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"There are many worse things in politics than hypocrisy," the University of Chicago's Jean Bethke Elshtain reminds us in U.S. Catholic (June). "For example, vicious cycles of retribution, whether against nations or groups or other political figures. On the whole list of political sins, crimes, and misdemeanors, hypocrisy would come pretty low on my list. Remember the line that says, 'Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue'? Hypocrisy at least indicates that we still have some virtuous standard we know we ought to aspire to, and in our own bumbling, human way we're trying to live up to that."

No free lunch for bellyaching suburban drivers. "Getting rid of the toll authority would certainly save on overhead costs," muses Jon Marshall in Illinois Issues (May). "The agency's palatial headquarters in Downers Grove could be sold and administrative costs eliminated. The toll authority's small army of lobbyists, lawyers and public relations consultants could be furloughed. And drivers would no longer have to cover the costs of operating the toll booths, saving roughly $60 million a year." But the already overburdened state transportation budget would have to take on the maintenance and debt of the tollway system. Absorbing all that would cost the state an estimated $233 million a year, "equal to approximately a 4.6-cent hike in gas taxes" on top of the 43.7 cents per gallon already levied in Chicago.

Living together and splitting? You're on your own. "[Illinois] law clearly states that if you want the same rights as a married couple, you should get married." That's attorney Beverly Pekala, quoted in Chicago's Divorce (Spring). And Donald Schiller of the Chicago-based law firm Schiller, DuCanto, & Fleck adds, "You cannot get support based on cohabitation."

Honey, this doesn't look quite right--let's try it on the kids first. According to a survey conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and unveiled at its Chicago meeting last month, 32 percent of consumers polled said they would be "very likely to buy irradiated products for themselves." And 38 percent said they would be very likely to buy them for their children.

Percentage of Caucasian women entrepreneurs who borrow capital to launch their firms, according to a recent report from the National Association of Women Business Owners: 49. Of African-American women: 29.

The incomprehensibly high-tech world of pollution control. "Simple preventive acts can help [reduce indoor pollution] considerably," write Wayne Ott and John Roberts in Scientific American (February). "For example, wiping one's feet on a commercial-grade doormat appears to reduce the amount of lead in a typical carpet by a factor of six. Because lead exposure is thought to affect more than 900,000 children in the U.S., the use of good doormats would translate into a significant boost to public health. Removing one's shoes before entering is even more effective."

The good old days 13 years ago. According to state police figures, the number of drug arrests per 100,000 residents in rural Illinois now has reached the same level (just under 300) urban Illinois was at in 1985 (cited in the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority's spring issue of the "Compiler").

Obsession is where you find it. A public service announcement suggested by the Naperville-based Illinois Drug Education Alliance: "Once a person is addicted to drugs, they lose their freedom, even when they are not directly under the influence of the drug. Their lives center around getting the next high." List of suggestions for in-home activities from the same group: "Create a drug free greeting for your answering machine. Spend quality time together by playing a board game, cards, etc. each night during Red Ribbon Week [October 24 through November 1 of this year]. Tie a Red Ribbon around a tree in your yard. Design a family crest that shows what each member will do to remain drug-free. Make Red Ribbon placemats with prevention messages to use during Red Ribbon Week....Decorate your lawn with red ribbons. Host a drug-free party. Start each meal with a prayer asking for family strength to remain drug-free."

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