Peggy Boyer Long

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When I began my tenure as editor of Illinois Issues a little more than 13 years ago, I sought advice from a few friends and former colleagues. What, I wanted to know, would they like to see the magazine become? What did they most want to see it accomplish?

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"At the end of the day, do people really care whether or not the Cubs win in 14 innings or 9 innings?" Blagojevich told reporters today. "It's whether they win or lose."

Posted August 1 by Monique Garcia
Clout Street
Chicago Tribune Web Edition

Ah, baseball. That most American of pastimes. But these days some of the better players are imports.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Who would have guessed it. Reporters for a monthly print magazine won a national award in online beat reporting. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Nine summers ago, we published the first of what would become an annual issue devoted to Illinois' natural environment. With this edition, we aim to start a new tradition.

Each summer, we will assess the evolving relationship between nature and culture in an annual environment and arts issue. We think this is (excuse the expression) a natural next step. After all, our environment is, and always has been, a social construct. It is how we perceive it to be, how we see it or don't see it, and how that has changed over time.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"It was true that over the years I consistently evoked strong feelings, but voters had elected a fighter. What's wrong with confronting a problem and fighting for the right solution?"

Dan Walker
The Maverick and the Machine: 
Governor Dan Walker Tells His Story

Illinois political history is a long-running study in character. It's a morality play intoned by a Greek chorus and a solitary plea from the wings. It's heroism and tragedy, and sometimes comedy, in an endless series of acts. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Perhaps the answer might be found in the stories and also in the voices of some Illinoisans who themselves live in the poorest communities in the state ? among the poorest in America." 

John Wesley Fountain

Question & Answer: J. Thomas Johnson

Apr 1, 2007

He was chosen president of the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois a year ago this month. Prior to that, he was a state and local tax partner at accounting firms Grant Thornton and KPMG.

He served on the Illinois Gaming Board from 1990 to 1999, becoming chairman in 1993. Through the 1980s, he served in Gov. James Thompson's Cabinet as director of the Department of Local Government Affairs and then  the Department of Revenue.

"You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns! You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!"

William Jennings Bryan
1896 Democratic National Convention

OK, so Gov. Rod Blagojevich never actually uttered the words cross of gold in his faux-populist State of the State/budget address, but he seemed to be straining to channel some of the Salem, Ill.-born Bryan's anti-corporate, pro-labor spirit.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

So it begins. Illinois lawmakers have returned to Springfield and are getting under way on what could become the most significant spring session in recent memory — and most likely the longest-running since 2004, when an overtime session threatened lawmakers' July 4th festivities. 

That year, the state budget was a shambles. Officials were sitting on overdue bills, delaying obligations to public pension systems and ignoring needed repairs on roads and schools. Lawmakers took a swing at providing adequate per pupil funding but dropped the ball on inequities in school spending.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Will he or won't he? By the time you read this, you're likely to know. But in mid-January, as we get the issue ready for the printer, we don't have that advantage — despite lots of telephone conversations with and e-mails from Dan Vock, who wrote our cover story out of D.C., Webgrams from any number of sources and early reports by Anderson Cooper. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Psssst. Staying informed might be the best way to get even.

In this issue, political scientist Brian Gaines suggests Illinoisans could get — maybe, perhaps — fed up enough with political corruption they would be willing to push for big changes. 

He says it happened in Italy, so hey. Not that Gaines, a savvy guy on electoral behavior, thinks this is a given by any stretch. But we assigned him to consider it and he was game.

Julian Ambros Malaga wore his red-striped soccer jersey for good luck.

Mario Castillo had crossed before. He once spent eight months living and working in Galena, Ill.

Enrique LanderosGarcía wanted to make a better life for his wife  Octavia and their son Alexis.

In the end, Reymundo Barreda Maruri had to hold up his boy Reymundo Jr. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Let's admit it. This has been one dreary election. Even here at the magazine, where we take the long view, we're feeling out of sorts, a bit off-kilter. 

The fiscal machinery of state is in disrepair, and most likely dated, yet candidates aren't disposed to offer much beyond tinkering with a few of the gears. Indictments fall like a hard rain, yet politicians suggest little more than a short dash for ethical cover.

Who, we wonder, has enough moxie to get us back on track, or enough vision to point the way.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"[T]he more I see and know of the politicians in this state, the less respect and confidence I have in them." 

Edward Coles 
Illinois ' second governor 
from Mostly Good and Competent Men
by Robert P. Howard

A former governor has been sentenced. The current governor is under investigation. And, as we see in this month's issue, a recent poll shows voters aren't inspired by this year 's contenders.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A decade after federal welfare reform began to move women with children from welfare to work, activists and scholars are turning a spotlight on the plight of America's young black men. 

While women have made some social and economic gains under policies designed to promote work and limit public assistance, young men are losing ground. Black men in particular. Studies released this summer show that, more than any other cohort, black males increasingly are disconnected from school and from work.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

My grandmother could kill half a dozen chickens in a matter of minutes. 

