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City File 

Don't worry, folks. I'm sure we have that hammer around here somewhere. On April 30 the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that the Defense Department had spent $43 billion that couldn't be linked "to the items that money purchased." According to the Progressive Review (the June 25 on-line edition), "The Defense Department Comptroller objected, saying the problem disbursements amounted to only $18 billion."

Illinois deaths from tobacco, 1992: 17,153. From alcohol: 4,641. From "all other drugs": 544 (Illinois Department of Public Health).

Is this good news or bad news? "Chemistry is not confined to studying those molecules that are readily available because we can always make new ones," Milan Mrksich tells the University of Chicago Chronicle (June 12). "That means we'll never run out of problems."

Just the numbers, no propaganda. Percentage of northeastern Illinois land that was in farms or vacant in 1970: 64. In 1990: 51 (Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission).

Is Richard M. Daley a "pragmatic" mayor? Not really, says Peter Beinart in the New Republic (June 30). Along with Democrats Mike White (Cleveland), John Norquist (Milwaukee), and Ed Rendell (Philadelphia), and Republicans Richard Riordan (LA), Rudolph Giuliani (NYC), and Steven Goldsmith (Indianapolis), Daley has an old-time Progressive ideology that doesn't fit his own party very well: "that cities can dramatically alleviate seemingly endemic urban afflictions without a massive redistribution of wealth, that the way to achieve this is by using competition to make city services radically more efficient, and that cities must tolerate diverse identities without celebrating them to the detriment of a shared sense of public interest. These ideas have a coherence and a history....After years of anchoring the left wing of the Democratic Party, America's cities are in the early stages of creating something very different: reformist coalitions at odds with both parties."

The dangerous years. According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, "the increased risk of being murdered in the early 1990s was confined to victims between the ages of 15 and 24" ("Trends and Issues 1997").

The real question is, will they give us most-favored-nation status in a few more decades? Top two headlines in the on-line Science-Week (June 19, news summary: "U.S. Budget to Cut Science Funding 16% by 2002" and "China Budget to Increase Science Funding 14.2% Next Year."

Recipes we didn't read to the end of: "Smoked Red-Eye Pork Butt" (from a recent press release of the Harvard Common Press).

History of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton administration, as told by Kevin Jackson of the Chicago Rehab Network in the Network Builder (Spring): "By the end of 1996, Congress and Clinton had reduced HUD's budget from $26 billion to $19 billion--roughly 28 percent of the 1980 HUD budget in constant dollars....What makes these numbers all the more scandalous is that they do not represent necessary austerities for a deficit conscious nation. The federal government continues to support much larger costs of the homeowner mortgage interest deduction...[which] cost the federal government over $58.3 billion in 1995 alone."

What makes a Catholic university Catholic? According to DePaul's Robert Ludwig in U.S. Catholic (July), "The faculty has to take ownership--Catholicism has to show up in the curriculum and the way we run our residence halls."

"Administration says that we should keep disruptive students in our rooms and call parents," writes a disgruntled teacher in "Substance" (June). "Isn't that a wonderful solution? Leave the other 29 students alone in your classroom while you try to find a phone to use to call a number that has long been disconnected or where no parent will answer because, if one did, this student would probably not be disruptive in the first place!"

"Affordability remains a serious issue in vehicle sales," writes James Flammang in his Chicago-based newsletter "Tirekicking Today" (May), "but neither automakers nor the dealership network are doing too much about it. All too often, the only real responses are new and 'creative' ways to finance cars. In other words, they're discovering methods to provide credit to persons who can't really afford a vehicle--and worrying little about the ultimate result."

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