Are 2,430 Illinois families going to be on the streets in October? That's how an August 13 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report ("House Funding Level Would Lead to More Than 60,000 Fewer Families Receiving Housing Voucher Assistance") reads the HUD appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives on July 25. "About 63,000 vouchers in use by families will lose funding," say the CBPP analysts, whose views are backed up by a Congressional Budget Office estimate. If the cuts are shared evenly across the states, about 2,430 Illinois families who now depend on housing vouchers will not have them when the new federal fiscal year begins in October. That's just over 3 percent of the 77,830 vouchers projected to be in use in the state at that time.
Just hanging on. In 1980 the Loop contained 84 million square feet of office space, more than two-thirds of all office space in the metropolitan area, reports Robert Lang in his new book, Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis. In the following 20 years downtown sprouted another 50 million square feet of offices, but suburban "edge cities" and even more formless "edgeless cities"--office-building sprawl without retail businesses--grew faster, and now the Loop's share of metropolitan space has dropped to just 54 percent.
"Religion should be a rich source of jokes," writes David Heim, editor of the Chicago-based Christian Century (August 9), "provided you take it seriously." But "many of the jokes and cartoons that cross our desks at the Century are not amusing: they don't take religion seriously enough. Most seem to regard the church as the venue of juvenile cuteness and the home of long-winded, money-hungry buffoons. If that's the assumption, then there's nothing to joke about. Humor arises only in the tension between the sublime and the ridiculous, the serious and the profane."
No race to the bottom in Central American trade and investment, reports the New Democrats' think tank, the Public Policy Institute ("PPI Trade Fact of the Week," August 13). Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua "have similar sizes, speak the same language, and are in the same place; so if 'race-to-the-bottom' fears were correct, the region's poorer countries would draw more jobs and investment than its richer ones," as greedy corporations exploited their desperation. In fact, Costa Rica--with the smallest and best-off and best-educated population--has more U.S. investment than its four poorer neighbors combined, and in most years exports more to the U.S. than each of them does.
What would a real governor do? Tribune reporter Cornelia Grumman, quoted in Mother Jones (July/August): "I think Illinois needs to set up an innocence commission, sort of like modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board. If a plane crashes and the NTSB comes in and they investigate what happened, what went wrong. Someone gets imprisoned wrongly for 20 years and it turns out they're innocent and we do nothing. Nothing. No state does anything. I think we need to set up some kind of commission that goes in and finds out what went wrong. And who are those cops that are working on it and who are the prosecutors and who are the defense attorneys and what other cases have they dealt with?"
He's not lying, he just can't remember what he said. George W. Bush, September 13, 2001 (Sam Smith's "Undernews," August 12): "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him!" George W. Bush, March 13, 2002: "I don't know where he is....I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you....I truly am not that concerned about him."