawmakers pass the pension measure known as House Bill 1447 during their one-day session next Friday, expect many of them to...

 Scraping bottom

Scraping bottom

The television ad opens on a grim Joe Soptic, a 62-year-old former Kansas City steelworker. In 2001, he lost his job when the GST Steel...

 Curiosity on Mars

Curiosity on Mars

Like an Olympic gymnast who attempts the riskiest maneuvers to score maximum points, NASA staged a brilliant engineering feat 154 million...

 The end of welfare-to-work?

The end of welfare-to-work?

Republicans complain that the Obama administration is moving to gut the highly popular 1996 federal law that put strict time limits on...

Illnesses in the family

Illnesses in the family

This week has brought fresh revelations about the health of two Illinois congressmen, Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Republican Sen....

Dark day at Knight

Dark day at Knight

The key moment came a matter of hours after a software glitch last week saddled Knight Capital Group with massive stock market trades that...

Harry Reid, birther

Harry Reid, birther

In mid-January, we urged Mitt Romney to release a passel of his old tax returns and let Americans read themselves blind. Those returns...

Lolla gets it right

Lolla gets it right

The word came Saturday afternoon from the National Weather Service office in Romeoville, 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago: A dangerous...

Gunfire in the temple

Gunfire in the temple

Four days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi, an Indian Sikh, was gunned down in front of his gas station in Mesa,...

August 17

August 17

The third Friday in August should be a good day to get a tee time in Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn just called Illinois lawmakers off the golf...

A race to the bottom

A race to the bottom

Gentlemen, we understand — to a point.

 Irrelevant and irresponsible

Irrelevant and irresponsible

By tradition, the player selected last in the National Football League's annual draft is designated "Mr. Irrelevant" because he is so...

Getting past gridlock

Getting past gridlock

In the next life, whatever that entails, we'll be thrilled if we never have to type the phrase "ruinous Illinois pension crisis." But before...

Illinois and Obamacare

Illinois and Obamacare

The court fight over Obamacare is done. The political fight over the landmark health care reform law is still going strong on the campaign...

Demanding truth in numbers

Demanding truth in numbers

Dithering Republicans and Democrats who persistently fail to reform Illinois' (and Chicago's) doomed pension systems now have new cause...

Fore!

Fore!

When lawmakers fled Springfield on May 31 without fixing the state's pension crisis, Gov. Pat Quinn said he would bring them back "as soon...

Judicial restraint

Judicial restraint

During the confirmation hearings for his nomination to be chief justice of the United States, John Roberts said, "Judges and justices are...

Dear Standard & Poor's,

Dear Standard & Poor's,

On May 18 we wrote that we appreciate how busy you and the other credit rating agencies are overseas, what with Europe gridlocked at the...

Furiouser and furiouser

Furiouser and furiouser

For months, House Republicans have tried to pry documents from theU.S. Department of Justice about Operation Fast and Furious, the...

Escaping his past

Escaping his past

On the nights when he's not lying awake shuddering over the still-looming meltdown of the state pension system, Gov. Pat Quinn is no doubt...

Police and violent crime

Police and violent crime

Following a particularly violent weekend in May, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy wasted no time. They...

Beetle mania

Beetle mania

As U.S. trade with China expanded, the emerald ash borer hitched a ride across the Pacific in wooden packing crates to a new land with few...

 Teachers roar

Teachers roar

Chicago teachers have now unsheathed their nuclear option. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced Monday that nearly 90...

 Black box

Black box

Welterweight boxer Manny Pacquiao had a manageable time Saturday night defending his title in a bout with Timothy Bradley. He connected with...

Spending blame

Contrarian themes are a good way to catalyze debate, as MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting proved when he published a piece with the headline...

The Obama referendum

The Obama referendum

Quick — who's the most fearless politician in America? Not the one with whom you most agree. Not the one whose dulcet words and...

If Obamacare falls

If Obamacare falls

The comingU.S. Supreme Courtdecision on Obamacare will be a landmark no matter what the court decides. The ruling will prompt millions of...

A deep breath, then back to work

A deep breath, then back to work

The last few weeks showcased the Illinois General Assembly at its best and worst. Lawmakers plotted a course — and summoned the...

Now do it right

Now do it right

Illinois legislators continue to fail at Job One: What should have been this week's straightforward march to pension reform collapsed...

Don't cave, Governor

Don't cave, Governor

The roar of protesters vibrated through the Illinois Capitol rotunda Wednesday as community groups and organized labor clamored for...

Improve the pension bill

Improve the pension bill

Tuesday morning, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced his plan for salvaging the nation's worst-funded state pension system....

Good start. Now finish.

Good start. Now finish.

Faced with what he labeled a "rendezvous with reality," Gov. Pat Quinn has confronted Illinois legislators with an ultimatum: Reform runaway...

Crunch time

Crunch time

The 20 or so Percy Julian Middle School students seated in a half-moon around the governor Tuesday couldn't fully understand the financial...

Rescuing Illinois

Rescuing Illinois

Two more weeks. That's how long your legislators are scheduled to be in Springfield for the remainder of their thus far do-little spring...

Write it all down...then lose it

Write it all down...then lose it

David Maraniss went to great lengths to track down Barack Obama's old girlfriends. As a result, we have learned the man who would become...

Go ahead, celebrate

Go ahead, celebrate

Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the last time Americans agreed on anything.

A World Bank success story

A World Bank success story

The World Bank passed a big test in December when Congress quietly approved its request for additional funding, part of the development...

The bishops aren't alone

The bishops aren't alone

In the first, fevered days of the controversy over insurance coverage of drugs that prevent pregnancy and induce abortions, early polling...

'The Not-Romney Campaign'

'The Not-Romney Campaign'

If you've harbored a secret suspicion that one of the Republican presidential candidates yearns for a lifestyle with multiple mates, it...

Pruning the Pentagon

The federal government has a big problem with spending more than it takes in, and closing the gap is going to get harder in the coming...

Reforming health reform

Reforming health reform

When President Barack Obama's health care reform was making its way through Congress, Republicans and other opponents registered plenty of...

Zagel and the next crooked pols

Zagel and the next crooked pols

"He was corrupt when he took the oath of office. He was corrupt until the day he was arrested."

When a judge matters

When a judge matters

Wednesday dawns with expectancy and, for federal convict Rod Blagojevich, dread. He returns to a huge courtroom with warm wood paneling...

Obama's energy crisis

Obama's energy crisis

The White House decision to back a California-based maker of advanced solar panels with a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 looks...

We owe, we owe

We owe, we owe

President Barack Obama unveiled a modest initiative this week that's aimed at one of the most persistent drags on the U.S. economy....

Obama could lose, but who could win?

Obama could lose, but who could win?

President Barack Obama says he's the "underdog" in 2012, and now he's got the numbers to prove it. Only 42 percent of Americans are happy...

Greek toast

Greek toast

From a financial standpoint, Greece is toast. And the sooner European bankers admit it, the better for everybody—including President...