WNIJ Perspectives

A Difficult Choice For Budget Cuts

Mar 12, 2015

Monday during this segment Governor Bruce Rauner was criticized for proposing a 36% reduction in human services spending, and I agree it is a tragedy that we must cut our support for Illinois’s most vulnerable just to balance our books.

This kind of cut, though, is our only option.

Don't Block Libraries' Internet Access

Mar 11, 2015

Last month Rep. Peter Breen, from the 48th District in Lombard, introduced House Bill 2689 to create the Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act.

This would require all Illinois public libraries to have a "technology protection measure to prevent the display on a public computer of any visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.”

A Shift In Driver Training

Mar 10, 2015

“You left your transmission back there. You’re not shifting right. This is a standard H,” says Julia Roberts to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, as he grinds the gears on the Lotus Esprit.

That scene is becoming rare. Fewer than 7 percent of cars sold in the US have manual transmission, according to USA Today.

The torque pull and hum of the RPMs as you shift from second to third. Downshifting in the snow and letting the clutch prevent you from skidding. It’s not the same when the car is doing that work for you.

Is It Really About The Numbers?

Mar 9, 2015

For Illinois, it’s all about the numbers…Bruce Rauner spent 65.3 million dollars to win his bid for governor or approximately $36.00 per vote.

Of the $65.3 million spent in the campaign, Rauner wrote a personal check for $27.6 million from his own checking account.

Governor Rauner has an estimated wealth of $500 million plus some loose change. Be assured, I am not bashing people who are wealthy.

What Is Worth Worth, Anyway?

Mar 6, 2015
Carl Nelson

It’s hardly news that the Oscars don’t really celebrate what Kanye West would call “artistry” so much as raw dollars, and that the whole event is a depressing exercise in financial auditing.

Still, when this year’s show began with host Neil Patrick Harris calling out Oprah Winfrey for being “rich,” I was taken aback. Even for an event steeped in gaucherie, this seemed in bad taste.

Adult Roles in Youth Sports

Mar 5, 2015

Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to hearing about scandals in the world of professional sport, but recently professional scandals took a backseat to one from Little League Baseball.

I’m not going to focus on the Chicago story or the boys on that team who did nothing wrong. I want to talk about what I expect from the adults who run youth sport programs.

A lot of problems in youth sport start with adults modeling it after professional sport. In some programs, the competition is too intense, the training is too intense, and even the fans are too intense.

Good Policy Needs A Clear Definition

Mar 4, 2015

The Obama Administration and its critics will never agree on terrorism policy until they stop defining the problem in diametrically opposed terms. They dispute policy because they view the problem through different lenses.
 

The administration sees the problem as one of ‎criminal justice. Terrorists break the law and must be "brought to justice."  Critics claim we are at war with terrorism, thus the rules of war govern.

Curing A Bad Case Of The Doldrums

Mar 3, 2015
Elsa Andreasen Glover

A bad case of the doldrums hit my seventh-grade classes in February.  

The expression comes from a maritime term describing that area in the ocean where the winds die for periods of time.  In the doldrums, sailing ships could stand still for days waiting for a tradewind, which, at first, is a nice break.  But after days of inaction, sailors’ spirits drooped as the doldrums took over.

Sometimes We Don't Want Privacy

Mar 2, 2015

I hear a lot of crying, whining, grumbling … and even shouting … about invasion of privacy.
 

Yes, it's a valid concern … thanks to ever-advancing technology. But let me ask, do people really want privacy?

I think not. At least not all the time.

This is not about spying or eavesdropping. I'm talking about the social media, where messages are nonstop. People let the world see slices of their day — including snapshots of what they are eating. It seems silly at first, but is it?

A recent scan of my Facebook links shows me:

Something Worth Celebrating Every Day

Feb 27, 2015

As I was going through my newsfeed on Facebook Sunday night, I came across various posts from my cousins in Mexico. Each of them posted about February 15 as Day of the Woman in Mexico.

While at first I was excited and a bit jealous that there wasn’t a day commemorating a part of who I am, I then became appalled at the idea of having only one day in which women are celebrated.

