AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC
September 06, 2013

Should the US Intervene in Syria?

Do you agree with President Obama that the US should intervene in the conflict in Syria? How do you want your lawmakers to vote? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the debate and what US action would mean for people in Syria.

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January 08, 2013

The Pension Situation in Illinois

On today's show, we turn our attention to the history of and issues surrounding Illinois’ pension debt. We’ll talk about how our state found its way into such a massive debt obligation, some of the issues lawmakers are working through right now in Springfield, and what might ultimately be the best way forward to meet that debt and sustain the state’s public pension system.


January 07, 2013

Political Discourse in America

January 7 is the 14th anniversary of the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in the U-S Senate. He was the first president to be impeached by the House since Andrew Johnson in 1868. It was a major political development dissected, moment by moment, by 24 hour news channels and talk radio. Politicians and pundits alike spoke in ever coarser tones about the issues surrounding the trial. And our political discourse hasn’t exactly improved since then. In fact, we saw moments when the major players in the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations, just over the last week or two, struggled to communicate effectively with one another. We’ll consider what it might take to raise the level of discourse in our politics – and whether major issues and ideas can be debated thoughtfully and respectfully by people with wildly divergent views. We’ll also explore what led to the coarsening of our political discourse particularly in the last 20 years, and whether our perception that it was more respectful in the past is really true.


December 27, 2012

Interview with Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

Since the beginning of his career in journalism eight years ago, Jose Vargas has written hundreds of stories — including covering the 2008 presidential campaign for The Washington Post; profiling Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker; writing and producing a documentary on the AIDS epidemic in the nation's capital; and winning a Pulitzer Prize for helping cover the Virginia Tech massacre.  A little over a year ago, Vargas wrote a groundbreaking essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine revealing his "undocumented immigrant" status.  Since then, he founded Define American and has worked to facilitate dialogue about the DREAM Act and immigration issues.

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, October 26, 2012, 10 am


November 07, 2012

Post-Election Analysis

We'll discuss the outcome and ramifications of the 2012 election, from the President to local races. Our guests are John S. Jackson, Visiting Professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University; and Brian Gaines, professor in the department of Political Science and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.


September 18, 2012

Talk To The Candidate - John Hartman (I), 13th Illinois Congressional District

John Hartman, Independent Candidate for the 13th Illinois Congressional District

Host: Craig Cohen

This election season, Focus is providing you with the opportunity to speak directly with the candidates in two key races – those running for Illinois’ newly-drawn 13th Congressional District seat, and the candidates seeking to represent you in Illinois’ 52nd State Senate District. We continue today with the Independent candidate running for Congress in Illinois’ 13th district, John Hartman. He faces Democrat David Gill and Republican Rodney Davis – all three candidates are vying to replace retiring Congressman Tim Johnson. This is the first election taking place in the 13th District since it was re-drawn, and it now covers a lot of territory, stretching from Champaign/Urbana all the way to communities like Collinsville and Edwardsville in the Metro East of St. Louis. Along its winding path, It also includes the central Illinois cities of Bloomington/Normal, Decatur, and Springfield.


September 13, 2012

Talk To The Candidate - John Bambenek, (R) IL 52nd State Senate District

John Bambenek, Republican Candidate for the Illinois Senate from the 52nd State Legislative District

Host: Craig Cohen

In the coming weeks, Focus will provide you with the opportunity to speak directly with the candidates in the 13th Congressional District race, and the 52nd State Senate District race. We'll begin with the Republican running for the Illinois Senate from the 52nd District, John Bambanek. He faces Democratic incumbent Mike Frerichs this November. (Frerichs will appear on the program October 1st).


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