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In 2002, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was one of only 23 senators to vote against the invasion of Iraq. On Thursday, Durbin he voted for a measure to train and equip “appropriately vetted” Syrian forces to battle the Islamic State group. | M. Spencer Green/AP

Why Durbin voted yes on funding Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON — On Oct. 11, 2002, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was one of only 23 senators to vote against the invasion of Iraq. That was a vote that has defined Durbin ever since. “. . . I remember my thinking on that October night 2002 that we should hold back, not get involved in Iraq. And I think I was right. I think history proved me right,” Durbin said. Durbin was explaining why he would be voting for a measure to train and equip Syrian forces to battle the Islamic State group.

The hidden link twixt rail safety and Byron

Metra tries not to kill its customers. It really does. Say what you will about our commuter rail service: its jaw-dropping top-level mismanagement, creaky equipment and seasonal surprise at finding itself once again in a cold climate. But when it comes to sparing the hectic, harried, charmless lives of the commuters who travel its length, Metra is outstanding. 


Something smells in Little Village

If not for its unbearable stench, Collateral Channel would go unnoticed in Little Village. Covered by trees and brush, the slip of water on the north side of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is barely visible to traffic along 31st Street near Cook County Jail. But residents who live nearby cannot escape the smell produced by sewer overflows and a century of pollution. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a City Council meeting on Sept. 10. On Thursday, he dropped plans to name a new selective enrollment high school on the Near North Side after his former boss, President Barack Obama. | Al Podgorski/Sun-Times Media

Emanuel is missing a larger issue with school name

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to name a high school planned for the North Side in honor of President Barack Obama may keep the president’s name out of a nasty re-election campaign. But it won’t stop the mayor’s opponents from using the issue as part of the “tale of two cities” narrative that has grown since Emanuel was elected in 2011.


Three Ways ACA is affecting Business

More often than not, when healthcare reform is brought up, the impact and the interests of businesses are lumped together, as if each faces with the same challenges as the next.

Off Message: Fioretti's mayoral prospects

Fresh off his announcement that he's running for mayor, Ald. Bob Fioretti stops by Off Message to talk with Natasha Korecki, Fran Spielman and Dan Mihalopoulos about why he's running, the hurdles he faces and how he plans to defeat Rahm Emanuel, $25 at a time.

John Crombie, owner of the Duke of Perth, works the North Side bar as Chicago Scots meet to watch the results of Scotland's vote on independence Thursday evening. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Chicago Scots gather as they await results of independence vote

John Crombie, 59, who has owned the Duke of Perth bar for 25 years, is a native of Dundee, Scotland. He hopes the people vote for independence. But he understands the sense of unity many Scottish people feel with England.

CTU report: Layoff of 468 custodians will add to filth at schools

“The $260 million CPS is contracted to pay Aramark is apparently not going to be used to staff sufficient numbers of school custodians,” the report said. “Some of that $260 million will be wasted on the purchase of Zamboni machines that cannot move from floor to floor in schools without sufficiently sized elevators.”

President Barack Obama delivers a statement from the White House on Wednesday evening, praising Congress for backing his plan to arm moderate Syrian rebels to battle the Islamic State group. | Jim Watson/Getty Images

Obama: Vote shows U.S. united against Islamic State group

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says a bipartisan Senate vote to authorize arming and training Syrian rebels shows the world that Americans are united in combating the Islamic State group.

Who is benefiting from the Lawndale Diabetes Project?

Gerry Allen, a resident of North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side, suffered for years with unmanaged diabetes. But, thanks to an expanded community health initiative launched in April 2012 between a local hospital  and an insurance provider, he did something he thought he’d never do.

Senate overwhelmingly approves aid to train, arm Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON — In the heat of an election campaign, Congress cleared the way for the U.S. military to train and equip Syrian rebels for a war against Islamic state militants on Thursday, reluctant ratification of a new strategy that President Barack Obama outlined scarcely a week ago.