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I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. First sentence in the U.S. Public Health Service's Healthfacts for those 50 and over: "It's too late to die young."

Switch! "The head of every airline ought to spend one day a week riding tourist class, fitting elbows, legs and briefcase into jammed-together seats, and eating airline 'food.'" writes Donella Meadows in The Neighborhood Works (December-January). "Bob Dole, fulminating at the 'waste' of funding municipal swimming pools, ought to spend a summer as a kid on the hot, pool-less streets of New York. Congressional salaries should be set equal to that of the median U.S. family....Every environmentalist should have to go through the permit process to build a shopping mall in a town with strong zoning. Every mall developer should have to live across the street from his or her construction."

Is it possible that decentralization and integration don't mix? Lorraine Forte reports in Catalyst (December) that in 1987 216 Chicago public schools were outside the guidelines for integrated faculties (30-60 percent white, 40-70 percent minority). In 1992, four years after school reform gave principals increased hiring powers, the teaching staffs at 338 schools were outside the guidelines.

Feminism can contribute inadvertently to denial about lesbian battering, according to Mary Allen of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, quoted in Windy City Times (November 4): "There's a set of values that goes with feminism that says that men are the perpetrators, that men have the power, and that men are the ones who will hurt us. It's very painful for women to realize that other women can hurt us as well. And some women would prefer to deny that it happens at all."

"You [baby boomers] wonder about the nature of the 'twenty-somethings': here's your answer," write Tom Frank and Keith White in the Chicago-based Baffler, reprinted in Alternative Press Review (Winter). "We are Twenty-Nothing, forever lost to your suburban platitudes; lost to the simple blather of your TV; deaf to your non-politics; hopelessly estranged from your cult of 'professionalism,' the brain-deadening architecture of your office complexes....Thus we proclaim your American Century at an end, with a shrug of distaste rather than the bang you had counted on. We are a generation that finally says No to your favorite institutions: not only will we not fight for oil, but we don't believe anything that you broadcast, we avoid your malls, we don't care about the free play of signifiers on your cable TV. And you can never be rid of us."

Chicago home-owner property taxes are about average, according to the Civic Federation's comparison of 1991 effective property-tax rates in 13 major cities. Among cities with significantly greater property-tax burdens than Chicago are Columbus, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Houston. The city sales tax is, however, well above average--but those who suffer from this extremely regressive levy just aren't as well organized as home owners are.

When multicultural education is politically incorrect. "The only dimension of parish life that has real, meaningful multicultural interaction is the charismatic prayer group," Father Richard Simon of Saint Thomas of Canterbury Parish on North Kenmore tells Charles Wood in Salt (January). "Spanish-, Vietnamese-, and various English-speaking parishioners attend and pray together for about 30 minutes."

Who, me? Never heard of food stamps. The Illinois Hunger Coalition reports that only 56 percent of eligible Illinoisans are participating in the food-stamp program. More than 900,000 people who could get food stamps don't--supposedly because of a "lack of knowledge about the program."

"The disparity in responding to and enforcing hazardous waste laws is based on race and not on income," according to a National Law Journal study of every federal environmental lawsuit concluded in the last seven years and every residential toxic-waste site in the 12-year history of Superfund (Human Rights, Fall). Among other things, "it takes 20 percent longer for advanced hazardous waste sites in minority communities to be placed on the Superfund priority list than sites in white neighborhoods. Minority areas wait the longest for a federal response to hazardous waste complaints; low-income communities wait almost as long."

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

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