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Can we borrow it back when Governor George "Bet 'Em" Ryan goes into action? According to "Arts Wire Current" (April 20), the 1997 Better Government Association report "The Tourism Industry in Chicago: It's the Arts, Stupid" helped the Coalition of Philadelphia Neighborhood Associations defeat a measure that would have introduced slot machines, video poker, and riverboat casinos to Pennsylvania.

"By averting their glance from the anguish in America's black communities--the incessant complaints of police harassment, racial 'profiling' in all institutions, the toll of the racist war on drugs, etc.--the mainstream media ignores the issues that fertilized Farrakhan's growth," writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (May 16). "A more responsible media would have related Farrakhan's appeal to African-Americans' real sense of despair and disappointment with white America's lack of commitment to racial equality."

"Suppose a hypothetical god got tired of what we humans do to one another and decided that from January 1, 1999, onward all corpses unnaturally created anywhere in the 'free world' would cease to decompose," writes Michael Albert on "ZNet Update" (April 24). "Anyone dying for want of food or medicine, anyone hung or garroted to death, shot or beaten to death, raped or bombed to death, anyone dying unjustly and inhumanely would, as a corpse, persist without decomposing" and be transferred into glass-walled cars of a train that would travel across the U.S. without stopping. "Mile after mile the killing train would roll along, each corpse viewed through its transparent walls, 200 new corpses a minute, one new car every five minutes, day and night, without pause. By the end of 1999, on its first birthday, the first day of the new millennium, the killing train would measure over 2,000 miles long. Traveling at 20 miles an hour it would take about five days to pass any intersection."

Four neighborhoods get almost half of the community-based grants given out in Chicago, according to a recent Donors Forum survey: the near west side, the near north side, Hyde Park, and West Town ("Giving in Illinois: A Comprehensive Report on the State of Philanthropy," March).

"Speaking as one of the party whose tender feelings are under consideration, I don't want the Bible rewritten so it won't offend women," writes Frederica Mathewes-Green in U.S. Catholic (May). "I think the Bible should offend women. It should offend men, figure skaters, plumbers, headwaiters, Alaskans, Ethiopians, baton twirlers, Jews, and Gentiles. If it's not offending people, it's not doing its job....Besides, updating gender references won't go very far toward a goal of making the Bible palatable. Someone who balks at 'a man' is really going to be thrown for a loop when she hits 'Take up your cross.'"

Be the first on your block to collect the whole set. The Illinois Natural History Survey is selling "a set of 32 laminated pocket-sized cards illustrating common vegetable and garden insect pests" for $8. "Non-chemical management recommendations are provided" ("DNR Update," Spring).

Enough to make a small town of their own. According to a March 15 Department on Aging press release, in 1994 there were 1,816 centenarians living in Illinois.

They gave their lives so that we could feel good about our standards. "Arguing against the death penalty on the reasonable grounds that it is ineffectual or uneconomic assumes that effectuality and economy are its purpose," writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Issues (April). "In the end, most people support the death penalty not because they think it works but because they think it is right. Even if most people agree that it is but a gesture, they feel it is a gesture that must be made--our way of affirming that, in this place and time, there are limits, that conduct is not unbounded. Putting a murderer to death is a rhetorical gesture, aimed not at unnerving future criminals but at bolstering the rest of us."

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