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Hey, at least they don't cost as much. From a recent press release from the Chicago-based American Dietetic Association: "Healthful food items on a restaurant menu are like the various tools men collect in their garages--nice to have around, but seldom used for home improvements."

When you see extra panhandlers in the Loop, thank your governor. Writing in Capitol Fax (July 12), Doug Dobmeyer reminds us that 100,000 people in Illinois were on general assistance in 1991--and 8,500 are today.

"I'm a leftist (and a feminist) because of evidence and logic, not in spite of it," writes physicist Alan Sokal in Lingua Franca (May/June). Sokal, who got a nonsensical article published in the postmodern journal Social Text by salting it with trendy relativist jargon, contends that the moral and cultural relativism of such journals as Social Text represents "a profound historical volte-face. For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful--not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right."

Greed conquers all. "The suburbs generally have not received much in school-aid funding because they tend to be more richly endowed in local property tax wealth," according to James Nowlan, coauthor of Illinois Politics and Government: The Expanding Metropolitan Frontier, quoted in a recent University of Illinois press release. "Speaker of the House Lee Daniels and Senate President James 'Pate' Philip--both from the heart of DuPage County--are trying this spring to assure that any new money for schooling will be allocated so that suburban schools receive the same dollar amount per student as other state schools."

"In southern Illinois the presence of some breeding songbirds may depend on the existence of large forests in the Ozarks," writes Scott Robinson of the state Natural History Survey in Natural History (July). Nests elsewhere are endangered by invading cowbirds, which displace eggs in other birds' nests to make room for their own. When the eggs hatch, the cowbird's offspring are usually larger than that of the host bird, shortchanging the host's nestlings on food, care, and space. "Nowhere in Illinois have I found a forest tract that is more than four miles (the cowbird's daily commuting range) from a farm, pasture, or yard. As a result, cowbirds can reach any nest."

"Few long-term safety lessons appear to have been learned" from the Chernobyl disaster, writes historian David Marples in the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (May/June). "If anything, the chance of a major nuclear accident in the region is greater today than in 1986."

Jim Edgar? According to Jack Van Der Slik in Illinois Issues (July), "A Washington reporter likened his low-key style to George Bush 'without charisma.'"

Yo, it's in the Constitution: you have the right to graduate from high school accompanied by bouncing beach balls, exploding firecrackers, and inflatable condoms. The ACLU's daily newsfeed (June 11) reported the organization's success in getting a California high school to call off searches of graduates before graduation ceremonies, searches that the school superintendent said were an attempt "to keep graduation a nice respectable process."

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