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Besides, it would cut into their Playboy-reading time. Doctors "don't read very much [about breast-feeding] because they think they don't need to know it," Dr. Lawrence Gartner of the University of Chicago told Chicago Parent in January.

Mmm, I feel good. The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (November-December) reports that "adolescents with higher levels of self-esteem engage in more risky sexual practices and have more sexual partners." However, the authors thought maybe they hadn't defined self-esteem clearly enough.

No mention was made of Amish sources of heroin in the immediate vicinity. A press release from "Pennsylvania Dutch Country" highlighted the "quirky British hobby of trainspotting" and promoted Strasburg, Pennsylvania, as a place to do it.

Education leads to practice, except when it doesn't. The Violence Policy Center complained that the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle gun-safety campaign is really an attempt to get kids interested in guns (Chicago Tribune, November 20). So does the center think the same reasoning applies to sex education and condom distribution in the schools? After all, Eddie doesn't hand out free gun safeties.

Family values according to Newt and Bill. "Just as studies are showing the stimulation children receive in their first few years to be crucial, [welfare] mothers are being forced to put children into child care and return to work," wrote Elizabeth Agnvall in Chicago Parent (September). She quoted Teresa Nihill of Metropolitan Family Service: "If these women had financial means, many people would expect them to stay home with their children."

Good news? What good news? The Illinois Council for the Prevention of Violence held a November conference in Rosemont for "Illinois residents concerned with increasing violence in their communities." How many of those residents know that state police statistics show that violent crimes throughout Illinois, including Chicago, continue to decline, dropping 10 percent between 1994 and 1996?

And then the panhandler drove away in his Oldsmobile. University of Illinois at Chicago education professor Bill Ayers laments in Poverty & Race (September/October) that the Chicago Public Schools "must struggle to educate children with considerably fewer human and material resources than neighboring districts." However, in 1994-'95 (the most recent year for which the state board of education has published figures) the average expenditure statewide per schoolchild was $5,922.40. In the two richest suburban counties, Du Page and Lake, average expenditures per student were $6,274.14 and $6,452.21 respectively. In the Chicago Public Schools the average was $6,940.87.

Ralph Nader, call your office. Consumer Reports (November) took a full magazine page to rate six fruitcakes "good" or better and another one "fair."

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