Sorry, you’re not authorized to listen to that music. “On a daily basis I ride the CTA Red Line southbound listening to my Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata on my Walkman with the volume at maximum,” writes Andres Washington in the citywide teen newspaper “New Expression” (October). “I can’t help but notice some of the weird looks I receive from other passengers. I guess they’re wondering why this African-American young man is listening to Spanish music. People, especially in my age group, even have the audacity to ‘snap’ at me with questions like . . .’Why don’t you listen to Black or African music?'”

News you won’t find on the front page. According to the State Department publication “Patterns of Global Terrorism,” 304 terrorist acts were committed worldwide during 1997–“one of the lowest annual totals recorded since 1971” (“Weekly Defense Monitor,” October 1).

Do it yourself. Last fall Consumer Reports investigators found that 71 percent of the chickens they bought in stores was contaminated with either campylobacter or salmonella, two leading causes of food poisoning. This summer they tried again and found them in 74 percent of the chickens.

No brand was noticeably better than another (Consumer Reports, October). Moral: go vegetarian or buy chicken late in your shopping trip, make sure its juices don’t leak onto other foods, freeze or use it within a few days, promptly wash your hands and everything else the raw chicken has touched with hot soapy water, cook it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit inside, and refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bon appetit!

Much ado about not much?

The September issue of “Fiscal Focus” describes a nationwide survey by the Council of State Governments that looked at privatization. Illinois ranked ninth in the number of programs and services privatized, but the shocker was buried deep in the story: “62.3 percent [of the agencies responding nationwide] estimated less than 5 percent savings” from their efforts to privatize.

“Alternative medicine also distinguishes itself by an ideology that largely ignores biologic mechanisms, often disparages modern science, and relies on what are purported to be ancient practices and natural remedies (which are seen as somehow being simultaneously more potent and less toxic than conventional medicine),” write Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer in the New England Journal of Medicine (September 17). “Accordingly, herbs or mixtures of herbs are considered superior to the active compounds isolated in the laboratory. And healing methods such as homeopathy and therapeutic touch are fervently promoted despite not only the lack of good clinical evidence of effectiveness, but the presence of a rationale that violates fundamental scientific laws–surely a circumstance that requires more, rather than less, evidence.” But gee, they’re such nice people!

Miles to go. Percentage of Chicago Public Schools high-schoolers who dropped out in 1996-’97: 15.5, according to Catalyst (October). Percentage of Illinois public high-schoolers outside Chicago who dropped out in 1996-’97: 4.8.

“Some feminists seem to be in a dilemma about whether to continue to stand by their man, President Clinton. But black feminists should not have such a dilemma,” writes Barbara Ransby, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in the September 24 Miami Herald (quoted in the October 6 “Progressive Review”). “Clinton has indeed supported legislation that benefits some women’s lives. For black women, however, Clinton has not been so kind. African-American women are among those he has consistently mistreated and disrespected. The inexcusable public humiliation of Lani Guinier, Clinton’s longtime friend and 1993 nominee to the civil-rights division of the Justice Department, was one blow. His abandonment of the outspoken and innovative Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders–the first black woman to hold that post–was another. Elders resigned under pressure because she discussed masturbation candidly and publicly. But the biggest blow was the passage of welfare legislation that sentenced tens of thousands of poor women and children, disproportionately families of color, to poverty and destitution.”