“Drained wetlands often have a seed bank that can last for decades and will work like ‘Wetland in a Can’–just add water,” writes Stephen Packard in Chicago Wilderness (Spring). “Dead trees in the water may also mark a place where ancient wetlands are being restored by the intentional disabling of drainage tiles, which costs money to do right. The Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been one of the nation’s leaders in wetland restoration. In recent years, they’ve spent millions of dollars helping forest preserve districts restore wetlands and associated ecosystems–to improve water quality, reduce flooding and erosion, and provide habitat for wildlife and for us. But this year, the Corps’ major wetland restoration fund is being slashed by an administration that wants to spend the money elsewhere….If only the Corps of Engineers could live on bark, like beavers! But somehow they need appropriations to do their work.”

By the numbers. UIC political scientist Daniel Drezner on the “outsourcing bogeyman” in the online version of Foreign Affairs (May/June): “If outsourcing were in fact the chief cause of manufacturing [jobs] losses, one would expect corresponding increases in manufacturing employment in developing countries.” It hasn’t happened. “Globally, the figure for manufacturing jobs lost [between 1995 and 2002] was identical to the U.S. figure–11 percent.”

“In America, food is religion,” writes College of DuPage English professor David McGrath in the Illinois Leader (March 30)–and business and education. “I teach at a college where one might expect some relief from the eating pressures of the private sector. But my own department has line items in its budget for doughnuts, cheese and soda pop at its monthly meetings….The four study groups in my Wednesday night literature class take turns schlepping in meals to eat at halftime. Surely, I might prohibit the 6 foot long sandwich or the buckets of Kentucky Fried that my students generously bring in to share, but imagine how that would affect their written evaluations of their professor at the end of the term!”

Didn’t you hear him say that the Iraqis will welcome us with open arms? “When American officials and policy experts come to Europe saying that ‘everything has changed,’ warning that allied governments must ‘do something’ about the anti-Americanism displayed last year in connection with the Iraq invasion,” writes William Pfaff in the New York Review of Books (April 8), “the Western European reaction is often to marvel at the Americans’ inability to appreciate that the source of the problem lies in how the United States has conducted itself since September 2001. They find this changed United States rather menacing….A French writer has put it this way: it has been like discovering that a respected, even beloved, uncle has slipped into schizophrenia. When you visit him, his words no longer connect with the reality around him.”

Why does Congress think that showing Janet Jackson’s breast on TV is seven times worse than ignoring workplace hazards that could injure or kill an employee? According to Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman’s weekly online column “Focus on the Corporation” (March 24), the House of Representatives has passed a bill in which the fine for broadcasting “indecent” material would be up to $500,000. The current fine for willfully violating worker-safety rules is up to $70,000.