“By far the most controversial feature of the brownfields initiatives is not that of liability reforms but of lowering the standards for cleanup,” writes Stephanie Goldberg in the Chicago-based ABA Journal. “The object is not necessarily to restore the land to a pristine state but to make the risks of toxicity consistent with its future use; in other words, to protect the public from undue risk, not from risk itself.” Says Jim Van der Kloot, an environmental scientist with U.S. EPA’s Region V office, “The old-style approach [was] that contamination in itself is evil and needs to be corrected.”

The real welfare problem. From the on-line edition of the Progressive Review (March 11): “Cost of the THAAD anti-missile missile being developed by Lockheed: $17 billion. Number of times it has been tested: 4. Number of tests it has failed: 4. Place the Washington Post put this news: business section.”

“Gang activity has surfaced in major institutions and corporations in the Chicago area,” says the Chicago Crime Commission in its 1996 annual report. For instance, “the leader of a notorious street gang was admitted to a Chicago hospital after being shot. Members of a rival gang, who had been hired by the hospital for legitimate positions, began to threaten the patient. Members of the wounded leader’s gang attempted to enter the hospital to protect him. Quick intervention by hospital security prevented a potentially deadly situation with many innocent victims.”

Dept. of refreshing answers. Dennis Hutchinson, master of the University of Chicago’s interdisciplinary New Collegiate Division for undergraduates, interviewed in the University of Chicago Chronicle (January 23): Q: “Does the New Collegiate Division appeal to today’s students? It seems that many students want to graduate early with more ‘traditional’ majors.” A. “We really don’t care. By this I mean that this is not a market-driven concentration. If we have 70 students per year or 150 students, it doesn’t matter.”

Life in the hood. According to Providence-St. Mel’s newsletter “Cornerstone” (Winter), student “Anthony Davenport…stays energized by focusing on college and his future career as an obstetrician. For him, the choice for his free time is clear: ‘Going outside will only get you in trouble.'”

“No matter what people may say they want…recent election results suggest that voters have not rewarded ideological moderation,” write two Manchester College (Indiana) professors in an unpublished report that analyzes 1994 and 1996 congressional election results. “More moderate Democratic incumbents were more likely to lose their bids for reelection than were liberal ones, losing nearly 20% more of their races than did liberals….

Conservative Republicans were still more likely to win in 1996 than were their more moderate counterparts….Those on the extremes were more likely to win than those more in the middle, with the effect exaggerated in marginal districts.”

In your dreams. From “The Suggestion Box” in “Evergreen” (March), newsletter of the Hyde Park Cooperative Society. Q: “You’ve ruined the meat at Mr. G’s. Their meat was always superior to the Co-op’s.” A: “Actually, the meat is one thing that hasn’t changed at Mr. G Co-op: we get it from the same suppliers, and it is cut by the same meat cutters as at the old Mr. G’s Finer Foods.” Q: “Please post a notice when the exterminator has been in the 55th St. store, for environmentally ill people.” A: “We do not do any spraying in the store; we are actually forbidden to by law. If you think there might be some other practice that’s leading to your illness, please let us know so we can address the problem.”

Why cut back on physical education requirements? “We aren’t being notified by colleges and employers that students aren’t getting in because they aren’t physically fit enough,” Chicago Public Schools’ Cozette Buckney tells Catalyst (March). “We are notified because they aren’t passing entrance exams.”

“The Christian right is dead wrong when it insists that abortion violates traditional American morality,” writes Debbie Nathan in In These Times (February 17), reviewing Leslie Reagan’s new book, When Abortion Was a Crime. “Consider Chicago in the ’30s. In the heart of the Loop, practically next door to Marshall Field’s, was the Gabler abortion clinic. Each week it performed dozens of procedures in a facility whose equipment rivaled that of the best hospitals. Gabler attracted patients by distributing business cards to pharmacies and beauty shops. It also received referrals from the city’s most respected physicians.”

Gee, why aren’t there more? According to a recent Woodstock Institute press release, average profit rates between 1988 and 1991 for national banks: 9 percent. For manufacturers: 12 percent. For Illinois currency exchanges: 104 percent.

“E-mail may seem impermanent, but it is not,” warns Art Shiver in the Chicago edition of Computer Currents (March). “Even if you delete e-mail, there’s a good chance it still exists on the company computer or on your backup tape. With a little effort, you can recover e-mail sent weeks or even months before….Never, never, never say anything about fellow employees or supervisors that you would not be willing to post on the bulletin board over your signature.”