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If guns are like viruses, then a suburban murder wave is coming. "Residents of suburban low-crime areas are much more likely to own handguns than those living in the city," according to a recent press release by the Metro Chicago Information Center, taken from its 1991-95 polling data. "Sixteen percent of suburban residents [and 25 percent of downstaters] own handguns, compared to 11% of city residents....Even residents of Chicago communities with the highest murder rates (over 5.5 per 10,000 population in 1993) are less likely to own handguns than residents living in suburban low-crime areas. Only 9% of people living in those communities own handguns."

The federal government is too big, except in my district. According to Sangamon State University political scientist Jack Van Der Slik in his new book One for All and All for Illinois: Representing the Land of Lincoln in Congress, suburban U.S. representative Dennis Hastert "is an active partisan whose [committee] seat on Government Operations is a perfect spot for a critic of big government, while his Energy and Commerce spot provides a good defense for his district's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory."

"I'm very interested that they're not proposing to send Social Security back to the states," Sharon Daly of the Catholic Charities USA tells Kevin Clarke in the Chicago-based U.S. Catholic (May), "because they know that elderly people would quite properly get organized and throw the bums out. But poor people can't do that."

"This was the first time I have heard a judge fine a complaining witness who dropped charges in domestic battery cases," writes a court monitor about April 1994 proceedings at the suburban Rolling Meadows courthouse, published in Citizens Look at Their Courts, the 20th Annual Report of Cook County Court Watchers Inc. "The judge questioned the complaining witness and asked if the battery had taken place, and asked if they were using the police and the court to settle their quarrels. I think this is a great way to handle these cases in which a complaining witness often drops the charges. She asked one complainant if she could handle the guilt feelings if this defendant battered some other woman. I was very impressed and wished that other judges would follow her lead. Perhaps that would bring greater emphasis to the seriousness of all abuse cases."

"I left for many reasons, one of which was a clear understanding that in a short time nobody would be interested in science there," Russian emigre physicist and superconductor expert Alexei Abrikosov tells UIC News (April 12). He left Moscow in April 1991, and is now an adjunct professor of physics at UIC in addition to his senior scientist post at Argonne National Laboratory. He says his prediction has been borne out. "All the institutes and universities [there] are broke and think about survival rather than improvement."

Minority report. Left only to conservative boosters, school choice will dismantle public education, bust unions, lower wages, eliminate benefits and accelerate segregation by class as well as race," writes longtime labor and education organizer John Gardner in In These Times (April 3). "In Milwaukee, the current experimental school choice program, and legislative proposals to expand it, provide funds only to Milwaukee's poorest parents. It's the kind of program--open, tolerant, decentralized, constituent-driven--that ought to appeal to American progressives. But it doesn't. And my progressive friends and colleagues regard my confidence in such possibilities as naively utopian and deviously cynical."

"Though advocates for the poor had feared that the numbers of homeless would increase dramatically [when general assistance was cut off in Michigan in 1991], researchers, headed by University of Michigan social work professor Sandra Danziger, found that did not happen," reports Barbara Vobejda in the Washington Post National Weekly (May 15-21). "But the prediction by state officials that the previous recipients would move into jobs also proved not to be true. Only 38 percent found any formal employment in the two years after they lost their aid. Most of these adults managed to cope by moving in with family members or otherwise making do. Most of them were not pushed into the work force."

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

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