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Illinois' four PAC-millionaire U.S. representatives--those who have received more than $1 million in the last decade from "special-interest political action committees," according to Common Cause: Robert Michel (R-Peoria), $2.5 million; Dan Rostenkowski (D-Chicago), $2.2 million; Richard Durbin (D-Springfield), $1.3 million; and Lane Evans (D-Quad Cities), $1.3 million. Only conservative north-suburban Philip Crane (R) got nothing from PACs.

Hmm--doesn't require cable hookup either. Helmut Friedel in Video (March-April), from the Center for New Television on North Dayton: "The only truly original video image is the 'snow' on the TV screen."

"Organizers of the [gangs'] peace effort face skepticism on all fronts," writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (April 5) on the occasion of the Kansas City "National Truce Movement Summit" this weekend. "Traditional black nationalists are suspicious of gang members' lack of ideology, the civil-rights fraternity is put off by their proletarian sensibilities, law enforcement agencies see nothing but scam and community organizers question their commitment. I share some of that skepticism. Nonetheless, these vibrant but confused African American youth are our future. And we all have a stake in how that turns out."

Warning: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering allowing nuclear facilities not to clean up their sites to previous "background" radiation levels. The response from Dave Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service: "For years, all nuclear industries have been charging recipients of their services fees--fees which should have included site cleanup of its activities, which is a cost of doing business. To maintain that they haven't got the money now to pay for cleanup is to admit that the costs for nuclear services provided have been grossly misrepresented and undervalued. Had these costs been more realistic, society and the market may not have 'chosen' nuclear options to continue."

Salt-water clout is showing up in small ways on Capitol Hill, as Great Lakes states continue to lose representatives in Congress (11 in the 1990 redistricting alone). The Great Lakes Reporter (January/February) notes that one subcommittee of the House Merchant Marine Committee that was formerly called "Oceanography, Great Lakes, and the Outer-Continental Shelf" is now known as "Oceanography, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Outer-Continental Shelf."

"What's the best way for a playwright to get your attention?" the Chicago Dramatists Workshop Newsletter (Spring) asks Goodman Theatre literary manager Susan Booth. Her reply: "An idea or premise that I've not heard before. An 'issue play' that transcends its immediate issue and tells me something about the human condition that I cannot look away from. even if I disagree with it." What's the worst way? "Call me a lot."

Less democracy = fiscal health? "Chicago has managed to stay in better fiscal health than New York thanks to its powerful political machine and narrow-focus approach to city government," according to Shirley Siluk's summary of Ester R. Fuchs's new book Mayors and Money in Chicago Enterprise (March/April). "In Chicago, a powerful political machine emerged that allowed the mayor to cut spending without fear of voter retribution. In New York, there was no insulation for the mayor from the demands of interest groups."

Diagnosis: religious fanaticism. Rx: More religion. Publicity from the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions on West Adams: "Those who attended [the original parliament in 1893] believed that it would be the first of a series of international interfaith gatherings that would contribute to understanding, peace and progress. It was not to be. Religious intolerance and violence have been part of the wars of the past 100 years, and continue so today." The council is preparing to hold a second parliament in Chicago, August 28 through September 5.

Or white land thieves. On September 16, 1893, "more than 100,000 brave pioneers raced to stake out land claims in the eight million acre parcel of land known as the Cherokee Strip," according to U.S. Postal Service publicity about a new stamp commemorating the "Cherokee Strip Land Run."

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

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