If you ask me, women should be celebrated every day and in all kinds of ways. While it may come off as a bit arrogant, let’s face it: Women run the world.

A Simple Solution For Saving Monarchs

Feb 26, 2015

Thanks to the Illinois Tollway Authority for its plans to reduce mowing and rebuild milkweed habitat for the majestic Monarch butterfly. The Monarch population has dropped 90 percent in the past decade. It's been headline news across the country and on most major broadcast outlets.

It's because we are killing off the Monarchs’ plant of survival: the milkweed. In about 90 days, the roadside slaughter will begin, as Illinois road crews and farmers seem to have an addiction to mowing rural road sides.

Searching For A Different Search

Feb 25, 2015

As a librarian I’ve been helping people search for information since, oh, 20 B.G. – that’s the era “Before Google.”

In my first job at Chicago Public Library, we were responding to all kinds of quick information needs like, “Who won the 1980 World Series?,” or “When was the Great Chicago Fire?,” or “Who do I call for public aid?” We had file cabinets full of frequently asked questions and answers – arranged by subject. More in-depth questions were referred to subject-specific librarians.

Let's Let The Kids Play

Feb 24, 2015

It may be cold out, but it’s never too early to start thinking about mayhem, injuries, accidents and some of the other great things about being a kid in the summer.

Dubuque, Iowa, recently banned sledding in most of its public parks, citing risk of liability. That action continues a decades-long slide of paranoia about injury, lawsuits and other maladies that might affect our children.

Why have so many people taken leave of their senses?

A Different Definition Of Business

Feb 23, 2015

In the book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, by Tom Morris, there was a profound quote about business. Tom Morris wrote: “Business is a partnership of people creating, in many ways, a better life for others as well as ourselves.”

The key word in this definition for my business and, I dare say, yours is the word partnership. Partnership, in this definition, is based on the question: What can I do for you to get you to cooperate with me? Weren’t we all raised with statements like: What goes around comes around; You reap what you sow?

When Is A 'Lie' Not A Lie?

Feb 20, 2015

Please don’t take this as a defense of Brian Williams about whom I, not being much of a TV news consumer, probably know less than you.

But if I had been on that second helicopter, there is no way I in the retelling wouldn't move up to the first. And it would have less to do with trying to look like a hero or stealing unearned glory and more to do with telling a good story. Listeners don't want you on the second helicopter; they need you in the middle of the action.

The Kind Of Love Worthy Of A Card

Feb 19, 2015

"All You Need is Love..."

It’s a great song, but it ain’t true.

What could I possibly say about this luscious, erotic, much-sought-after experience that has not already been said or sung by great masters?

Love is so important that the absence of it drives people to despair and wretchedness.

I found myself (with some amusement) watching the commercials urging couples to lavish the ones they love with flowers, candy diamonds and getaway weekends. Hmmmm.

The love I celebrate is not found on the inside of a card. It's messy.

How To Handle Being Told 'No'

Feb 18, 2015

This month the seventh-graders and I wondered about how to deal when people tell us no. In U.S. history, many groups are marginalized and told no over and over. Oddly, it happens so much during childhood that kids get used to being told no. They may believe that they cannot accomplish their dreams.

So we looked to Bessie Coleman for help. Nearly 100 years ago Coleman, an African American, dreamt of flying airplanes. Women then were not allowed to fly airplanes. In fact, African American women were not allowed decent schooling, jobs that paid well, or even basic respect.

Policing Policy To Empower Citizens

Feb 18, 2015

The headlines are wrong.  There need not be conflict between cops and citizens‎ in our communities.  In fact, there are policing strategies that reduce crime while empowering citizens.
 

The overarching strategy is community oriented. Rather than cruising in patrol cars, reacting to emergency calls, officers immerse themselves in the community and become part of it. They get to know citizens and their concerns.  Cops and citizens cooperate and develop an understanding.

It's A Matter Of Trust

Feb 16, 2015

I don't want the next few seconds to scare you.  

Especially if you are driving over a bridge right now.

