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Meeting tonight, BYOC. "One of our goals is to increase the level of parent involvement," writes Marcy D. Schlessinger, chairman of the Ray Elementary Local School Council, in a letter to Catalyst (February). "Unfortunately, we have no money in our budget to purchase any decent, adult-size chairs. Meanwhile, Pershing Road seems to be overflowing with new conference tables and folding chairs. We need at least 50 chairs and 10 tables and would be happy to pick them up from Pershing Road ourselves."

"The big lie about welfare reform is that it will 'break the cycle of poverty' by forcing the poor to get jobs," writes Ruth Conniff in the Progressive (February). "In fact, the low-wage jobs that are available to people on welfare generally lead to nothing but more poverty. Even worse, workfare programs amount to institutionalized child neglect....It is virtually impossible to find dependable childcare starting at five or six in the morning, or during the split shifts and night shifts that are available for a minimum wage. And even if they could support themselves and their children on $5 to $7 an hour, AFDC recipients lose their health benefits shortly after they become employed, so they can't afford to take their children to a doctor. ...Within a few short years, children shoved aside now so that their mothers can perform meaningless jobs will be filling up special-education classes. In a decade, the girls will be getting pregnant and the boys will be in jail." Well said, although we are still waiting for the Progressive to make the politically incorrect discovery that children at all economic levels benefit from having a nurturing parent at home.

A senator from the cold war, for the cold war. Amount donated to U.S. Senator Alan Dixon by Los Angeles-based Northrop Corporation, prime contractor for the B-2 Stealth bomber, which Dixon has supported: $12,500, according to Illinois SANE/FREEZE PAC. Amount Illinois gets back for every $1 its taxpayers send to the Pentagon for this plane: 25 cents, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

And we thought press releases were sent out for reasons of pride. From Secretary of State George Ryan: "Secretary of State Police Recover Car Stolen 21 Years Ago."

"I invite all Roman Catholics who would like to belong to a more democratic church to become United Methodists," writes Notre Dame philosophy graduate student David Lutz in First Things (January). "In a fallen, sinful world, liberal democracy may be the best alternative for structuring [secular] political institutions, but it is not our best option for structuring Christian churches and universities.ÉMany of the problems within the Catholic Church in the United States today are related to the attempt by American Catholics to apply the political system of their government to their Church." Oh, of course: the "best option for structuring Christian churches" is the Roman Empire. All later developments are much too fallen and sinful to be considered.

Will the avant-garde outlive Representative Sidney Yates? According to Nicols Fox in New Art Examiner (January), the future of the National Endowment for the Arts "sits--as it has over the last ten years--in the aging hands of the powerful Sidney Yates, who has thus far protected it by a series of clever maneuvers and outright deals."

"Some homeless men may be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, if they are provided with a good pair of boots," concludes Roosevelt University economist Steven Balkin in a recent working paper. According to his survey of 24 shelter operators, the most common form of self-employment for homeless men now is collecting cans from the garbage; the least common is "raising earthworms to sell to fishermen."

Remaining capacity of Illinois landfills, 1990: 351.2 million cubic yards. In 1991: 360.9 million cubic yards. Hmm--if this is a garbage crisis, what will they call it when the capacity starts decreasing?

"I don't have a television. I just don't need one. You can always tell what's on TV when you hear more than two people in a row say the same strange phrase in the same way. I know that they have just seen it on television" (Kathy Danger, quoted in Mother Jones, January/February).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

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