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Please check your principles at the door. According to the summer issue of "Taxnews," published by National Taxpayers United of Illinois, four of the five Libertarians who won office in Illinois' April 3 local elections are members of public-library boards. Last time I checked, libraries spend tax money to loan free books and magazines to everyone--and libertarian principles would seem to demand that people go to a bookstore and pay for their books instead.

"More than one-third of the welfare recipients were considered better than typical workers in comparable positions," according to a 1998-'99 survey of 3,000 employers in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, reported in a new working paper from the Joint Center for Poverty Research at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago ("Job Performance and Retention Among Welfare Recipients," by Harry Holzer, Michael Stoll, and Doug Wissoker; www.jcpr.org/ policybriefs/vol3_num9.html). One problem they did discover among welfare recipients was absenteeism, and "the few employers in the study who provided child care or transportation experienced less absenteeism."

From the across-the-lake file.

Keith Schneider of the Michigan Land Use Institute writes in Grist magazine: "The more that President Bush pushes his growth-at-any-cost agenda, the greater political turmoil he and the Republican Party face. All the president needs to do is look at what's happening in Michigan. The Republican right and [outgoing governor John] Engler...are in significant political trouble because of reckless decisions on the environment and natural resources," including promoting drilling beneath the Great Lakes and issuing construction permits in formerly protected wetlands. "What we may be seeing, some analysts suspect, is the unraveling of the right wing's core political strategy. The right built its governing majority on the theme of rugged individualism....But many of the emerging priorities of the 21st century--global warming, congestion, sprawl, globalism, water quality, neighborhood redevelopment--can only be solved with a politics based on consensus and decisions made as a community."

Just bite down until the sun comes out from behind that cloud. Nineteenth-century Chicago developer William Hale "had a hand in the choice of large expanses of glass" for the Reliance Building, writes Cynthia Fuener in "Historic Illinois" (August), "though not necessarily for aesthetic reasons. His upper-floor tenants, many of whom were doctors and dentists, required light-filled spaces to optimally perform their jobs. In an era before powerful artificial lighting, the windows delivered available sunlight--a commodity essential for ensured occupancy."

In a sentence. According to "Executive Excess 2001," a report on CEO compensation by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, "If the minimum wage, which stood at $3.80 an hour in 1990, had grown at the same rate as CEO pay over the decade, it would now be $25.50 an hour, rather than the current $5.15 an hour."

And the best part of Hamlet is the castle. Austin Jaffe, a professor in Penn State's department of insurance and real estate, writes about "the greatest real estate movies of all time" in the "Illinois Real Estate Letter" (Winter/Spring), and says he considers Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, a real estate movie: "Despite all the advance press about the bedroom scenes, the best part of the film is the real estate; the venue is a mysterious house located in the countryside just outside New York City."

Questions it's still legal to ask.

Former Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne asks: "When will we learn that we can't allow our politicians to bully the world without someone bullying back eventually? President Bush has authorized continued bombing of innocent people in Iraq. President Clinton bombed innocent people in the Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Serbia. President Bush Senior invaded Iraq and Panama. President Reagan bombed innocent people in Libya and invaded Grenada. And on and on it goes. Did we think the people who lost their families and friends and property in all that destruction would love America for what happened?" (www.antiwar.com, September 12).

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