Another Take On That Egg-Vs.-Chicken Thing

Feb 13, 2015
Dan Klefstad

Editor's note: NIU faculty member Dan Libman presented his Perspective on the age-old question of the sequence in which chickens and eggs arrive. It was somewhat tongue in cheek, but one of Libman's colleagues offered this more serious riposte:

Dan, I appreciate your perspective on this age-old question, but I’m afraid your interpretation is foundationally, logically, and fundamentally incorrect.

Get Passenger Service On The Right Track

Feb 12, 2015

Northern Illinois University is the only state-run college in Illinois not served by Amtrak. This fact seems perpetually shelved by those in state and federal government who research ways to expand Amtrak in Illinois.

Plans for a new Amtrak line from Chicago to Rockford to Galena are moving forward steadily and, by government standards, aggressively. Do those in charge of choosing new Amtrak service, and Amtrak itself, really believe a line to Galena is going to make money?

Reading Online Can Help You Meet Goals

Feb 11, 2015

Are you planning to read more this year and catch up on some of the "Best of 2014" lists?  Chances are you’ll be using an e-reader or other mobile device and accessing e-books from your library or a commercial website.

Maybe your local library is participating in “eRead Illinois,” a program made possible by a grant from the Illinois Secretary of State and the State Library.  You can see the list of libraries at www.ereadillinois.com.

Get Back To Where We Once Belonged

Feb 10, 2015

If you’re a parent with kids in traveling sports, you certainly understand the impact of sports tourism on your wallet.

The Rockford region has long been a leader in sports tourism. However, in recent years we fell behind as other communities invested in sports facilities and captured tournaments that previously had come to our region.

Now, thanks to the Reclaiming First initiative led by the Rockford Park District and Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are poised to “reclaim first” in the competition for the economic benefits of sports tourism.

What Makes A Student Of Ethics?

Feb 9, 2015

If one is to be ethical, does it mean that one should study ethics?

It seems to me that many people say they are ethical and maybe they are, but doesn’t it beg the question that to be truly ethical, one needs to be proactive in the actual study of ethics? Not just an ethics course in college but an ongoing process of the study of thinking ethically?

We can learn behavioral ethics from mentors, family and other significant people in our lives through role modeling. But is it really enough to continually sustain our “being ethical?”

Which Really Came First?

Feb 6, 2015

Want to know which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’ll tell you because I know. This is not a trick to keep you listening, I actually do have the answer.

Ever since I became a chicken owner, I have become increasingly aware of how difficult it is to discuss my flock. Not because this area of animal husbandry is particularly complex; in fact, the opposite is true. Tending chickens is so primal, so basic, that it defies metaphor itself.

What Can I Do Each Day?

Feb 5, 2015

When I was young my neighborhood extended to the end of the block – we kids knew the good or bad of everyone.  Today my neighborhood is the world, with unlimited boundaries and scopes for my imagination.

Now more than ever, the actions of one can and will touch many lives and the ripple will be beyond my view.  Living in this world requires a different sense of accountability for my behavior.  I no longer act alone.

Leaders Must Address Our Plight

Feb 4, 2015

Bruce Rauner is now governor.  He inherited‎, and thus we face, a budgetary crisis.   Both national and regional news media have described our plight in detail, and in depressing terms.

The current budget will expire in June and, unless something is done we will face a huge deficit.  Actually, things might get much worse, since the temporary income tax increase has expired.   Either spending must be cut, taxes must increase, or both. Otherwise we will face a rolling disaster.

A Standard For Student Dreams

Feb 3, 2015

I teach American History to seventh-graders. With a zest for life and no care about Common Core Standards, students cut to the chase. Why learn obscure facts? Why show text evidence and analyze primary sources? Common Core states I have to teach these things. So I do. But I teach more.

Teaching American History reaches beyond facts and skills. Kids need to understand and actively live out their own American Dreams—to create worlds that do not exist yet.

Are You Really Listening?

Jan 30, 2015

Stephen Hawking, a brilliant mind trapped in a paralyzed body, made this observation:
 

"For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen."

Well, genius as he is, I have to say Mr. Hawking was only half right.

People certainly have learned how to talk (and talk and talk and talk), but I am not so sure they really know how to listen.

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