WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: The Creeping Menace Of Bureaucracy

Nov 26, 2019
Mariann Szoke / Pixabay

Since the 1921 publication of Max Weber’s Economy and Society throngs of writers have analyzed the problem of bureaucracies.

Bureaucracies. You know? “I have to fill out a form, to fill out a form, for this request?”

I’m a university professor and I can assure you that in higher education, bureaucracy is creeping.

Bureaucracies don’t exist to fix the problems they allege to address but only to ensure the impossibility of further discussion about them.

Perspective: Hide Your Light Under A Bushel

Nov 25, 2019
Daniel Reche / Pixabay

It’s my perspective that we have quite a lot of God-fearing perspectives on this here radio station…and it’s about time that we restore some balance.

Without fear of reprisals, I am an atheist. It’s no big deal…I just don’t have the faith that you religious types do. Whenever I hear/see someone who wears their religion on their sleeve, to my Midwestern mind, it’s quite off-putting. I keep my atheism to myself. I am sure you’re thrilled.

Perspective: The Virtue Of Being Remembered

Nov 22, 2019
public domain / Wikimedia


My wife likes to keep the light on and read every night, so my daughter, ever thoughtful, bought me a sleeping mask. My wife, she who will not turn out the lamp, finds this amusing and calls me “Miss Dorothy Kilgallen.” To what is my wife referring?  


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: Season Of Song

Nov 20, 2019
Marnie O. Mamminga

The toes are tapping, and I am glad of it.

Not one foot, but dozens of them scattered under the semicircle of chairs for the first middle school band concert of the year. Some are on the downbeat, some are on the up beat, but all, mostly, are in sync.

And I am glad of it, not only for the happiness of these tapping toes, but because back in my long ago youth, toe tapping was strictly forbidden at a concert even though every ounce of our young souls wanted to do otherwise.

Perspective: The Real Multilingual Heroes

Nov 19, 2019
Oli Lynch / Pixabay

Perspectives author Elsa Glover occasionally recruits fellow teachers or students to take over her regular slot in the schedule and share their opinions with WNIJ listeners. Today, we hear from Kaneland High School Spanish teacher Dylan Donley.


Perspective: A Culture Of Affluence And Greed

Nov 18, 2019
QuinceMedia / Pixabay

Jim Cramer, former hedge fund manager and now television personality giving investment advice to millions said, “What’s important when you are in that hedge-fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful because the truth is so against your view, that it’s important to create a new truth to develop a fiction.” 


Perspective: Coat Pocket Surprises

Nov 15, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ



Perspective: The Dirt On Comfort Foods

Nov 14, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Although it’s only mid-November, the weather’s taken quite the wintery turn. While we’re laying in supplies for our Thanksgiving dinners, we may find ourselves stocking up on other comfort foods, as well. There are scientific reasons we crave high calorie treats, especially this time of year.  


Perspective: #Blessed?

Nov 13, 2019
Daniel Pascoa / Unsplash

There are many things I don’t understand about our society. I often verbalize those annoyances to my family where I’m usually met with my daughter accusing me of being an “old man yelling at a cloud.” 


Perspective: Another Take On The Good Samaritan

Nov 12, 2019
Gerd Altman / Pixabay

After Jesus said the law is summed up in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself,” a hot shot preacher type piped up, “Who is my neighbor?”

“There was a man beat up by robbers and left to die,” Jesus said. He went on to talk about how the hot shot preacher types walked on by. It was the outsider, the hated Samaritan who stopped and helped the man, putting him up at an inn with plenty of money for his care. Jesus told the hot shot, “Go and do likewise.” I bet Jesus knew who the man needed to tend.

Perspective: Veteran's Day

Nov 11, 2019
Roman Grac / Pixabay

Today is Veterans Day, one of two national holidays devoted to honoring our armed services. On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave what Lincoln termed "the last full measure of devotion." Today we pause as a nation to say, "Thank you for your service." 


Dario Morandotti / Unsplash

The hard part of living is the dying. 

I’m not talking about me. I know life ends for us all. But lately the hard part of living is knowing -- and seeing -- others who are dying. 


Perspective: Am I Doing Enough?

Nov 7, 2019
Severin Hoin / Unsplash

I have a friend who is relentless about protesting the current administration. Attending opposition rallies, picketing, gathering signatures. She has an urgent feel to her activities, as though the world depends on her. She is daunting, she is at it every day. My friend looks a bit over the edge. Her fear is palpable. 


Perspective: Let's Make History Again

Nov 6, 2019
Imperial War Museum / Crown copyright. IWM (HU 73009)

The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is approaching.  


President Reagan had challenged Gorbachev to “tear down this wall;” as students we chuckled in disbelief, “yeah, right.”  

Perspective: In The Presence Of A Blues Legend

Nov 5, 2019
Tom Beetz / cc by 2.0

Have you ever been in the presence of a living legend and just wanted time to stand still or even rewind a few decades? About a week ago, I attended closing night at the Chicago International Film Festival to see The Torch, a new documentary about bluesman Buddy Guy. He was at the screening along with filmmaker Jim Ferrell and Buddy’s protégé, 20-year old Quinn Sullivan. 


Perspective: Thoughts On Impeachment

Nov 4, 2019
public domain

Last week, a divided House of Representatives decided that the impeachment of Donald Trump should proceed and now the sharks are out and there’s blood in the water. Republican supporters, in concert with Mr. Trump, seem to be scrambling to find viable defenses for him, focusing primarily on process over substance even though the impeachment processes for Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were essentially the same. Nixon’s investigation lasted two years before public testimony even began.

