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Unless they've contributed to my campaign fund. "At a fund-raising dinner," reports Sam Smith in the "Progressive Review" (June 11), "the President promised more actions like that against Yugoslavia to aid people attacked for their racial, ethnic or religious background: 'If we can stop it, we intend to stop it.' It was not clear whether Clinton was referring to China with its repression of Christians, Buddhists, Tibetans, and human rights activists."

Effects of schooling. The ninth-graders enrolled in the new Jones Academic Magnet High School in the south Loop last summer had to score above the national norm in reading to get in, according to Substance (June). When the same students were tested in May at the end of the school year, only 81 percent were still at or above the national norm.

That's it--my house needs a kidney. From a recent issue of "Medicare Today": "Just imagine what it would be like if you couldn't get rid of anything you brought into your house--empty food containers, leftovers, things you no longer need. After a while, your home would be so cluttered that you could no longer function. That is similar to what happens inside your body when your kidneys no longer work properly. Every minute of every day, organs and body cells create waste during their normal functions. When kidneys function properly, they serve as the body's natural waste removal system."

Let's turn on the Word Wrestling Federation after we meditate. The Roman first century "is one of a complex psychology and is marked by a curious mixture of violence and sentimentality, a life spent amid the images of death and yet given over to a constant gloss of public moralizing and religious invocations," writes University of Chicago classics professor Shadi Bartsch in her essay for "Reflections 2000" (http://adminet.uchicago. edu/millennium/bartsch/bartsch_a.cfm). "Stoics felt that man achieved his noblest potential by learning to disregard the problems and sufferings of the world around him and also by learning to become inured to loss, pain, or misfortune himself. This perfection was to be accomplished by a constant scrutiny of the self, a constant interior dialogue that trained the soul to let go of its attachments....[They], like us, wanted such control and wanted to be safe from the haphazard assaults of chance--the emperor who lost his temper, the spectator thrown to the gladiators. They attempted to seize control of the only thing they had left to control: their own interiority. And at the same time, they went, sometimes daily, to see the spectacle of death, to see others whose fate signaled anything but man's control over his fate."

The wild life. According to a recent state Department of Natural Resources press release, approximately 16,000 raccoons were removed from homes in the Chicago area in 1997.

True, but there are plenty of PR people willing to fill in. Dallas Morning News religion reporter Christine Wicker, quoted in U.S. Catholic (July): "Covering God was the toughest beat at the newspaper because nobody ever gets to interview the source."

"Farm prices for organic corn were on average 35 percent higher than U.S. cash prices for conventionally grown corn in 1995, 44 percent higher in 1996, and 73 percent higher in 1997," writes Rick Welsh in a report recently published by the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture. According to his review of land-grant university studies and price trends, organic agriculture is a competitive alternative to conventional farming, even in the grain belt.

The amount of the world's land that was forested in 1990, according to the 1999 UN report "State of the World's Forests": 3,510 million hectares. In 1995: 3,454 million.

I bought this at the store--what is it? According to a recent press release the Field Museum held a one-day adult course on "exotic edibles" in June; participants were encouraged "to bring produce items for identification."

The times they are a-changin'. Number of vehicles registered in Chicago in 1956, according to "Transportation Facts" (April): 1 million, roughly 29 percent of all vehicles in Illinois. In 1997: 1.3 million, roughly 14 percent of all vehicles in Illinois.

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