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A recent eight-city survey of voting-age Hispanics found that nearly 70 percent strongly support bilingual education and 84 percent back school vouchers--and 48 percent think the United States allows too many immigrants into this country ("Politico," April 27).

Squeaky wheel gets the lead out. The city's lead-abatement program cleaned up only 48 homes between 1994, when the program started, and May 1997--and then it cleaned up 189 by late March 1998, reports Ed Finkel in "The Neighborhood Works" (May/June). "It's instructive that they've now almost quadrupled the number of units done," says Jonathan Goldman of the Lead Elimination Action Drive, "after a coalition of 25 community organizations started making it an issue." In 1994 the city's goal had been to clean up the lead in 625 south- and west-side homes within three years.

"One of the most irritating things people sometimes say is 'Now, don't be judgmental,'" writes Paul Varnell, who must often be irritated, in Windy City Times (April 23). "I always want to snap back, 'Of course you should be judgmental, you jerk. That's what you have a brain for.'"

"Sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s God became a conservative," muses Sam Smith in "Progressive Review" (February). "Not only is God a conservative but the meanest sonofabitch in town, slapping down welfare mothers with one hand and pot smokers with the other, while simultaneously closing factories, censoring the Internet, drug testing anything that burps, and making sure rapees pay for their carelessness by giving birth to its evidence."

Seven weeks. That's how long it typically takes Chicago manufacturers to fill openings for skilled workers such as maintenance mechanics, industrial electricians, printers, and welders, according to a recent survey conducted by the Chicago Urban League and the University of Illinois' Great Cities Institute.

The midwest economy is hot, according to First National Bank of Chicago economist Diane Swonk, quoted in a recent press release. "Parking, one of the best indicators of urban strengths, is expensive and increasingly hard to find. Downtown Detroit's parking garages are full again, and parking in downtown Chicago is either nonexistent or very costly during some of the busiest times of the week." Would the economy go into a tailspin if everyone took the el?

Well, I think--never mind. It's time for the Bulls game. "A post-intellectual society is one where public relations substitutes for public policy," Richard Lee told Valparaiso University graduates last year, "where one mass-media image can wipe out many careful arguments, where sound moral character means feeling good about yourself, and the increase of freedom means more consumer choices. It is, finally, a society where intellectuals are very comfortably kept thinking about what they are told to think about" ("Context," April 15).

It used to be that Germans in the U.S. married Germans, Norwegians married Norwegians, etc. No longer. "Within European groups, intermarriage is the norm rather than the exception," say University of Illinois sociologists Gillian Stevens and Michael Tyler in a recent paper. They call this a sign that these ethnic groups are almost completely assimilated. By contrast, interracial marriage has been slower to catch on. In 1960 about 1 percent of all U.S. marriages was interracial; in 1990 it was about 3 percent.

"An annulment decision concentrates on the state of the individuals on their wedding day to determine whether, in the eyes of the church, a marriage ever existed," writes Tom McGrath in the Chicago-based U.S. Catholic (May). "But married couples know that the question gets called regularly: Are we a couple? Will we remain a couple? Will I do again today what love requires?"


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