THUMBS UP! To Cory Barrows. The retired Decatur policeman had an eventful post-retirement. A video depicted him signing off for the last time and suddenly dancing to “Footloose” while in uniform. The clip became an international viral sensation, and anyone watching likely enjoyed it with a smile.
THUMBS DOWN! And enough already with the rumors of commutation of Rod Blagojevich's sentence. The former Illinois governor was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in 2011 after being found guilty of 17 of 20 counts of illegally attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by then-President-elect Barack Obama. President Trump floated the possibility of commutation (without pardoning Blagojevich) in spring of 2018 and has brought it up again recently, but pulled the talk back days later. The extra-special treat this time around is Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, is making political hay off the discussion by making it clear he had talked to the president and recommended (along with other Illinois Republican congressmen) against the move. From this point forward, gentlemen, please have these discussions quietly and let us know when a decision is made, not that one is being pondered.
THUMBS UP! To the return of students to schools, colleges and universities. Not all of them are happy to be there, of course, and not all of the guardians who now turn over weekday responsibility for their charges to the schools are happy they're gone. But the annual ritual, which has played out for decades, is always a source of some kind of growth. May the students be challenged and enjoy their learning and social experiences.
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THUMBS DOWN! To the argument against violent video games. Whenever a mass shooting takes place – and look at that start of a sentence again with horror at the ability to use “whenever” – any number of items are made figures of blame. The jump from video game violence to real-life violence is a ridiculously presumptuous one, ignoring any number of other factors. The knee-jerk idea that the elimination of video games would lead to the elimination of murders would be laughable were it not for the fact that so many Americans think a solution to the issue is so simple.
THUMBS UP! To donors. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White was at the Decatur Drivers License Facility Tuesday to deliver a display promoting organ donation. The display features Giannah Wilkins, a 21-month-old Decatur girl who received a donor heart when she was seven weeks old. Wilkins was born with a congenital condition. Paying tribute to the Decatur girl and her donor and reinforcing the idea of donors is exactly the kind of thing that makes a community special.
THUMBS UP! To the approaching conclusion of the Decatur side of a pathway connecting a future Mount Zion route to East Lost Bridge Road. Macon County bike trails are a justifiable source of pride in our communities, and this one is bound to be a special addition.