In a sentence. Harvard professor Helen Vendler, reviewing How Milton Works, the latest book by Stanley Fish, the University of Illinois at Chicago's superstar, disputes his assumption that his readings of the English poet are universally accepted (New Republic, July 30). "Fish assumes that his putative reader is Everyman, but he is only EveryFish."
Property rights are human rights, argues Heartland Institute president and founder Joseph Bast in the "Heartlander," the institute's monthly newsletter (July): "Freedom of religion is impossible without property rights, because churches, synagogues, and temples all must be owned by someone or some group. Ask the Chinese if you disagree. The same is true of newspapers, television and radio stations, and book publishers. Ask the Russians if you disagree. You can't have labor unions without private property: Ask the Poles if you doubt that. You can't have hospitals that pursue different philosophies of health care, or any of the thousands of other private institutions that make up civil society, without private property rights."
Research news: college kids move around. Economist Yolanda Kodrzycki tracks the classes of 1979-'91 in an article published in the New England Economic Review (January/February): "According to the NLSY [National Longitudinal Survey of Youth], five years after college graduation, 30 percent of the graduates no longer live in the state where they attended college and 35 percent no longer live in the state where they attended high school. These rates are at least twice as high as those for young adults who have less education."
Ethanol rules. A.V. Krebs writes in the "Agribusiness Examiner" (July 31): "Despite the fact that it regularly makes nearly every hit list of 'corporate welfare'; despite the fact that its biggest champion former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole is no longer in the U.S. Senate; despite the fact that environmentalists no longer are enthusiastic about it as an alternative fuel; despite the fact that the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Congress's investigative agency, has questioned its merits . . . ; and despite the fact that its biggest producer ADM had become a political liability, the ethanol subsidy, which has cost more than $7 billion to date, is destined to survive well into the 21st century."
"I once asked Newt Gingrich what he thought the Robert Taylor Homes were going to look like without AFDC [Aid to Families With Dependent Children]," Washington Post reporter Jason DeParle told an August 2 Brookings Institution forum on welfare reform (on-line at www.brookings.edu/
comm/transcripts/20010802.htm). "He said, 'I think you might be astonished. It's called Hong Kong.'" DeParle's reporting in Milwaukee and elsewhere has led him to suspect that welfare was never as important in most recipients' lives as it was in politicians' debates.
Do private schools grow up in zip-code areas where they're most needed? The figures gathered by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economist Lisa Barrow suggest otherwise. "Few community characteristics have statistically significant net effects on the count of private schools," she writes in the third-quarter issue of the FRB's Economic Perspectives. "I find statistically significant positive relationships between the number of private schools in 1997 and the percent of the population that is Asian and the percent of persons over 55 years of age. In addition, I find a statistically significant negative relationship between the number of private schools and average household income."
Springfield, nightlife mecca of the midwest. How readers of Illinois Times (July 26-August 1) responded to the paper's annual "Best of Springfield" poll: Best place to go after midnight? "Home." Best place to pick up a guy or gal? "Church."
"I am auctioning off the naming rights to my colon," announced Carrie McLaren, publisher of the anticommercialist magazine Stay Free!, in its associated on-line newsletter (July 31). "It's been causing me problems lately, and I'd like a company to blame."