Perspective: Hiding Behind Quotation Marks

Nov 1, 2019

Quotation marks. They are useful when used correctly, and disturbing when they are not. In a previous Perspective, I warned against using them around the word family. Love really does make a family, and attempting to exclude certain families from consideration is hurtful and hateful. The same is true for the word marriage. The law determines one's marriage status -- not religious bias. 


Perspective: Vacation Lag

Oct 31, 2019
Sophia Livarinen / Pixabay

For the last week and a half, I have been in the lovely state of slothdom. I had a staycation that often meant staying in nightgowns until noon. Of eating a leisurely lunch. A long chat with friends. Not hunched over my desk in a scarfing session or hastily tapping out a text to a friend. Going to bed when I wanted to. Not tied to the tyranny of the clock. Getting carry-out just because it was my vacation. Going to see movies in the afternoon just because I could. Yes, it was rejuvenating. 

Perspective: Lessons From My Two-Year-Old

Oct 30, 2019
Conner Baker / Unsplash

One of my roles in life is that of mother. And to be sure, it’s my favorite. I have a two-year-old son, and while I’m perpetually teaching him what I believe are important things for him to know, he in turn teaches me the lessons that are most precious.

First is self-love. As a one year old, he mastered the art of the Little Tikes slide; he would then promptly clap for himself upon reaching the bottom. Shouldn’t we all celebrate our daily successes with such enthusiasm?

Jodi Ritter

Oct 29, 2019

Jodi Ritter is Program Assistant for a Master's program at a local university.  She is a Rockford native and an avid NPR listener who graduated from NIU with a Master of Public Health in 2016. 

Jodi lives in Rockford with her husband, their young son, two energetic dogs, and two rescue cats.  In her spare time you can find her cooking, reading, spending time with family, and embarking on little adventures.

Perspective: The Suit

Oct 29, 2019
Beloit College / YouTube

This fall I’ve given several public readings from my new book, which means I’ve had to dust off The Suit. If you know me, you’ve surely seen The Suit. I got it twenty years ago, when I was finishing my PhD and interviewing for jobs.

“You know, Fink,” said John Goulet, my major professor at UW-Milwaukee, “you’re going to have to go in debt for a suit.”

“A suit,” I gulped. I didn’t know anything about formal wear. But as a graduate student I did know about debt.

“Listen,” Dr. Goulet said, recognizing my unease. “I’ll take you shopping. But bring your credit card.”

Perspective: Upstanders And Bystanders

Oct 28, 2019
Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0

A few weeks ago, our staff took 115 8th graders to the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie as part of a unit on discrimination I’ve been teaching. As we started our tour, our docent posed a question to our group, whose answer has had profound consequences through the course of history. Her question was this: Would you be an upstander or bystander if you saw a person doing deliberate harm to another person? I could see the gears were turning in many kids’ heads as they continued through the exhibits. 

Perspective: Is Life Really A Game?

Oct 25, 2019
Sandro Schuh / Unsplash

Sports metaphors are so common that I think we take them for granted. “It’s a slam dunk,” for example. However, I’m glad that life isn’t always like a sports game.

If you’re standing in a long line at Wal-Mart, you don’t want a stripe-shirted supervisor to announce, “time out!” and abruptly close down the register. Imagine a school district instituting a policy that requires all students to work at the same pace. Every morning the teacher would pull out the yellow flag – “No speeding up, kids."

Perspective: Rural Generosity

Oct 24, 2019
David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0


In early July, our hay field needed to be harvested. As farmers know, this is not an easy “cut-and-dried” process. You need at least four to five days without rain. First, a day to mow; then drying the hay; another day to “tedd” or turn it over; a fourth day to rake into large rows – and, if dry enough, to bail it into 50 pound rectangular bales.


Needing additional help to unload and stack the bales in the barn, I calculated when to ask some guys to come. But text replies indicated no one available. Chris, a friend, my husband, John, and I would have to manage.

Perspective: Naturalization Ceremony, Anyone?

Oct 23, 2019

Few U.S. citizens witness a naturalization ceremony, and that is a shame because it is one of the most incredibly patriotic moments I have ever witnessed. 


Perspective: I Stand With Teachers

Oct 22, 2019
Wokandapix / Pixabay

For the first time in seven years, the Chicago Teachers Union is on strike. This work stoppage effects roughly 32,000 educators and 300,000 students. This obviously creates an inconvenience for parents as they scramble to find adequate care for their children while they’re out of the classroom. I feel for the student-athletes whose hard work and dedication may be in jeopardy as the playoffs are approaching. 


Perspective: Disappearing Act

Oct 21, 2019
Connie Kuntz / WNIJ

The hummingbirds left first. And it won’t be long before the loons leave too, taking with them their happy, haunting music.

All summer we enjoyed their company on a lake in Northern Wisconsin. And now, these feathered friends and hundreds of other species are leaving on their long journey across the country to as far away as the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. I wonder where they will find food and rest? How many miles will they cover in a day? Do they press on through the night guided by starlight?

But mostly, I wonder, how many will return?

Perspective: Was Columbus Competent?

Oct 18, 2019
public domain

We’ve all seen examples of competence and incompetence. I myself have seen people extremely skilled and other people who were making it up as they went along. But is there such a thing as incompetent competence, or competent incompetence?  


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.