All right! Who’s been proofreading with the spell checker again? From a recent suburban press release: “Excellent Whether Makes for Outstanding year at Festival.”

Things welfare “reformers” don’t want to know, from “Welfare Reform and Child Care” (July), Toni Henle and Eve Ali’s paper for the Illinois Job Gap Project: “Workers just entering the labor force, particularly those in service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and stores that are open 24 hours a day, may have to work the hours more senior employees do not want, late at night or on weekends. Having an entry-level job can also mean working part-time at minimum wage, with the employee’s work schedule varying from week to week. And these are the typical jobs open to welfare recipients or to those who have just left the welfare rolls….There are virtually no licensed [child-]care facilities for employees who work evenings, nights, and weekends. The 1991 analysis commissioned by Public Aid found that only 8 percent of all centers surveyed in Illinois were open after 6:00 p.m., and only 3 percent were open on weekends.”

Would you like a cubist smile or our traditional Renaissance model? According to its publicity, Delaware Dental’s waiting room “is transformed into a gallery d’art with displays of cut paper portraits created by dentist, Dr. David E. Scheffler, who accepts private commissions when he is not performing dental services….As Dr. Scheffler states, ‘As artists, we work in the medium of teeth.'”

Number of times Rod Blagojevich mentions Newt Gingrich in a July letter soliciting funds for his Fifth District congressional race: six. Number of times he mentions his actual opponent, Michael Flanagan: three.

Competition could lower electric rates in the midwest, writes Howard Learner of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Green Line (Spring)–but only if utilities’ recent “surge to merge” is restrained, and only if all consumers get to choose their electricity suppliers. “Unfortunately, some utilities envision a marketplace where large industrial customers choose among suppliers, while everyone else gets stuck with the high-priced leftovers from monopoly utilities. This ‘lemon socialism’ leaves the public holding the financial bag for uneconomic nuclear plants and should be rejected. All customers should have equal access to shop for cleaner, less expensive power. That is central to jump-starting the market for wind power, solar power, biomass and energy efficiency resources which people say they want.”

“Hi! I’m Jim Edgar. If you’re building a sprawl mall, I will give you millions of dollars. If you’re restoring your downtown, I will give you a failed Senate candidate’s hot air. Have a nice day.” Chicago Tribune, July 30: “Less than five months after [south suburban] Crete-Monee school officials approved a $3 million property tax break for a proposed Monee mall, Gov. Jim Edgar has signed a bill that would add $9 million to the developer’s pot.” Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra, August 1, quoted in a press release from his office: “We often hear the so-called ‘experts’ talk of solutions for economic development coming from the national and state level….But, the reality of revitalizing and restoring our Main Streets in local Illinois communities is that it must begin from the bottom-up, not top-down.”

What goes around comes around. In December Southern Illinois University Press will publish a book about college and university English departments by Theresa Enos documenting that “lower-division writing courses…are staffed primarily by women who receive minimal pay, little prestige, and lessened job security in comparison to their male counterparts. Male writing faculty, however, also are affected by factors such as low salaries because of the undervaluation of a field considered feminized” (SIU Press Books, Fall).

“The economic system we’ve perfected over the past 200 years finally enjoys a global monopoly,” reflects Michael Lewis in a New Republic article on Ralph Nader’s presidential candidacy (May 20). “By its own logic that is not a good thing. After all, the system is premised on the need for competition to keep people and companies in check. But capitalism itself now has no competitors. It is to ideology what General Motors once was to automobiles. And we all know what happened to General Motors.”