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Calling him a "terrorist" might help you get through. Tom McGrath writes U.S. Catholic (October) on the omnipresence of commercials: "If any of us were approached by a slick-talking stranger who said he wanted to come into our house and talk to our kids for a couple of hours a night--just to give them suggestions about what to wear, what to eat, what kind of music they should like, and what they should consider dorky--we would call John Ashcroft and try to have that person arrested."

We're number seven! The Web site opensecrets.org reports that September 9 Federal Election Commission data for the 2002 election cycle show that Illinois is the seventh most generous state (or district) when it comes to political contributions--$37.8 million--behind only the District of Columbia, California, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Illinois is the most evenly balanced state in partisan terms--51 percent of the loot went to Republicans, 48 percent to Democrats.

Prisoner plateau. Daniel Dighton writes in the summer issue of the "Compiler," newsletter of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: "At the Illinois Department of Corrections, after years of steady growth and a peak of more than 45,600 inmates in 2001, the population seems to have plateaued, with 43,101 inmates as of June 30, 2002."

You have mxplvtie pkkoorfett, and it might befevvel your axxupp. Out of 200 suburban health care facilities surveyed by Rui Kaneya (Chicago Reporter, September), just 22 employ interpreters for non-English-speaking patients. "More than half of the facilities encourage patients to bring their families or friends to interpret. 145 facilities use employees with other jobs to interpret, and 80 of them rely on bilingual clerks, janitors or other employees with no medical background."

Give us your poor, your tired, yearning to be singled out by a scarlet letter. According to an August 27 report by Greg McDonald of stateline.org, Iowa has already issued more than 700 driver's licenses to resident foreign nationals that are marked in red with the words "Nonrenewable--Documentation Required." The state motor vehicles administrator reports few complaints.

Why should I care where my food comes from? asks libertarian journalist Ronald Bailey nonrhetorically in Reason Online (September 25). He argues it should be less of a concern now, given that food is less hazardous than ever. "As recently as 1933-35, a U.S. Public Health Service survey found that 5,458 children between the ages of 1 and 15 died from diarrhea and enteritis, most caused by food-borne pathogens. By contrast, a recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that just 29 Americans died of food-borne illnesses between 1993 and 1997. Meanwhile, stomach cancer rates are down by 75 percent since 1950 because old-fashioned food preservation techniques like salting, pickling, and smoking have been replaced by refrigeration."

The W doctrine is radical, not conservative, argues emeritus professor of history and political science Paul Schroeder of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in an article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and excerpted in an October 1 university press release. By claiming that the U.S. has the right and duty to make preemptive war against any other regime with weapons of mass destruction that it considers evil, the administration "fails to recognize the ineradicable sources of conflict in international relations; the fact that rooting out evil may destroy more good than evil; the inevitability of gradual change, especially when war and violence force the pace; the vital necessity of international rules, mutually accepted practices and legitimating principles; and above all, the awareness that most evils cannot be rooted out, but must be held in check, endured, managed, lived with and outlived."

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