Deborah Booth

Perspective: The Quiet Crisis In Your Neighborhood

Dec 17, 2020
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A quiet drama unfolds on Thursday afternoons at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb. One after another, cars turn off Fourth Street to line up in the parking lot. Well before Barb Food Mart’s 4:30 start time, the cars are snaking around the lot. And they just keep coming. The Depression era breadlines are back.

Perspective: What, Me Concede?

Nov 12, 2020
Susanne Dicke / Pixabay

They tell me I'm supposed to make a concession speech. Me? Concede to Sleepy Joe? There must be a way I can still win, even without the votes.

Rudy and Corey are in Philadelphia looking for anything. Maybe they'll find a laptop with voting irregularities. Eric, Don Jr, Jared, they all say we should keep suing. It's worked before so many times. And maybe the Supreme Court will do its job and help me like they helped George.

Perspective: His Taxes

Oct 8, 2020
Matthew Lancaster / Unsplash

A poll taken after the first presidential debate showed that by two to one, viewers thought Biden had won. The President's bullying made a travesty of the debate. His constant interruptions prevented Biden from describing his views, policies and plans. And the President's rants and insults were a way to avoid talking about anything. So distraction may have been the point.

Perspective: Lies

Sep 3, 2020
Jay Park / Pixabay

Kellyanne Conway is leaving her job at the White House. She says she wants to spend more time with her teenage children and husband.


She’ll be remembered for her confrontational manner -- and for her lies. She burst out of the gate on January 22, 2017, with the jaw-dropping phrase “alternative facts,” the term she used to defend press secretary Spicer’s lie about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. Lying became a way of life in this White House.


Perspective: Election Ploys

Jul 30, 2020

It was almost exactly a year ago that the president made his fateful call to President Zelensky. You remember -- Trump said he’d deliver the money Congress had appropriated for Ukraine's protection against Russian military incursions, then he added: "I would like you to do us a favor, though...."


Perspective: Let's Talk About The Post Office

Jun 25, 2020

In this topsy-turvy world, one welcome sign of normalcy has been the daily rattle of our mailbox. Mail delivery has been a connection to the outside world and a sign that things will return to normal one of these days.

Perspective: Support Your Local Newspaper

May 21, 2020
Andrys Stienstra / Pixabay

I used to buy a local paper when we traveled so I could learn more about the community we were visiting. But in recent years it has become rare to find one. I now know why. Local papers have become an endangered species. Since 2006, one-third of U.S. papers have disappeared, and tens of thousands of local reporters have lost their jobs.

Perspective: Trust The Scientists

Apr 16, 2020

The disaster movie starts and when bad things start to happen, a scientist always warns the people to change course. But the people never listen. That’s the gist of a mordant Facebook post circulating among scientists as they, along with the rest of us, have watched this frightening scenario play out in real life.


The pandemic moved so fast and was so vicious that it’s no mystery why people insisted it couldn’t happen here. After all, we’re not Italy, or China.


Perspective: A Little Girl And A Daisy

Mar 12, 2020
Lyndon Johnson campaign ad / Wikimedia

We first see a little girl counting as she plucks the petals from a daisy. A countdown starts -- and then a mushroom cloud fills the screen. This was an ad for Democratic presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson when he was running against arch-conservative Republican Barry Goldwater. The year was 1964 and we had witnessed the birth of the modern political ad. 


Perspective: Give Meghan And Harry A Break

Jan 30, 2020
Mark Jones / Wikimedia

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan want to lead private lives. They are stepping away from their official duties as members of the royal family and are moving to Canada. They plan to become financially independent.

It’s a bold move.

The royal family has always been one of England’s favorite soap operas. Their weddings, births, deaths, and most of all, their indiscretions, are a source of endless fascination to the public and a surefire way to sell newspapers.

Perspective: An Important Political Omission

Dec 26, 2019

At last Thursday’s Democratic debate Pete Buttigieg said something I hadn’t heard before. “I know you're only ever supposed to say middle class and not poor in politics,” he said, “but we've got to talk about poverty in this country.” 


Perspective: Nixon And Trump

Nov 21, 2019
public domain, Pixlr

Because of the current impeachment hearings, Richard Nixon’s name has come up a lot recently. His second term was cut short by the Watergate scandal and he became only the second president in history to be impeached. Nixon resigned in 1974 when he lost the support of Republicans in the Senate.

Nixon’s crimes involved a systematic attempt to subvert the democratic process. Determined to win a second term in 1972, he authorized a burglary at Democratic Headquarters. But that was only one of his many crimes and cover ups.

Perspective: The Persistence Of Prejudice

Oct 17, 2019
Josh Howard / Unsplash

The sight of a policeman greeted worshippers as they arrived at DeKalb’s synagogue in late September to celebrate the Jewish New Year. The reason for the guard? One year ago, 11 worshippers were killed by a hate-filled anti-Semite at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As I walked into the sanctuary to find a seat, I had a vivid image of a gunman bursting into the room spewing hatred and gunfire. Suddenly the sanctuary didn’t feel like such a safe place anymore.

