Lawyers notice the creeping coup. From an American Bar Association task-force preliminary report issued August 8 on the treatment of U.S. citizens detained as “enemy combatants” ( “The Administration has not yet attempted to explain what procedures it believes should be required to assure that detentions are consistent with Due Process, American tradition, and international law. It cannot be sufficient for a President to claim that the Executive can detain whomever it wants, whenever it wants, for as long as it wants as long as the detention bears some relationship to a terrorist act once committed by somebody against the United States. Short of such a claim, what are the limits?”

“We want to encourage streets for strolling, shady green spaces, window shopping, very private and quiet spaces at home, daylight, and other elements that are known to enhance urban life,” says architect Diane Legge Kemp, who serves on the city’s Zoning Reform Commission. “To achieve this requires an urban sensitivity on the part of architects and a zoning ordinance that will allow us to do the right thing…. Good architects will not have to change anything” (“Focus,” newsletter of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, September).

Not just scenery. From a September 9 U.S. Geological Survey announcement of a five-year project to map areas of rich aquatic life in the Great Lakes basin: “The Nature Conservancy estimates that the Great Lakes region supports more than 30 communities of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on Earth.”

Been there, tried that. The 2002 election, according to Richard Winger’s “Ballot Access News” (August 1), “will be the first even- year election since 1868 at which no Prohibition Party nominee is on the ballot for any public office.”

Why do children who live with cohabiting couples have more problems than those living with single parents or married couples? It’s not a lack of money, but it may be how cohabiting couples spend theirs, explain Thomas DeLeire and Ariel Kalil in an April paper from the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. “Our results indicate that cohabiting couples with children spend a far greater share of their income on alcohol and tobacco–73% to 90% more controlling for observable characteristics [such as income] in a cross section–than married couples with children spend. How do these couples pay for this excess consumption of alcohol and tobacco? The results suggest that they spend less on health care and education than married couples with children spend….It is not the legal status of cohabitation that is the key issue, but rather it is something about the men who are cohabitors–alcohol and tobacco expenditure does not decrease when cohabitors marry.”

Wish I’d been there. From a Beacon Street Gallery press release about an exhibit by Fernando Carbajal and Aldo Quintanar that closed September 13: “One could say that the artworks they create together are the babies, conversations, and busted mouths that they have given each other over the years.”

The last word on the Iraq war mania, from Toronto Sun contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis (August 25): “George Bush, who takes pride in not reading books, and calls Greeks ‘Grecians,’ is charging like a Texas bull into the trap set for him by both bin Laden and Gen. Sharon. Israel has been trying for 20 years to get the U.S. to go to war against the Arabs and Iran, knowing this will permanently enlist America’s vast wealth and power in its cause, and permanently alienate the U.S. from the Islamic world. If ever the United States needed real friends, it is now. And real friends like Canada, Germany and France are trying to deter the empty, misguided George Bush and his hijacked cabinet from committing an outright aggression that risks plunging the Mideast into chaos, or even nuclear war.”