"Responsible people benefit from the drug war," laments drug-legalization crusader James Gierach of suburban Oak Lawn--"prison contractors, prison guards, drug-treatment providers, drug-testing firms, 100,000 new policemen and legislative budgeteers, whose city and state coffers are gilded with zero-tolerant, mandatory-minimum, three-striking, gang-fighting, juvenile-detaining, liberty-eroding Washington dollars....Not only does money drive the illicit drug business, it drives the drug war too."
"Increased wounding of fish by the sea lamprey [in Lake Michigan] has been noticed," reports the Splash, official publication of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Wisconsin. "The sea lamprey, thought to be under control, has apparently been doing more damage on the fishery....The wounding rate on the northern part of the lake is approaching the wounding rate of the 1950's, when lamprey control began."
Is racial pride bogus only when it belongs to black people? Salim Muwakkil asks a pointed question about Randall Kennedy's attack on racial consciousness in the May Atlantic: "What if he had asked Jewish Americans, instead of African-Americans, about their blood ties and racial loyalty? Would he have come to the same conclusions? Either way, it's a safe bet that The Atlantic's editors would have been considerably less enthusiastic about the novelty of Kennedy's essay if he set out to demystify Jewish identity" (In These Times, June 16).
More jobs for the suburbs! Thank you, Washington! In its new report on the Small Business Admin-istration's 504 loan program, "the principal job creation program in the SBA," the Woodstock Institute on South Dearborn finds little help being given to communities where the median household income is less than $40,000. Manufacturing loans? "The highest lending rates are in upper-income Kane and DuPage counties and in parts of Will and McHenry counties." Retail loans? "Lending rates are highest in Kane and DuPage counties." Wholesale-sector loans? "The highest lending rates are concentrated in the western suburbs where DuPage, Kane and Cook counties border each other. Portions of Lake County and a few zip codes scattered around the city of Chicago also have high rates." Service-sector loans? "The highest lending rates...are located in Will County." In short, "the high lending rates in middle- and upper-income suburbs and in newly developed areas suggest that this SBA program may actually be subsidizing central city job loss and suburban sprawl."
"I know at least five students who don't drop out because they can express themselves in music," Amundsen High School choir director Bill Spain tells Catalyst's Maureen Kelleher (June). "I end up with the troublemakers. Most of the other staff here don't understand how I can do that, but those kids want to be here. They will do their best in their classes because I insist."
There's no glass ceiling when you build your own house. According to a recent report by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, between 1987 and 1996 "the number of minority women-owned firms increased by 153%; employment grew by 276%; and revenues rose by 318%"--three times faster than the overall U.S. business growth rate.
"Today a computer illiterate should realize that the most valuable part of his or her hand-me-down system is the relative, coworker, or friend who is willing to explain the rudiments of hardware and software and the commands necessary to print out or fax that first document," write Paul Robertz and Paul Erling of the Chicago Computer Exchange in Chicago Computer Guide (July). "Computer stores, including those dealing with used hardware, are rarely of help to the poor soul who inherited a 286 or 386-based computer with a wiped hard drive, since Microsoft has not made DOS 3.3 or 5.0 shareware."