We're very pleased to publish Douglas Tallamay's original essay for the Reader on the importance of oak trees. For an even deeper dive we highly recommend his 2021 book The Nature of Oaks. It's full of richly produced color photos and its presentation is a work of art unto itself. Here's an excerpt from the book, regarding how and why the oak tree is the “keystone species.”

We hear much about the climate crisis, and rightly so. What many of us fail to appreciate is that our disregard for the well-being of biodiversity, is as grave a threat to humans as climate change is, because it is healthy, productive ecosystems, not Best Buy or Costco, that support us, and it is biodiversity that makes ecosystems healthy and productive. To put it bluntly, we are destroying the natural world that we cannot live without.

The resulting deformation of the emerging leaves is heartbreaking. Over the last 20 years, we have called several times, and asked for an inspector to come and collect damaged leaf samples for the analysis by IDALS, the Iowa department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The results come back with a cocktail of noxious chemicals, and always include Acetochlor, Atrazine, and, in recent years, Dicamba and 2,4-D.

Shadowproof and Project Censored present a conversation between Kevin Gosztola and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to mark the release of Kevin’s book Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange. The book is available from Censored Press and Seven Stories Press. It is a crucial and compelling guide to the United States government’s case against the WikiLeaks founder and the implications for press freedom.

The Illinois Senate debated and passed several bills last Thursday dealing with what the news media likes to call “culture war” issues. Perhaps the least controversial (there was almost no debate) was House Bill 1591, which deletes some anti-miscegenation laws still on the books since 1915. Even so, nine Republicans voted against the bill.

We’re going to talk some history today. According to testimony at the federal ComEd Four trial, then-House Speaker Michael Madigan’s former 13th Ward Alderperson Frank Olivo was brought on as a subcontractor under then-ComEd Chairman and CEO Frank Clark.

The now-notorious violent youth riot in downtown Chicago during a recent weekend got me to thinking of a press conference way back in 2010. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley voiced frustration about what he said were large groups of suburban kids causing trouble on Chicago’s lakefront, even though plenty of Chicago kids were also participating, including six teens who brutally attacked an 18-year-old suburban woman. Mayor Daley complained that the youths would text each other to organize their mayhem.

A couple of Chicago mayoral race polling results from last month have been stuck in my head ever since they were released.

If you’re getting a strong and unpleasant sense of déjà vu about the new U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates for counties, including Cook County, you’re not alone. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8) is feeling it as well. Krishnamoorthi, who sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, has been trying to force the Census Bureau to retool its population estimates because they have been so awfully inaccurate going back years and years.

Planned Demolition 1008 APR 2023 River Cities Reader Ed Newmann Cartoon

For those who may wonder why we are reporting on the World Health Organization's (WHO) activities, please keep in mind that in March of 2020, both Iowa Governor Reynolds and Illinois Governor Pritzker issued emergency disaster proclamations that would be reissued for nearly three years. Both governors cite the WHO in their declarations as one of the authorities they were relying on to implement the subsequent draconian measures in our states. Until we have leadership that does not bow down to such faux global authority and undue influence, we had better well pay attention.