When the Rich Get a Hair Cut

Those of us in the bottom 90 percent rarely get to see, much less interact with, the 3 million members of the top 1 percent. This explains why it may be difficult for us to wrap our heads around what life is like for them, and how dramatically their everyday lives differ from our own. What […]

On Trump’s Proposal to Ban Muslims

Donald Trump – and his supporters – should be careful when proposing that we target a group for persecution.  Who knows, morons could be next. #dumptrump

A Punch to the Gut

$100 Million for two boxers to pummel each other for our amusement.  Somehow the same system cannot find the money to provide fresh fruit to needy kids before school, or funds to hire more teachers to teach them, or a living wage for the janitors who clean up after them at the end of the […]

Why Poor Students Struggle in College

Here is an article from the New York Times that discusses some of the cultural challenges students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds confront when they go to college…

Labor Dazed

On Labor Day I took my daughter to the parade.  It’s an event full of meaning but for her it was mainly about the candy. She was not disappointed.  In a scene resembling feeding time at the barnyard candy was thrown like chicken feed from passing floats.  Children scurried, pecked at the ground, pushed and […]

This is How Power Works: A Primer and Illustration

The following post was written in 2014 during a controversy on our campus involving the resignation of a recently-hired University president, Timothy Flanagan.  In just seven months in the position Flanagan had engaged in a series of unprofessional and abusive behaviors.  The Board of Trustees paid him $480,000 to leave quietly and provided virtually no […]

The half-million dollar question

Here is a link to a guest column I wrote for our campus newspaper.  It deals with, among other things, the way that powerful actors are able to insulate themselves from accountability.  In this case the Illinois State University Board of Trustees paid a half-million dollars to its 18th president following his resignation after only […]

Four Decades Of Taxes And Spending, In 2 Graphs

Here is an interesting look from the Planet Money team at NPR at how our taxing and spending has changed little over the last forty years.  It puts the current political debate over spending and taxes in perspective. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/02/24/271558863/four-decades-of-taxes-and-spending-in-2-graphs

Let Them Eat Peppers!

I recently had a chance to visit an old friend who moved to Scotland several years ago.  He and his wife now have two beautiful children and, as happens in life after kids, our visits now entail more parenting activities than the pub-related kind. One day we went to pick up their seven year old […]