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Promotional letters we were too fastidious to finish: "'Taste does not exist without scent,' says wine expert Joshua Wesson. 'The nose is nothing less than a fax machine to the heart and the oval office of the soul.'"

"The rate of serious crime in the United States is going down. That is the little secret that the criminal justice system knows but will not tell," writes Joseph Dillon Davey in the Chicago-based Human Rights (Spring). Although reported crime is up, "state-of-the-art" surveys by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics show 35 million criminal offenses in 1973, 41 million in 1981, and 34 million in 1993. "Yet by making the public more fearful, criminal justice professionals and the mass media have ensured a steady increase in funding for the entire criminal justice system."

Taboo topic, according to Dale Calandra of Center Theater, in New Plays! (Spring): "We don't limit people to, say, two-character plays or period plays or modern plays. We do musicals; we've done one acts. The one thing that I don't want to see anymore, that I know just doesn't work for us, is another play about a dysfunctional family. Half of the submissions are plays about dysfunctional families."

"The reason welfare reform never works is quite simple," writes Northwestern sociologist Christopher Jencks in Harper's (April). "Welfare is the cheapest system yet devised for taking care of children whose parents do not live together and whose mothers have few job skills. AFDC cost taxpayers about $24 billion in 1992. A good alternative would cost almost twice as much."

"This trade war must be stopped," writes Eric Banfield in the Downers Grove Reporter (March 2), pointing out that its alleged objective makes no sense. "What if Japanese consumers don't want to buy the exact number of products the U.S. and Japanese governments agree upon? What is the Japanese government supposed to do? Force Japanese consumers to buy them? The Japanese government at least realizes that's ridiculous, and objects to the U.S. government's stupid request."

Geologically speaking. Last month Moraine Valley Community College in suburban Palos Hills bulldozed ten 26-year-old classroom and office buildings which it described as "temporary."

Up from slavery? Robert Woodson of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise on the relocation, downsizing, and 2,500 percent fee increase the city is imposing on Maxwell Street vendors: "Even during the days of slavery, white landowners allowed their slaves to maintain small gardens of their own, from which, every Sunday, they would harvest their produce and sell it in town in makeshift markets."

Doctor, could you amputate that gun from my neighbor's closet? From Forum Notes (April): "Dr. [Katherine Kaufer] Kristoffel [of Children's Memorial Hospital] emphasized the importance of reframing gun violence as a public health issue, citing the success of the campaign against drunk driving....She further emphasized that gun violence must be treated as an epidemic, like polio, and compared deaths due to gun violence in 1991 to deaths due to polio in 1952."

I was a CO in the health-care war. A new ACLU report points out that President Clinton's proposed Health Security Act "requires that all eligible individuals enroll in health plans. However, certain religious faiths, notably Christian Science, reject conventional medicine. The First Amendment requires that the Act recognize the equivalent of 'conscientious objector' status for such individuals."

Speaking of COs, I think I hear one now. "Universal coverage...will not bring with it universal wellness," writes holistic physician Elaine R. Ferguson in Conscious Choice (March/April). "The health system doesn't need to be reformed, but transformed, from a reductionist, scientific method to a holistic approach that focuses on health and healing instead of disease and curing....Until we begin [to do this], the 'reform' of our current system will only serve to deform it even more."

Percentage of Chicago families entitled to child support who are receiving no payments, according to the Metro Chicago Information Center: 58.

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

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