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Sound's like a good idea to me. In the Chicago-based Student Lawyer (September), Di Mari Ricker describes a legal-writing professor driven to distraction by ignorance of apostrophes: "Benson gives his students a fifth-grade-level test with 10 sentences that need apostrophes. Students are allowed to take the test as many times as they wish, but if they fail it they don't pass his legal writing class."

"The impacts in Chicago [of community policing] are among the most substantial I've seen in the country," says Northwestern criminologist Wesley Skogan of the Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research in CUAPR News (Summer). Researchers led by Skogan found that residents perceived that crime had decreased in all five Chicago neighborhoods that pioneered the community-policing initiative. In three neighborhoods, some actual crime rates declined as well.

It's easy to be amazed when you don't look behind the curtain. Lorraine Forte in Catalyst (September): "In an Aug. 14 news story, the Chicago Tribune said it was 'amazing' that the new [school] executives plugged 'a hole projected to reach $1.4 billion by 1999 and balance the habitually red-inked budget for four years without new state money.' But, in fact, the budget hole was plugged only with the help of sweeping new reform legislation adopted in May by the Republican-dominated General Assembly. Without the new law, balancing the budget would have been virtually impossible. The new law let the new School Reform Board of Trustees essentially redo the school system's budget, using money that had previously been earmarked for specific purposes [such as pension funds and increases in Chapter One funds] to help eliminate the deficit and pay for new initiatives. In addition, the law paved the way for the board to fire some 1,700 employees by removing many of the civil service and union job protections workers enjoyed."

Yeah, and his body was a temple, too. "Green E--the Environmental Elvis" will sing such revised classics as "Are You Recycling Tonight?" at Cafe Voltaire later this month.

"There are not many novel ideas. It's how ideas fit together that makes something new," according to State Geological Survey chemical engineer Massoud Rostam-Abadi (GeoNews, July). "Some people can only put together ten-piece puzzles. Some get up to 100 pieces. We want people who can handle 10,000 pieces." What--with no picture on the box?

On the power track. Percentage of eligible voters registered in Cook County's ten majority-black municipalities: 85. In the county's ten most-registered majority-white municipalities: 78 (Chicago Reporter, July).

"In my opinion the biomedical revolution of the past 50 years is one of the greatest examples of intellectual flourishing in human history," Dr. Mark Siegler told the Chicago-based Cancer Research Foundation in May--"comparable to the achievements of fifth century Greece, Elizabethan England, and the Italian renaissance....But the continuation of this scientific renaissance is now threatened and one of the chief threats is the loss of public support....We should look on the coming lean years as comparable to the short period almost exactly 500 years ago to the day when Savonarola, the conservative, self-righteous, cocky, religious zealot seized power from the Medicis and imposed a repressive conservative regime on the people of Florence and temporarily stopped the intellectual renaissance in its tracks. We should remember, however, that Savonarola's short period of power--that lasted only 4 years--was juxtaposed between the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci who preceded him and the genius of Michelangelo."

Running scared already. Number of words in 5th District U.S. representative Michael Flanagan's recent constituent newsletter that identify him as a Republican or a supporter of the Contract With America: 0.

The ten Illinois counties with the highest rates of unemployment do not include Cook. They're all in far southern Illinois, from Williamson (7.1 percent) to Pulaski (12.2) (Illinois Issues, September).

"Moral principles based on the rule of 'deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct' would not be discriminatory if they were applied equally to all behavior that contributes to costly life-threatening illnesses," writes Gordon Nary in the Chicago-based Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (July), reflecting on Senator Jesse Helms's argument against AIDS funding. "For example, a majority of Americans may believe that smoking is 'deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct' by 'people deliberately engaged in unnatural acts.' It would therefore follow that there should be equivalent cuts affecting people with smoking-related cancer, circulatory and respiratory diseases."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

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