Do male supremacists support gun control? The Chicago Crime Commission’s “Action Alert” (Fall/Winter) quotes Kirsten Lindberg, author of Girls Behind the Boys, Girls in Gangs, on why girls have taken on a stronger role in street gangs: “With easy access to guns, girls do not have to rely on their generally weaker physical strength to have the same power as their male counterparts.”

Degrees of endangerment. A recent Urban Institute press release on a new policy brief reports that 37 percent of Hispanics have no health insurance, compared to 22 percent of blacks and 13 percent of whites.

Why “full disclosure” may not mean much. Jordan Industries was one of the most generous corporate benefactors to Democratic would-be presidential candidate Bill Bradley, letting him fly 36 times in its corporate jet in the past year and being reimbursed $66,248–the equivalent of first-class airfare but far less than the cost of flying the plane. According to a February 29 press release from the Center for Responsive Politics, finding that out was no walk in the park. “On the reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Bradley’s campaign reimbursed the 36 flights to JI Properties, an obscure subsidiary of Jordan. Even after several calls to the Bradley campaign–which could not immediately provide information about JI Properties–executives of the Chicago-based outfit were only identified after an in-person visit to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to get a copy of the company’s annual report.” According to Hoover’s On-line (, Jordan Industries is a privately owned, Deerfield-based holding company that owns “more than 30 companies that make everything from bibles to bicycle reflectors,” with 1998 sales close to $1 billion. John W. Jordan II is chairman and CEO–and a member of Bradley’s campaign advisory board.

Things you can find out on the street–or by conducting a study. Susan Popkin and Mary Cunningham of the Urban Institute report in “Searching for Housing With Section 8 in Chicago Region” (September) that “a large proportion of CHA residents truly believed that Section 8 was part of a larger conspiracy to drive poor African-Americans out of Chicago.”

“A conference is a piece of theater,” writes Stanley Fish, dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s college of liberal arts and sciences, in Slate (January 10). “You are always on display, in the hotel lobby, at the book exhibit, on the dais, in the bar….I recall a conference a year ago in Atlanta, [where]…no one acknowledged me or commented on my talk or broke away from a group to say hello, or even greeted me in the drink line. What is happening? Am I becoming invisible? And suddenly I realized that I was at the wrong party (there were two conventions at the hotel), and I hurried down the hall to the right one where I was immediately surrounded by familiar faces and everyone knew my name. A narrow escape, but I realized then (though I pushed the realization away) that the escape was to something artificial and ephemeral, and that what was real or at least more enduring than brief moments of academic theater (also a description of the classroom) were all those moments when you were alone and had to make do with the resources inside you, if any.”

Selective persecution. Unexpected things you can learn from reviewing the on-line summary of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s “Green Book” on the 2000 cars: the “green score” (based primarily on the amount of particulate and greenhouse-gas emissions) for the much derided Jeep Cherokee SUV (the automatic scored 21, the manual 23) is almost exactly the same as that of the rarely derided Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan (22) (

Excuse me, but we’re going to audit your aura. From an ad in the winter issue of New Age newsletter “Cholla Wayra: The Winds of Vision” (based in Wadsworth): “Bad Karma with the IRS? Don’t get your chakras out of alignment! HOLISTIC TAX PREPARATION.”

“As you know, the state is politically divided between Republicans and Democrats of all stripes,” writes Doug Dobmeyer in StreetWise (February 29), the majority of them centrists with rightist leanings. “Liberals can be easily identified as the people entering the [statehouse] building with their right index finger in the air. They are constantly testing the political winds to determine how more or less liberal they should be today. The unchanging ones are isolated as nice has-beens unable to shift with the political times.”