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updated: 1/7/2011 8:56 PM

The Soapbox: Fading sympathy

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Daily Herald Editorial Board

Which is more shabby, prosecutors revealing ex-Gov. George Ryan's two-hour visit with his dying wife or Ryan's attorneys playing the sympathy card to try to get him freed on bail? Both acts feel like manipulation. What's saddest is how the political intrigues have overshadowed and diminished the human suffering taking place.

Doing white-collar time:

And just in case you're thinking your white-collar crime won't net you anything worse than a stay at a light-security federal prison like the one where Ryan is incarcerated, the former governor's current travails should give you pause. As Ryan has found, Club Fed is clearly no day at the beach.

Christmas lights, on second thought:

On New Year's Day in this space we suggested it was time to take down your Christmas decorations. Well, many of you gave us an appropriate earful, inspiring us to write a story about how the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day.

Christmas lights, OK, now they can go:

Journalists are notoriously bad at math, but we've checked our work enough times to know that those 12 days are now really over.

Keep it to one office, please:

When a candidate is knocked off a ballot, the effort behind it sometimes reflects the worst of politics. But one case we wholeheartedly support is the booting of West Chicago city council candidate Donna May, who put incorrect dates on her petitions. May will still be running for library board and, in our opinion, one bid at a time is enough.

Promising idea:

The Heart of a Marine Foundation's plan to have a special race at next year's Tour of Elk Grove for disabled veterans sounds like a great way to include disabled veterans in the everyday social life of our local communities. Here's hoping it's a successful enterprise.

Hint, hint, Illinois lawmakers:

U.S. House members voted to trim their office budgets by 5 percent this year. The resolution is largely symbolic as it will save only $35 million in federal dollars. But it sets a fine example of fiscal restraint, and particularly given the financial mess state government has made in Springfield, it's the least the General Assembly could do.

Green machines:

More libraries should join Sugar Grove, Carol Stream, Poplar Creek, Oak Brook and Wood Dale in loaning out Kill-A-Watt meters, offered courtesy of ComEd, that patrons can take home to measure their appliances' power use. It's an easy way to find where to trim electrical costs -- both monetary and environmental.

Symbol of America:

There is something about seeing a bald eagle up close in the wild (well, the suburbs) that stirs the soul of any American. As many as a dozen of the majestic birds are flying around the Fox River in downtown Elgin, prompting people to flock there as well. Check it out.

Enjoy it while you can:

No matter where you stand on the federal tax compromise, it's tough not to smile about the small boost in take-home pay that will start with the first paychecks of 2011. This year, wage earners will pay 4.2 percent into Social Security instead of 6.2 percent. Of course, if Illinois raises income taxes, we may not even notice it.

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