Not color-blind at all. Chicago suburbs that had at least 18 percent fewer black residents than they would if income were the only factor that determined where people live: Berwyn, Braidwood, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Fox Lake, Godley, Hainesville, Harvard, Harwood Heights, Hodgkins, Ingalls, Long Lake, McCook, McCullom, Melrose Park, Monee, Oakwood, River Grove, Rockdale, Round Lake, Wilmington, and Woodstock (from a February report by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, “Black, White and Shades of Brown: Fair Housing and Economic Opportunity in the Chicago Region”).

“Many wetland studies monitor only during the growing season,” says DePaul University soil scientist James Montgomery, according to a March press release. He’s studying wetlands in the Cook County Forest Preserve District’s Somme Woods. “I go to my field site year-round, even when the wind-chill is 20 below or when it’s 98 degrees and we’re standing in mud with mosquitoes buzzing around our heads. That’s when I say to my students, ‘Isn’t science glamorous?'”

Who was our last “archliberal” president? Richard Nixon, says University of Chicago professor Laurence Lynn Jr. in “Poverty Research News” (Winter). “According to a recent study published by the Urban Institute, increases in domestic outlays as a percentage of gross domestic product during the administrations of 20th century presidents were the largest for Nixon.”

Of the $2.4 billion raised to pay for the 1996 federal elections, how much came from public money and donations of less than $200? How much from political action committees and “soft money”? If your guess is based on media coverage, it’s probably wrong. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, public money (from people who checked the box on their tax form allocating $3 to the presidential campaign fund) and small contributions totaled $945 million of 1996 federal campaign funds, while much less–$505 million–came from PACs and soft-money givers.

Fix up. According to the newsletter “Destination 2020,” northeastern Illinois’ recently approved 2020 Regional Transportation Plan targets “over 80% of the projected revenues…to maintaining and rehabilitating the existing highway and transit systems.”

What ministers would say if they had the guts. From Congregational ministers Dale Rosenberger and Martin Copenhaver, quoted by the University of Chicago’s Martin Marty in “Context” (March 15): “Congregant: ‘I grew up in the Christian church, but now I’m more into Native American spirituality.’ Typical lame pastoral response: ‘How interesting! Perhaps you would be interested in our Environmental Awareness Task Force!’ Boldly daring [instead] to speak the truth in love: ‘Oh really? What tribe?'”

At least Mike Madigan knows how to write laws so they stick. John Marshall Law School professor Michael Polelle analyzes the December 18, 1997, Illinois Supreme Court decision that declared the 1995 “tort reform” law unconstitutional (Illinois Bar Journal, March). The Republican-controlled state legislature had passed the law limiting what injured parties could get from those responsible, PA 89-7, in great haste and with a minimum of public input. “The supreme court pointedly exposed the slapdash draftsmanship of PA 89-7 on key issues,” writes Polelle. “Whether one agrees with the supreme court’s analysis of these matters is secondary to the glaring ambiguities and outright contradictions in a statute whose far-reaching consequences deserved more attention to statutory craft. No doubt the undue haste of the Act’s passage through the General Assembly affected the ultimate statutory product. The General Assembly must take note that the supreme court will not and should not rewrite unintelligible statutory text.”

“Every year, the United States, based on recommendations from the State Department, rates the drug-fighting initiatives of drug producing countries around the world,” the Latino newsmagazine “Politico” (March 23) reminds us. “This year, Colombia was decertified but Mexico was not. Critics say the entire process should be scrapped. One Mexican official recently suggested that Latin American nations should get together and decide whether the United States should be decertified based on the level of illegal drug consumption. The U.S. is the leading market for illicit drugs.”

Your tax dollars at work? Illinois education revenues rose from $10.4 billion in 1992-’93 to $13.2 billion in 1996-’97, reports state comptroller Loleta Didrickson in her recent summary of state financial activity. “Few indicators as to the impact of this investment exist.” State mean Illinois Goals Assessment Program scores (third, sixth, and eighth grades) over the same period show math scores rising and reading scores declining or, at best, holding their own.