By Harold Henderson

Party of the people. According to the Federal Reserve Bank and the University of Illinois, the typical 1996 Democratic National Convention delegate will spend $370 per day, including $150 for a hotel, $100 in restaurants, and $75 for “retail purchases” (Illinois Issues, January).

“Editors should levy a sin tax on the hapless reporters who don’t reread their prose before submission,” complains Herb Kraus in Chicago Journalist (January). He says that a travel writer for the Near North News wrote that “the tour participants will learn how two of the greatest Roman emperors were actually born in Spain while gazing at incredible mosaics over 2,000 years old.”

“In a fragmenting nation, the duty of progressives seems clear: halt the fragmentation,” writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (January 22). “The logic of identity politics, and its multicultural offspring, seems to lead to chaos. If African-Americans can insist on Afrocentric curricula, for instance, what’s to stop Lithuanian-Americans from demanding their own specific version of history? What about Korean-Americans? This cacophony of relativism would feed directly into the right’s xenophobic agenda, progressives fear. Instead of uncritically celebrating the politics of difference, they argue, the left should be exploring ways to more effectively bridge those differences.”

“I sometimes think I may actually be more fortunate than men writers today,” writes the University of Wisconsin’s Kelly Cherry in her new book Writing the World. “The ground of female being is a territory less literarily charted than the ground of male being. A woman writer, if she has an adventurous spirit, can go anywhere, and almost everywhere she goes will be a new and subtle place.”

The weapon that keeps on killing. Land mines? No, it’s the economic sanctions against Iraq, which have killed “as many as 578,000 children,” according to a press release from the Chicago chapter of Voices in the Wilderness, a group that plans to publicly and deliberately violate U.S. economic sanctions by collecting and delivering medical relief supplies to “the people” there.

“By commuting [Guin] Garcia’s death sentence to life in prison without parole, the Governor implicitly acknowledges that the death penalty is not necessary,” says Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Patrick Cotter, quoted in a recent press release from the school. “The Governor’s conclusion could as easily have been made regarding every person on death row. That he will not extend the logic of his decision to others awaiting execution is more a matter of politics than reality.”

A modest proposal. Chicago Catholic Women has recently issued a press release calling for “courageous, moral Catholic Bishops to stop ordaining men in 1996.”

“If someone were to suggest that we import more murderers, car thieves, and muggers into Illinois to make our legal and penal systems more economically viable, they’d be considered insane,” Beka Economopoulos of the Nuclear Energy Information Service said at a recent press conference, condemning Com Ed’s proposal that Illinois import out-of-state nuclear waste in order to make its own dump cheaper.

Why shouldn’t you attend school in a banana republic? Because the government could shut down at any time. Writing in UIC News (January 10), Laurent Pernot reports that as many as 150 UIC foreign students who went home over winter break were unable to get visas in time to return for the new semester, because of the government shutdown. “Worse yet, because the Department of Labor is still closed–workers are getting paid again but no funds were allocated by Congress for the department’s operations–the university cannot secure permission to work for some international researchers and visiting faculty.”

The sand foundations of Republican social policy. Are we spending too little money on welfare? Only 13 percent of those polled nationwide by the National Opinion Research Center in 1994 thought so. Are we spending too little money on assistance to the poor? Fully 59 percent of the same group thought so, according to research by Fay Lomax Cook, acting director of the Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research at Northwestern University.

Environmentalist farmers. Number of pesticide containers collected by the state agriculture department for recycling in 1994, according to a recent department news release: 128,700. In 1995: 214,500.

“There was much less violence by the early 1960s,” writes historian Arnold Hirsch of the white racist resistance to integration of the Trumbull Park CHA development, which began in 1953 (Journal of American History, September). “Occasional aerial bombs still split the night air, but not ‘with the frequency of earlier years.’ By mid-1960, liberals applauded the fact that the area had been ‘generally quiet’ for the ‘better part of two years.’ But there was little else to cheer….The simple fact was that violence had already triumphed. The CHA’s determination to maintain a token Black presence in the project meant that local residents could not restore the area’s racial homogeneity. But by the 1960s, they maintained the neighborhood as a ‘white’ community….Muting disorder while maintaining the status quo apparently suited Richard J. Daley’s needs and desires.”

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Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Illustration/Carl Kock.