I will not be donating any organs--please spend the money that would have gone to those transplants on preventive care for the uninsured instead, OK? "An individual act of organ donation may prolong the lives of six individuals on the transplant waiting list," writes Jennifer Girod, a bioethicist and former intensive care nurse, in Second Opinion (December). But the donation costs the health-care system plenty: "The first year costs for the hospital charges, physician fees, and medication are approximately $253,000 for the heart, $314,900 for the liver, $271,000 for each lung, and $116,000 for each kidney." Thus "the donor commits others to spend well over $1 million in short-term surgical and medical costs and $130,000 in follow-up costs each succeeding year, barring complications....If several people in an insurance plan receive transplants each year costing several million dollars, the insurance company must either raise premiums or provide fewer services for other beneficiaries."
Get big or get out. Number of hog farms in Illinois in 1995: 9,600. In 1999: 6,500 ("Fiscal Focus Quarterly," January). Number with more than 2,000 head of hogs in 1995: 430. In 1999: 590.
"Ryan, a diehard Republican, is the best Democratic governor we've had in years," writes James Ylisela Jr. in Illinois Issues (March). "Illinois First, Ryan's brainchild, is a $12 billion tax-and-spend public works program that would make even the most liberal lawmaker blush. And I'd wager that smoking cigars with Fidel Castro and halting state executions weren't on the state GOP's Top 10 'must do' list."
Not enough. The Chicago Rehab Network reports that last year the city's Department of Housing funded the creation or preservation of 971 multifamily rental units--"a substantial reduction from 1999 production of 1,467 units." And 63 percent of those 971 units were intended for seniors, not low-income families (from the Chicago Rehab Network report "Department of Housing 4th Quarter 2000 Analysis").
"Looking at the historical record, it is difficult to make the argument that our 'depletable' fuels--coal, petroleum, and natural gas--are in fact being depleted in any real economic sense," writes Brian Mannix in the Heartland Institute's "Environment & Climate News" (March). "Proven oil reserves worldwide stood at 68 billion barrels in 1947. In the ensuing 41 years, we used 783 billion barrels...and wound up with more than a trillion barrels in proven reserves in 1998. World reserves of natural gas were about one quadrillion cubic feet in 1966; since then, we have used almost two quadrillion, and we have more than five quadrillion left. World coal reserves were 256 billion short tons in 1949; we have used 168 billion of that, and still had more than a trillion short tons left in 1998." What to do with the carbon in them is another story, but at least we aren't in danger of running out.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in the dock. Holmes, who served on the Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932, "was a key figure in a skeptical revolution that greatly influenced American jurisprudence," says University of Chicago law professor Albert Alschuler, author of the new book Law Without Values (University of Chicago Chronicle, March 15). "For most of Western history, the Socratic notion that some things really can be right and wrong dominated moral and legal thought. Today the skeptics are ascendant. The prevailing view is that we make up right and wrong as we go along," and Holmes endorsed that view. "He did not believe in the greatest good for the greatest number; he believed that to the victor belong the spoils."
"Protestant and Catholic, East and West, Christians remain divided--and seem by and large content with their separation," writes Bruce Marshall in First Things (January), quoted by Martin Marty in "Context" (April 1). "The modern ecumenical movement has almost completely failed to attain its one overriding goal: the reunion of divided Christian communities."