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Why don't poor kids get their shots? It's not lack of knowledge, and it's not lack of money, according to a study published in the Elk Grove Village-based Pediatrics (December). "In this poor urban population, most respondents held beliefs that would seem to enhance immunization; they tended to overestimate the severity of preventable diseases and children's vulnerability and they felt capable of getting their children immunized and caring for them after vaccination....The ability to pay for immunizations, as reflected by income and out of pocket costs, was not associated with immunization status." What was? "Children born to teenage mothers, living in larger families, and in households in which their biological mother was absent had lower immunization rates," as did children whose mothers had "no support system."

Proportion of Chicago Public Schools employees who live in the suburbs: roughly one-quarter (Catalyst, December).

Same-sex marriages and concealed handguns are out, doctor-assisted suicide is in, according to a recent Northern Illinois University poll of 800 Illinois residents. And answering one of the stranger poll questions we've seen, 6 percent of respondents couldn't decide whether they would prefer to be five years younger or be their ideal weight.

Then: Don't reach over the power saw--you might cut your hand off. Now: "Try to avoid overstretching the fingers or thumbs. Don't extend your pinkies. Keep the mouse in easy reach from the keyboard, and be gentle; don't grab or tap the mouse forcefully." Ergonomic advice from Digital Chicago (November/December).

"While they constitute only 12 percent of the U.S. population, blacks now make up 40 percent of all AIDS cases," writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (November 25). "But so far, the disease's grim toll among African-Americans has been met with silence: The AIDS crisis seldom figures among the top priorities of leading black organizations, and although the CDC estimates that blacks will account for most new AIDS cases by the year 2000, few black leaders are focusing attention on this impending catastrophe."

Illinois as a third-world country, selling raw natural resources and importing manufactured goods. According to the lieutenant governor's office, last year a record 2.7 million tons of Illinois coal was sold abroad, mainly to Morocco, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.

Things ideologues don't want to know. Big business doesn't mind affirmative action at all, writes Alan Wolfe in the New Yorker (November 25). "If the right doesn't want to admit that affirmative action has the blessing of the marketplace, romantic leftists, who want to believe that affirmative action is 'progressive,' find its embrace by big business equally mortifying. The notion that more social change can be brought about through actions in the suites than through actions in the streets is simply not within their understanding."

Forget the V-chip. Forget the ratings. Just don't do it. DePaul psychologist Leonard Jason, author of the book Remote Control: Help for Families Living in a Television Age: "If adults watch junk television it will continue to be supported by commercials. If they stop, the commercials will be cancelled and ultimately, offensive programming will be dropped by the television industry."

Teenage mothers may not cost any extra welfare dollars after all, according to an essay published in Chicago Policy Review (Fall). V. Joseph Hotz of the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy and two colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University compared teen mothers with those who'd suffered miscarriages and found that the young mothers were no more likely to go on public assistance, just as likely to finish high school or get a GED, and likely to earn more over the long term. They are likely to be single parents for longer than if they'd delayed having kids. Consequences for their children were not evaluated.

"In spite of the good times, Midwesterners remain susceptible to talk of hard times," writes Edward Field in Illinois Issues (November). "The Midwest in 1996 came up as the most positive area in consumer confidence. It polled high for people feeling good about their work. No other region could boast a lower percentage of people reporting outright job losses, cutbacks in overtime or other benefits. Nevertheless, according to the poll, the Midwest remains the area most fearful about the future of its jobs."

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