Perspective: Shedding Some Light

Sep 12, 2019
Pete Linforth / Pixabay

The Department of Energy’s website promotes the use of LED lightbulbs, pointing out that they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. A helpful video explains that LED bulbs use only about 25% of the energy of the older bulbs. 


Perspective: Ageism

Aug 8, 2019


Growing older is a fact of life that most people dread. We’re embarrassed to be called old. 

Perspective: What Would Eisenhower Think?

Jul 4, 2019

In his farewell address in 1961, President Eisenhower spoke about the danger of the growing defense industry and how it might influence the military. He coined a term -- military industrial complex -- to focus attention on this serious issue.

Perspective: Adventures In The NIU Rec Center

May 30, 2019

My exercise routine usually involves walking or swimming. But this habit was disrupted when I had foot surgery last winter and found myself in a big gray boot with limited mobility.


The Rec Center at NIU saved the day. After years of walking around the track there, I discovered the cardio room, a whole new world of exercise options. There was the usual array of bikes, treadmills, and stair stepping machines.


Perspective: Drills Aren't Enough

Apr 25, 2019
AtelierKS / Pixabay

A school bus rumbled past the house. Then another, and another. It was mid-morning, long after school had started. By the time the caravan ended, there were about 12 buses parked, engines running, along two blocks. I asked one of the bus drivers what was happening. He said it was a drill.


Perspective: A Roomette With A View

Mar 21, 2019
Christopher Quinlan / CC SA by 4.0

On a cold blustery afternoon in February, we drove to Union Station to take the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Albuquerque, a 25-hour train trip. We had booked a roomette and packed books, games, downloaded shows, and snacks. We were ready for the adventure to begin.


We settled into our roomette, a small space with two facing seats and a tiny closet. At about 10, an attendant made the seats disappear, to be replaced with two bunk beds. Hard as it was to imagine, the roomette seemed to shrink when this happened.

Cornell University

I recently read an extraordinary memoir written a few years ago by my dad’s cousin. 

Perspective: The Founders In A New Light

Jan 2, 2019
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

It was September 1776, just two months after the American colonies had declared their independence from Britain. British naval commander Richard Howe demanded a meeting. Perhaps the Americans wanted to change their minds about their rash decision. 


Perspective: Elections Have Consequences

Nov 29, 2018


Food Insecurity Close To Home

Oct 25, 2018


A recent film shines a light on the health and environmental benefits of locally grown food. DeKalb filmmaker Laura Vazquez interviewed food specialists, environmentalists, and DeKalb County farmers who operate small farms. 

Drama In The Backyard

Sep 20, 2018


It was a typical summer morning. Sitting on the back porch, I was enjoying the usual sounds of wildlife as I read the paper. Chirps and bursts of songs from the birds. Rustling chipmunks scurrying up the drainpipes. Chattering squirrels chasing each other in circles.


Suddenly, I became aware of an eerie silence. The birds were gone from the feeders. The rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels had disappeared from view.


Little Girl, Big Heart, Bigger Results

Aug 16, 2018


A Lincoln Elementary School student recently celebrated her eighth birthday with a party. Addie asked her guests to bring a donation for Barb Food Mart instead of buying gifts for her. The result was $50 for the DeKalb food pantry. What an amazing kid! 


Words Have Power

Jul 12, 2018

Hitler called the Jews subhuman disease-carrying rats.

Words like these have been used throughout history to dehumanize groups and to make it acceptable to treat them like animals  --  to eliminate them, to perform experiments on them, to kill them. Dehumanizing words are part of a demagogue’s tool chest. The goal is to convince the public it is OK to mistreat those other, lesser people.

It’s tempting to look at the enormity of the Nazi holocaust, with the huge scale of the killing, as a one-time madness that infected Germany and was cured.

Squirrels Can Drive You Nuts

Jun 7, 2018

Squirrels are fun to watch as they frolic in the back yard.

But they can also be a nuisance. They eat tulip bulbs and dig up newly planted annuals, leaving the small roots dying in the sun.

And while we imagine that squirrels live happily in the backyard, well aware that they don’t belong inside, I think they see the house as an extension of their territory. The yard may be loaded with nuts, plants and yes, tulip bulbs, but the house is bound to be full of really exciting goodies. Which, to be fair, is actually true.

Finding Out About Fixers

Apr 26, 2018

Thanks to Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, we’ve all learned a lot recently about fixers.

A fixer is someone who takes care of the boss’s problems -- with charm, or with money, or with threats. Intimidated people with stories to tell go quiet after signing non-disclosure agreements. Poof, problem solved. File the agreement and move on.

Guess What I Did On Tuesday ...

Mar 22, 2018

Voting has always been important to me.

In 1984, my daughter was born 10 days early, just before Election Day. I was not prepared to let childbirth stop me from persuading my reluctant husband to drive me from the hospital to the polls. “I feel great,” I lied.

A 'Club' With A Fascinating History

Feb 15, 2018

The Ku Klux Klan began as a terrorist group in the South after the Civil War. It’s had a very long shelf life and is still in existence today, one of a reported 917 U.S. hate groups.

A new book by historian Linda Gordon focuses on the Klan of the 1920s, when it was completely reinvented. Gone was the secrecy from the early days.