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Did Mike Madigan win by selling out Democratic Party principles? That's the suggestion in Robert O'Neill's report on the state legislative elections (Chicago Reporter, October). For example: "Former Democratic state Rep. John Ostenburg of Park Forest ran and lost twice before winning the south suburban 80th District in 1992. Two years later, he was beaten by Republican Flora Ciarlo by a margin of 1,228 votes. He considered running this year until House leaders told him he was too liberal. 'The Democrats made it clear they were looking for new faces this year,' he said. Ostenburg was replaced by a political novice, attorney George Scully Jr., whose campaign brochures boom: 'It's no surprise that gang bangers see prison time as party time.'"

"Low- and middle-income neighbors in Lake Parc Place [on the near south side] appeared to interact and make friends," according to a report on the experimental mixed-income housing project by researchers James Rosenbaum (Northwestern University) and Linda Stroh and Cathy Flynn (Loyola). "Two important goals, however, were unmet: Though the sample was small, total employment among the residents actually declined, though work hours did increase for those who held jobs pre- and post-move. Planners had hoped working-class neighbors would serve as role models for those without jobs but the researchers think such effects might take generations" (Institute for Policy Research News, Fall).

Best state college deals? Chicago State, where the 1996-'97 tuition of $2,022 is just 33 percent of the total instructional cost, and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where the tuition of $1,928 is 30 percent of the cost (Fiscal Focus, October).

Spare change? No behaviorists, please. From Reinforcer, the newsletter of the Chicago Behavior Consultants on South Wabash: "Recently, Emerson Caress, manager of Vermont Street Group Home in Merrillville, Indiana, was visiting downtown Chicago with friends. As they strolled past a homeless man panhandling, one of Emerson's friends commented on Emerson's apparent lack of empathy as he beelined away from the man. Emerson replied 'I don't pay for what I don't want to see again!'"

The words get in the way. From a recent release: "Walgreens introduces break-through incontinence products."

A time to worry. "Many of Farrakhan's would-be critics prefer to downplay their disagreements for the sake of African-American unity," writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (November 11). "Nonetheless, the NOI's [Nation of Islam's] growing dominance is quite troubling in many respects. For example, many of those with serious criticisms of the NOI's authoritarian methods are reluctant to speak on the record. It's a bit unsettling to hear requests for anonymity from black activists known for their courageous stands on other issues. In some cases, they fear retribution, either physical or rhetorical."

A county where taking care of nature is not a crime. From a recent press release: "The Forest Preserve District of Will County is dramatically expanding its Prairie People volunteer program."

That reminds me, dear--where did you store the fruitcake? From a recent release: "SANTA'S TWIN is the story of Santa's evil twin brother who runs amok, trying to spoil everyone's happy holiday. [The author]...has created a new Christmas legend that will make bellies laugh like bowls full of slimy, green jelly."

The kind of reform Chicago is ready for. Mayor Daley's School Reform Board will build new buildings in the clout-heavy 19th Ward (Keller Gifted Magnet School) on the far southwest side and in the soon-to-be-gentrified Cabrini-Green area (Ferguson Child Parent Center, Byrd Community Academy, Near North Career Metro High School), reports Dan Weissmann in Catalyst (November). What's the problem? "In a 1995 report, the McClier Corporation identified 36 Chicago schools as being in such bad shape that replacing them would be more economical than fixing them up; neither Keller nor the Cabrini schools are among them. Indeed, Ferguson is one of only 31 schools classified by McClier as being in good condition."

In the beginning...Press release from the fundamentalist Zondervan Publishing House in Grand Rapids, Michigan: "Sex. The Bible would be a bestseller among teenagers if it opened with this word."

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