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"I'm not the only gay man in the General Assembly," state representative Larry McKeon tells Illinois Times (May 6-12). "I'm the only one to tell the truth about it."

Why am I not reassured? "Bounty hunters, sometimes depicted as reckless criminals themselves, provide an essential public service and ought not to be outlawed," states a recent press release from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on research published by John Chamberlin in the U. of I. "Law Review." Chamberlin found that commercial bondsmen are significantly better at finding, capturing, and returning fugitives than law-enforcement officers. "Bounty hunters enjoy broad rights in tracking down fugitives. They can search a property without a warrant and avoid the extradition requirements that police must follow."

Those philosophers are more competitive than you thought. According to The Philosophical Gourmet Report, the University of Chicago has the country's top department if you want to study continental philosophy, Hegel and German idealism, or Foucault. The U. of C. "Chronicle" (April 15) reports that the department also ranked fourth in Marx, fifth in Freud, and ninth in Nietzsche. Overall, however, the department came in 16th.

Insurance? Or just not up to golf anymore? Conscience (Spring) reports that attendance at Mass increases with age: just 16 percent of Catholics ages 18 to 29 say they attend weekly, compared with 32 percent of those in their 30s, 38 percent in their 40s, 47 percent in their 50s, and 73 percent of those 60 or over.

Chicago River in 2019, according to Mayor Daley, interviewed in the "River Reporter" (Spring): "People from all over the country will come to Chicago to go to the river for what it has to offer. There will be parks, businesses, riverwalks, cafes, river taxis, fishing docks, bicycle and nature trails. There will be boats and canoes going up and down the River."

Good news for Chicago, bad news for Peoria. A recent working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that "college educated couples are increasingly concentrated in large metropolitan areas," in large part because that's where both partners have a chance of finding suitable jobs. Authors Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn speculate that "because skilled professionals are increasingly bundled with an equally skilled spouse, smaller cities may experience reduced inflows of human capital relative to the past and therefore become poorer."

"Alexander Solzhenitsyn is not exactly my favorite commentator on world affairs," writes Noam Chomsky in an on-line "ZNet Commentary" on May 9. "But he does have it basically right this time: 'NATO is imposing on the whole world and the next century an ancient law...whoever is strongest is right.'"

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission "has violated the first safety rule in mountain climbing," warns David Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service in a May 7 letter to Illinois media: "Never let go with one hand until you have a firm grip with the other." The NRC has discontinued its "watch list" and replaced it with a "risk informed" approach to nuclear-reactor safety. The new approach, whatever it is, reportedly will take four to eight years to implement.

Breast-feeding is better for babies, but it doesn't make them smarter, according to a study by Wayne State University scientists published in the suburban-based Pediatrics Electronic Pages (May). True, 4-year-olds and 11-year-olds who'd been breast-fed scored higher on IQ tests than those who hadn't been, but the difference pretty much disappeared once researchers corrected for mothers' IQ and for parenting skills as measured by a standard test. In other words, the breast-feeding didn't make the kids smarter; their heredity and upbringing did.

"Homeowners today want to perfect their home environment," Richard Becker tells Barbara Hower in "Focus" (May), newsletter of the Chicago branch of the American Institute of Architects. "It is this search for perfection, and an impatience with the old or quirky, that is driving the very strong new construction market." Architects' clients reportedly are anxious to have lots of open space, the latest technology, lots of closets, and--according to one unnamed architect--"great kitchens with beautiful cooking equipment (whether they plan to use it or not)."

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