Demography is not destiny, even at the sushi bar. Kimiyo Naka writes in the Chicago Reporter (June) that of 139 sushi chefs in 36 Chicago sushi restaurants surveyed, 41 are of Japanese descent, 31 Korean, 25 Mexican, 22 Chinese, and 17 Ecuadorian.

“Robert Taylor Homes resident leaders went on a trip in April to Springfield and Peoria where they saw beautiful new homes that were built by the same developers that will rebuild Robert Taylor,” writes Beauty Turner in the Residents’ Journal (June). But only a few of the homes they saw were for former public-housing residents. “A representative for the management of the Madison Park Place Homes [in Springfield] said only two families from the former development [John Hay Homes] live there and two more are pending. [Springfield Housing Authority executive director Bill] Logan corrected the management representative: ‘Well over 200 people came back to fill out the applications but due to them not being able to pass the criteria, they could not come back.'”

Oil may not be too cheap to meter, but it’s too cheap to fight for, according to a recent Cato Institute report: “The United States spends an estimated $30 billion to $60 billion a year on safeguarding Middle East oil supplies, even though its annual oil imports from the region totaled only $10.25 billion between 1992 and 1999” (“Policy Analysis,” number 409, August 1).

Sixty years of progress. Black Chicagoans who would have had to move to create a fully integrated city in 1940: 95 percent. In 2000: 81 percent (from the Upjohn Institute’s newsletter “Employment Research,” July).

Illinois has 116 acres of state parkland for every 10,000 acres of land, according to State Comptroller Daniel Hynes’s “Fiscal Focus” (May/June). That’s “more than double the national average of 57 state park acres per 10,000 total acres and ranks Illinois 13th in the nation.”

With victories like this, who needs defeats? The highest-ranking Libertarian public official in Illinois is Harold Forbes, now a trustee of the Ford County village of Melvin, two hours south of Chicago. Last April, Forbes finished third in the race for village president, drawing 30 votes out of 162 cast. According to the summer issue of “TaxNews,” newsletter of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, he was “appointed village trustee as an acknowledgment of his strong showing in the mayoral race.” (The election results can be found at

More research urgently needed. From an abstract published by Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research in “Working Papers” (Spring/Summer 2001): Based on interviews with 200 low-income noncustodial fathers in two cities, “We find that fathers believe incarceration has profound effects on their relationships, both with their children, their children’s mothers, and others within their social network (their own mothers, for example) who may maintain some contact with the child.”

In a sentence. Keay Davidson writes in an approving review of Daniel Greenberg’s book Science, Money, and Politics, published by the University of Chicago Press: “We need more Greenbergs. Too many science writers cover science as uncritically as fashion reporters cover fashion” (Scientific American, September).

On the button watch at the state fair. Reporting in a recent letter to supporters of a return to cumulative voting for the Illinois House of Representatives, Dan Johnson-Weinberger of the Midwest Democracy Center wrote: “U.S. senior senator Dick Durbin took one of our cumulative voting buttons–and put it on his shirt! He wore our button ALL DAY LONG!! This is the only button he had on.”