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WASHINGTON — Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at 76, was more than the undisputed "Queen of Soul." She was one of the most important musicians of our time, a genius who soared above genres and expectations to create music that will live forever.

WASHINGTON — Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), the author and broadcaster, said he was a pessimist about tomorrow but an optimist about the day after tomorrow. Regarding America's economy, prudent people should reverse that.

Thanks to the deep, deep pockets of Illinois' Republican and Democrat candidates for governor, residents hear campaign commercial after campaign commercial about how horrible the other guy will be if elected. What we don't hear a lot about are solutions to the state's fiscal problems, but so…

Here are some of the good things readers noticed around the area recently:

WASHINGTON — No sooner had I ordered the 2011 book "Less Than Human" for a late-summer read than President Trump called Omarosa Manigault Newman a "dog" and a "lowlife." Those two slurs fit nicely into author David Livingstone Smith's philosophical study of man's capacity to inflict cruelty …

Rick Wilson was minding his own business as a Republican operative when Donald Trump happened. Though his commercials for GOP candidates often pressed thorns in liberal flanks, he won broad respect as a principled conservative.

WASHINGTON — Governments, seemingly eager to supply their critics with ammunition, constantly validate historian Robert Conquest: The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies. Consider North Carolina's…

Political leaders and journalists in American share a long and often contentious history. The latest battles between President Donald Trump and the majority of the press corps covering his administration, however, differ from those in the past.

WASHINGTON — It's hard to take Omarosa Manigault Newman's word for anything. But Lordy she has tapes, and they offer vivid proof that Donald Trump's White House is part clown show, part nest of vipers.

Amid the supply lists, new gym shoes and general anxiety of going into a new classroom, Illinois students should feel a bit better as they enter school this fall thanks to a list of recommendations by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force on School Safety.

Before the story fully fades from view, it's important to remember one of the most shameful episodes in a shameful presidency: the Trump administration's policy of "zero tolerance" toward illegal immigrants that separated more than 2,500 children from their parents.

On meeting with the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: "Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade." Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump's phone?

I vehemently oppose the attempt to change Danville’s form of government from mayor-aldermanic to city manager-aldermanic for the following reasons:

WASHINGTON — Scholars have already debated for decades, and will debate for centuries, the role U.S. policies — military, diplomatic, economic — played in bringing the Cold War to endgame and the Soviet Union to extinction. One milestone was Ronald Reagan's 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative …

Sometimes, we can take familiar faces for granted. We see them day after day, generally looking the same, and we forget how important they can be. Whether at work or at home, we need to remember the value of those familiar faces.

CHICAGO — Last week, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration must restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily allows young undocumented immigrants to work and removes the threat of deportation.

WASHINGTON — President Trump, who has been relentlessly criticized by the national news media, has declared them to be "the enemy of the people."

"For many years ... I never rested," Ray Stannard Baker wrote more than a century ago. "I neither thought nor reflected. I had no pleasure, even though I pursued it fiercely during the brief respite of vacations. Through many feverish years I did not work: I merely produced."

One possible lesson of the many brazen, conspicuous scandals related to President Trump and others in his orbit: The U.S. government has been massively underinvesting in enforcement and prosecution of white-collar crime.

WASHINGTON — It's a given that political candidates will target each other with as much oppositional propaganda as they can get away with. But with the Kremlin now playing a third-party shadow role in U.S. elections, the usual game seems to be shifting from blood sport to cold war.

The Vermilion County Conservation District begins a new era with the naming of long-time associate director Jamie Pasquale as director. He succeeds Ken Konsis, who retired earlier this year.

WASHINGTON — Economic growth surged last quarter. Unsurprisingly, President Trump and his supporters were quick to crow that this means Trumponomics has been validated at last.

You know these words, but how often do you stop to think about them? “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to…

Nearly two-thirds of Hoosiers support the passage of a hate crimes law in Indiana, according to the 2017 Hoosier Survey by Old National Bank and Ball State University's Bowen Center for Public Affairs.

One of the summer's biggest events, begins its run Saturday at the fairgrounds on Seminary Street. Events are scheduled through Aug. 11.

I suppose that if Ireland had played in the recent World Cup, I'd have cheered them on. As a child, I was taught to be Irish before American, although nobody saw those as conflicting identities. My family's was a relatively benign version of Hibernian nationalism, probably because World War …

LOS ANGELES — November's congressional elections will decide which party will control a narcoleptic institution that is uninterested in performing fundamental functions: Only 43 of the 535 House and Senate seats — 10 in the Senate, 33 in the House — are occupied by legislators who were servi…

WASHINGTON — As of Monday, 711 children who were effectively kidnapped and held hostage by the Trump administration remain in government custody, supposedly "ineligible" to be reunited with their families. What happens to them now? The government won't say, apparently doesn't know and eviden…