Silicon Alley? It’s in the works, according to Vanessa Hughes, writing in Chicago Software Newspaper: “A software company business incubator district [is] slated to spring up in the South Loop….The plan is to designate an area of the city for IT [information technology] companies to set up shop in older underutilized buildings. The city is looking at the upper stories of B and C buildings–which are those built around 1900-1920 and some that were built in the 60s.”

Number of nations represented among the 4,724 newly registered voters recruited at a July 1 United Center naturalization ceremony: more than 100 (Board of Election Commissioners).

“Chicago’s empowerment zone falls short of what it promised most: real jobs and private investment,” writes Burney Simpson in the Chicago Reporter (June). “In February, consultants hired by the city estimated that the $43.3 million awarded so far would create 4,448 jobs. But a survey of grant recipients by The Chicago Reporter revealed 283 full-time jobs, all of them staff positions [mostly in social services], guaranteed solely for the life of the grants.”

Those reckless free-living bohemians at Clark and North. Associates of the Chicago Historical Society will sponsor summer music August 14, starting at 5:30 and continuing with “an after-hours jam session of new and favorite tunes until 8:00 PM.”

Things left-wingers don’t want to know. “We are inclined to look at gay liberation as the sole factor leading to our acceptance into society,” writes Daniel Harris in The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture, “as if we had achieved the progress we have made in gay rights exclusively by locking horns with our enemies…when in fact the preconditions for the strides we have made are far more complex. It is not an accident that we were accepted by mainstream America first as consumers and only second as morally respectable citizens. The one did not simply precede the other, it made it possible.”

Painter and UIC art and design professor Kerry James Marshall, on receiving a MacArthur Fellowship, aka “genius grant”: “I heard about the grant on Friday and when I came in here Saturday I had to work just as hard” (UIC News, June 25).

“The 40 attorneys general who sued the cigarette companies served mainly as fronts for the anti-tobacco private lawyers,” writes Robert J. Samuelson in the national edition of the Washington Post (July 7). “It was the private lawyers who agreed to conduct the cases and pay the costs in return, typically, for hefty contingency fees (up to 25 percent of any award). The states assumed little cost and almost no risk….The settlement should not be the basis for legislation. Congress should discard the agreement and start from scratch, recognizing the need to face smoking’s twin realities: It’s dangerous, and about 25 percent of Americans do it. A sensible bargain would have the cigarette companies voluntarily cede the right to advertise in return for being immunized against liability suits. This would codify common sense and follow most legal precedent: People who smoke do so at their own risk.”

“Your first [mountain bike] ride together will be the deciding factor on whether she continues her proverbial climb,” “TURF,” newsletter of the Trail Users Rights Foundation in suburban Summit, advises its male readers. “Under no circumstances should you bring her along on a gonzo ride with the regulars. Big mistake. They may not be patient and you will have to wait as she dismounts to walk over a rock or stream that you would long since have flown over. Avoid sabotaging her future mountain biking career. Instead, take her on a date with nature.”

Workers of the world, and I really mean it this time. If increasing economic inequality is due to such “international economic factors as lower trade barriers, extensive immigration, and increased capital mobility,” then “the heightened power of capital and weakness of labor are likely to persist for a long time to come,” writes Northwestern University political scientist Benjamin Page in the school’s Institute for Policy Research’s “Working Papers” (Spring). “Moreover, economic globalization may be making it more and more difficult for governments to redistribute income without counterproductive effects such as capital flight, loss of export competitiveness, and increased immigration of low-income people. Thus, economic globalization may gravely impair, or even eliminate, the capacity and the will of nation-states to redistribute income or wealth within their boundaries.” The cure? “The logic of economic globalization implies that only global remedies will work,” but worldwide organization by workers (or worldwide treaties) “would arouse intense political opposition and probably face conflicts of interest between workers in rich and poor countries.”