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“A God Who Looks Like Me,” a recent book title, is described by University of Chicago religious historian Martin Marty as “the grossest thought I’ve heard since I last looked into the mirror, craving instead the Wholly Other” (Context, July 15).

We don’t want to know whether our environment is poisonous, we just want to feel good. “It is often difficult for environmental justice to prevail when the locus of control is placed with the outside researcher,” writes University of Michigan professor Bunyan Bryant in Poverty & Race (July/August). “Traditional scientific methodology is not the only effective method of problem-solving….Affected groups feel that environmental justice is better served if they themselves are involved in a participatory research process, where they at least share in the locus of control of the research process along with researchers and policymakers. They want to be involved in problem identification, questionnaire construction, data collection and data analysis. Often the process outcomes of inclusion, decision-making and respect for the affected populations may be more important and weigh heavier on satisfactory outcomes than content outcomes.”

Scariest news of the week, from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines for home pools: 77 percent of the children (most between the ages of 1 and 3) involved in fatal and near-fatal swimming pool accidents in the late 80s (most between the ages of one and three) “had been missing for five minutes or less when they were found in the pool drowned or submerged.”

You mean it’s all going to come out OK? Political scientists Samuel Gove and James Nowlan look to the next century in their new book Illinois Politics and Government: The Expanding Metropolitan Frontier: “As longtime suburbanites move farther out, urban dwellers of lesser means will replace them, especially in the older suburbs, where the problems of urban America were already evident in the 1990s. In a grand and ironic illustration of the urban development cycle, the inner core will continue its rejuvenation as industrial sites and uninhabitable properties are cleared and fenced so that urban homesteaders can create what the exurbanites seek: secure and attractive places to live.”

Wisconsin’s welfare reform “is not tackling the big problems,” says UIC social work professor Jerry Cates, quoted in a recent university press release. “It’s short-sighted, fairly punitive and based on the hope that we can do away with welfare because there are enough jobs. But they’re not out there.”

Thank God for communism. U.S. senator Paul Simon, in P.S. Washington: “Less than one percent of our college students ever study in another country. All other nations exceed that number, with the exception of North Korea.”

News you won’t see on the front page of the Tribune, from a recent press release by the Fair Economy News Service (July 11): “In December, 91 CEOs of American companies sent an open letter to President Clinton, Senator Dole, House Speaker Gingrich and all members of Congress calling for a balanced budget. In response, Ralph Nader and The Corporate Welfare Project wrote all 91 of the signatories to the CEO letter asking them to identify which federal subsidies or expenditures they would recommend business forego to help balance the budget. To date, after two attempts to solicit responses, no CEO has identified even one.”

The continuing noncrisis. Percentage of days during 1995 when Illinois’ air quality was “healthy,” according to a recent press release from the state Environmental Protection Agency: 98.

“Now a brawler and now a patron of the arts, [Chicago] makes a stranger welcome but makes demands as well,” writes Eugene Kennedy in the forthcoming book of John White photographs of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, This Man Bernardin. “Any man appointed to be Chicago’s Catholic Archbishop is automatically granted an honored place at its civic, cultural, and political tables. But sideways and knowing glances measure him: Will the newcomer fit into the prescribed dimensions of a traditional role or carve out a place of his own?”