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"It has gotten to the point where we believe that 'NRC' [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] really stands for 'Not Really Concerned,'" says Dave Kraft of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, commenting in an August press release on a Public Citizen report that federal regulators frequently permit reactors to continue running while in violation of safety regulations.

"Preserve biodiversity" doesn't necessarily mean "preserve as many species of plants and animals as possible," according to an article on the wetland prairies of the Florida Everglades published in Conservation Biology (August). There, low biodiversity--a result of scarce nutrients--"is intrinsic to the ecosystem's uniqueness and so should be preserved."

"Land use was predictable and orderly in Chicago in 1921," before the city imposed a zoning law, report John McDonald of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Daniel McMillen of Tulane University in the current issue of Regional Science and Urban Economics. "Commercial lots were often mixed into residential areas, but far less likely than by chance. Manufacturing firms were far more likely to locate near commercial establishments or other manufacturers than to be near houses. However...the Zoning Commission's worries were not entirely unfounded in that residential and manufacturing uses were occasionally mixed together on the same block....The long-run effect of the 1923 Chicago zoning ordinance was to create monopoly power for existing non-conforming uses [which were grandfathered in], while delaying or preventing the market's ability to adapt to changing economic conditions."

History you won't hear from libertarians. From Nathan Newman's new book, Net Loss: Government, Technology and the Political Economy of Community in the Age of the Internet: "The Internet is one of the crowning achievements of central government in the last few decades--planned over decades, funded by a series of federal agencies, and overseen by a national network of experts. And its success is not merely an exemplar of technical achievement but is also an exemplar of the efficiency of government planning over purely private economic development. In the absence of the open standards of the Internet developed and promoted by the federal government, almost all analysts admit that the private vision of toll road information services promoted by industry would not have created the surge of explosive economic innovation we are currently seeing around the Internet. It is only with the success of the Internet (and the profits to be made) that industry is now decrying the interference of government in information access."

"The assimilation process doesn't always run smoothly," writes Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute in a July press release. "In Chicago where I grew up, there were whole neighborhoods where the predominant language was Polish, Italian, or Spanish....[But] today's immigrants have high rates of home ownership; they are becoming citizens in record numbers; and perhaps the ultimate sign of cultural assimilation is that they are marrying outside their own ethnic group at very high rates."

"Raising the price of alcohol, for example with a tax increase, will reduce the amount of severe violence that men impose on their female partners," according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Sara Markowitz, based on National Family Violence Surveys done in 1985, '86, and '87 (

"Men can say, 'Well honey, I'm going out for the night.' And then they disappear for two months," says a white Chicago divorcee quoted by researcher Kathryn Edin in "What Do Low-income Single Mothers Say About Marriage?" (a July working paper published by the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research). "The mother has a deeper commitment, conscience or compassion....If [women] acted like men, our kids would be in the park, left. We'd say, 'Oh, somebody else is going to take care of it.' Everybody would be orphaned."

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