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We ¤ Saddam. Retired rear admiral Eugene Carroll Jr. writes in Newsday (reprinted in the Center for Defense Information's December 17 "Weekly Defense Monitor"): "The history of aerial bombardment confirms that it unifies a society and solidifies the political power of the leadership."

Think summer! The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that it listed 1,755 farmers' markets in its National Farmers Market Directory in 1994. In 1996, the year of the latest figures, it listed 2,411.

Segregated even in crime. "There are approximately 120 street gangs in Chicago," writes Ray Risley, deputy chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department, in the fall issue of the "Compiler," published by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. "Sixty percent are African-American, 35 percent are Hispanic, 4 percent are white, and the remainder are Asian."

In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man may get stomped. Number of sessions scheduled at the American Society of Criminology's recent 50th annual meeting, according to Robert Weissman ("Focus on the Corporation," December 18): 503. Number of sessions dealing in any way with white-collar or corporate crime: fewer than 10.

"What Illinoisans most lack is not access to the arts but curiosity," writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Issues (December). "The arts have seldom been less important as a medium of culture. They persist as middlebrow entertainment or decor--things one consumes rather than learns from. Painting and sculpture in particular are all about agitation and advocacy, usually of causes not nearly as heterodox as artists would think they are if they read something besides ARTNews."

Creeping decentralization. According to a November report by the Woodstock Institute, "A Rising Tide...But Some Leaky Boats," the percentage of Chicago-area jobs in the suburbs in 1979: 52.6. In 1996: 66.

"What's the most dangerous corner in Chicago?" according to Substance (December). "Adams and Clark in the Loop. It wasn't until Paul Vallas and Gery Chico moved (some of) the school board's offices back to the Loop that we learned that downtown was a lot rougher than Adams and Kedzie (Marshall High School), 50th and Wabash (DuSable), 54th and State (Terrell), or any of the other 'war zones' Mr. Vallas talked about a year ago when he was grabbing headlines....What's the proof the Loop is more dangerous than Cabrini, Altgeld, Rockwell, or Robert Taylor? Simple: Chicago's school board has more security people stationed at its new Loop headquarters than are deployed in any ten of the school system's roughest high schools combined."

Numbers you won't read in the Tribune, from Tim Wise, writing in the Chicago-based Lip (October-November): "According to government figures, white men drove drunk 85 million times in 1993, compared to 5.8 million times for black men....According to the National Center for Health Statistics, whites ages 12-21 are a third more likely than blacks to have used illegal drugs; twice as likely to smoke pot regularly; and 160% more likely to have tried cocaine."

"The reality of Tibet is secondary to the imagination and representation of Tibet," writes Jim Blumenthal in the "Chicago South Asia Newsletter" (Fall), reviewing Donald Lopez's new book Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. "Lopez examines five distinct English renderings of the [Tibetan Book of the Dead] which have appeared over the past century. The underlying commonality found in all five versions are their disregard for the actual meaning of the text within the tradition from which it springs, and the fact that the text itself, which is by far the most well-known Tibetan text in the West, is actually an obscure text used by only one of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is relatively unknown among the majority of Tibetans."

Headlines that shock, from the Centers for Disease Control's on-line daily summary of national news stories (December 8): "Young Shun Safe Sex After Drinking Binges."

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