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Are you ready for some. . . recidivism? Notre Dame is number one in the Tarnished Twenty, a list compiled by FindLaw Sports (www.sports. findlaw.com/tarnished). The football rankings are "based on the number and severity of ongoing or recently concluded criminal, civil, NCAA and other administrative proceedings and investigations involving players, coaches, boosters or other persons or entities associated with a program. . . . The Tarnished Twenty takes into account everything from murder to the smallest of recruiting and on-campus violations." As of September 2 the list included Big Ten teams Michigan (6), Wisconsin (8), Michigan State (16), and Iowa (18).

New Age news from Gayle Lawrence, writing in "Cholla Wayra: The Winds of Vision" newsletter (Fall) based in north-suburban Wadsworth: "My theory is the whales and extra-terrestrials are so evolved that they would naturally understand one another!"

Why some Chicago babies may soon be bedding down in dresser drawers. According to an August press release, Mayor Daley is proposing ordinances that will require any business selling used infant or children's products to obtain a $125 secondhand dealer's license, to obtain and file notices of products recalled by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission within the past nine years, and to refrain from selling any products without proper manufacturers' identification labels. The goal is laudable--to ensure that everyone knows if a particular old crib or stroller has been recalled or found dangerous. One presumably unintended result: making used cribs unaffordable or unavailable.

Out of work with an inferiority complex? Don't read this. Diane Swonk, chief economist at Bank One, describes the economy in the Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) in a recent press release: "The region boasts some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and is literally running out of people to employ."

"Ironically, the story of Chicago's [educational] success is told largely by outsiders who rarely set foot in a classroom," writes Reader staffer Ben Joravsky in Education Week's teacher magazine (August-September). "The story told by many teachers is much different. They claim that the Vallas administration has taken the district back to the bad old days before the 1988 reforms. Each week brings some new edict from the central office. Vallas has ordered one high school English teacher to remove the novel Coffee Will Make You Black from her required reading list; converted a well-regarded vocational school into an exclusive college-prep school; set earlier starting times at dozens of grade schools; and prohibited teachers from taking classes on field trips during the last two weeks of school." In other classrooms, however, Joravsky finds teachers who appreciate Vallas's willingness to make them live up to higher standards. Pat Boland of Roberto Clemente High School says, "It's much better than before. He made teacher accountability an issue. You may not like it. It may be a pain in the neck; teachers can be as bad as kids if they don't want to do something. But it's good for us."

Good news you won't hear from liberals. According to a recent report from the National Center for Children in Poverty (Chicago Reporter, July/August), "The number of poor children under 6 fell from 6.4 million in 1993 to 5.2 million in 1997."

"Let's treat every American like a presidential candidate," proposes Libertarian Party national director Steve Dasbach in an August 25 news release. "If you've ever used drugs, you shouldn't have to answer questions about it--especially if doing so would invade your privacy, or if you now consider previous drug use a mistake. . . . Not only would such a don't-ask/don't-tell policy save the $17 billion the federal government currently spends on Drug Prohibition, but it would also let hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders out of prison so they could lead productive lives--and maybe even run for president themselves as hypocritical Republicans."

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