Things we didn’t realize we needed, from a recent Riunite press conference: “America’s #1 wine importer introduces new ‘user-friendly’ wines.”

“A combination of libertarians in Congress (and in state governments), funded by corporate polluters, have hit upon a formula for crippling environmental protections in the Great Lakes (and elsewhere),” writes Peter Montague in Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly (August 8). “The formula has two parts: require scientific standards of proof for all decision-making, and at the same time cut funding for scientific research.” An International Joint Commission survey of 31 research institutions around the Great Lakes found that they expected 23 to 53 percent cuts in their operating budgets this year, resulting in 47 to 62 percent fewer researchers.

More evidence that federal welfare reform means state tax hikes. “The Greater West Town Community Development Project provides skill training for woodworkers and for shipping and receiving clerks,” writes Doug Dobmeyer in Poverty Issues…Dateline Illinois (August 27). “The training generally runs between 12-15 weeks. The cost for training woodworkers is $6,000 per student. Training for shipping and receiving clerks runs $4,500 for each trainee. By comparison computer skills training costs $3,500 per student on average.”

Just leave Soldier Field the way it is. “Any sports fan who’s watched as all the best seats are bought up by corporations knows that it’s not out of fandom or civic pride, but for tax purposes,” write Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause in the Chicago-based biweekly In These Times (August 19). “Since luxury boxes are still deductible as a business entertainment expense, up to 40 percent of the price of corporations’ purchases are underwritten by the federal government. With some new stadiums boasting as many as 200 boxes that rent at up to $70,000 per season, this can mean as much as another $5 million a year in indirect public subsidies to team-owner profits.”

The four biggest polluters in southeast Chicago, according to 1993 data compiled by Citizens for a Better Environment: Sherwin-Williams, Ford, 115th St. Corporation, and Acme Steel.

“Most residents of the [West Town and East Humboldt Park] community do not work in far-off suburbs,” according to a new report from the Woodstock Institute on South Dearborn. “In fact, 76 percent of workers living in this neighborhood work in the city as a whole, with 56 percent of them working in city neighborhoods. (Twenty percent work in the central business district.) More employed residents work within two miles of the neighborhood (30 percent) than in all of the suburbs combined.”

Mommy, I tore off a corner of that Picasso in the last room, but it’s OK because I wrote on it with indelible marker too. “Landscapes should be perceived in the same way as works of art,” writes landscape architect and University of Wisconsin professor Philip H. Lewis, Jr., in his new book Tomorrow by Design. “When we take something from the land, we must give something back.”

Slogans that could use a little polishing. “You name it, we’ve got it,” muses Theodore Hild of the state Historic Preservation Agency in Historic Illinois (August). “Illinois has more than 1,200 entries in the National Register of Historic Places…[and] something like thirty thousand Illinois buildings on the Register….We’ve got the remains of squalid little huts and magnificent architectural extravaganzas of international acclaim. Places where history changed and places where nothing much happened at all.”

“The election is lost already anyway,” Heartland Cafe bookkeeper Jerry Smith tells StreetWise (Aug. 16-31)–“one of the Republicrats will win.”