Bessie Revelle Dragoo had the strong arms of an Illinois farm woman, the ample waist of a good cook and the unsentimental manner that comes from being an old hand at getting the main course to the table. 

She could grab a hen by the head with one hand, swing the bird aloft in a wide arc, slam it onto a stump and bring an ax down with the other hand. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

As early as 1932, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis argued states are potential policy innovators. His evocative phrase, "laboratories of democracy," gained instant and durable fame. But these days, there's a more pertinent maxim for the challenges states face: "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Among my memories of the 1970s — filed between images of motorists seething in long gas lines and Iranian militants kidnapping U.S. embassy staff — is the picture of President Jimmy Carter on national television in the winter of 1977 announcing his new energy policy.

Wearing a practical, grandfatherly cardigan, Carter managed to wrap the growing global energy crisis in old-fashioned can-do. Americans could, Carter assured them, reduce their dependence on oil if they simply used less of it.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois Issues has logged onto the blogosphere.

Bethany Carson, our Statehouse bureau chief, launched the magazine's first online journal, known as a Web log, blog for short, just in time to track the scheduled end of this spring's legislative session.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

How much is enough? A few steak dinners? First-class flights to better fairways? A million or more in undeclared cash? What if even that is not enough? What if there is no enough?

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Fasten those seat belts. The spring legislative session is on a fast track. This being an election year, no one wants to run into unexpected controversies. This being Illinois, the ride could get bumpy.

Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn April 7, nearly two months before the state's constitutional deadline. But in these next few weeks, they'll have a lot of ground to cover. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Can we ensure the safety of the nation, yet protect the civil liberties of Americans? Can we secure the homeland, yet guarantee the rights of detainees on foreign soil? Can we retool our government for an uncertain future, yet maintain our democratic principles?

The need to come to consensus on these issues grew more urgent as the old year slipped into the new. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We began with a question. What could capture readers' attention in this busy time between Thanksgiving and New Year's? Ten years later, Illinois Issues' December arts issue has become a tradition, popular with subscribers and staff alike.

Over the years, these issues have been visually appealing, as we meant them to be. But here's the surprise: Reporting on the relationship between culture and politics is a challenge, as intellectually demanding in its own way as any form of public affairs journalism. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Looking for a political leader? You might try the nearest mirror.

Shortly before he died in 2003, Paul Simon concluded that elected officials are counting on you and me to tell them what to do. His book, Our Culture of Pandering, published that year, examined what he called the "harsh reality" of our civic life: leaders who won't lead. 

Politicians, Simon wrote, consider winning more important than the public interest, and spend much of their time testing the winds through polls. In other words, they put considerable energy into trying to understand and please us.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

What does a sewer back-up have to do with education? Or for that matter an electrical short? Or a boiler malfunction?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

One school superintendent tells our Statehouse reporter Pat Guinane her district has had to cancel classes because of sewer back-ups. "We're kind of in a low area," says Ruth Schneider of the Stewardson-Strasburg district, "and when it rains real hard we get sewer back-ups — and sometimes even when it doesn't rain. The lines are just old and crumbling and need to be replaced."

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We knew it was hot. But forget the TV weather guy's comparisons to last summer's heat index, or even   the summer's before that. Try telling the neighbors we're living in one of the warmest periods of the past 100,000 years.

We've had good reason to think about the weather this year. But the scientists over at the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign tend to think much longer term, and they've concluded it's warmer by 7 degrees to 8 degrees Fahrenheit than the last stage of the ice age that ended 11,000 years ago.

Editor's Notebook: It's summer reading time, naturally

Jul 1, 2005
Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We ignore at our peril the power and indifference of nature. 

This is worth considering as we head into the far side of summer. Before we hit that hiking trail or take to Lake Michigan in a canoe, we might want to stay indoors long enough to pick up a couple of books that render this essential point in hair-raising detail.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Why can't politicians behave like the work-for-tomorrow ant instead of the live-in-the-moment grasshopper?

Illinois Issues raised this question in January as we launched our year-long celebration of the magazine's 30th anniversary. In his thought-provoking response, political scientist Christopher Mooney explained why this state's elected officials have little incentive to plan ahead. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Jean Bethke Elshtain argues that we need more religion in politics. 

Her essay on this point is timely. And we expect it will be controversial. At least we hope so. We commissioned Elshtain, a political philosopher at the University of Chicago Divinity School, as Illinois Issues' first Paul Simon Essayist. Then we asked her to explore the underpinnings of our civic life.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Some formidable challenges lie ahead. 

We've suggested a few already in this, the magazine's 30th anniversary year. We've assessed the changing economy, analyzed potential impacts on the nature of work and outlined possible implications for policy. And we've raised a few of the ethical questions that underlie advances in biotechnology. 

In the months ahead, we'll get down to brass tacks on the state's physical infrastructure and take another extended look at education funding.

Pages