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Things leftists don’t want to know. Employers across the midwest are complaining about a shortage of workers, particularly at the entry level, according to First National Bank of Chicago economist Diane Swonk. In some areas of Wisconsin the unemployment rate is less than 2 percent.

“Of late on Sundays I have trespassed into an odd parish, far from Lincoln Park,” writes labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan in Slate (October 23). “Blue-collar, immigrant, even poor, but the pastor may be an academic. A different priest at 12:30 every Sunday….Three languages. St. Paul in Tagalog. Because the priests are from universities, the homilies are pitched at a high level. Doubt anyone in the pews ever saw a college. One Sunday, a young Irish priest told a grad-student joke about Americans tackling German theology. He heard it when he was a student at the University of Tubingen. I burst out laughing. Only one. Around me: stone faces. Filipino, Mexican, Lao. Not a smile.”

No surprise here. David Hill profiles Maribeth Vander Weele, former Sun-Times reporter turned in-house corruption fighter in the Chicago Public Schools, in Education Week (October 23): “She admits that it has been ‘a real eye-opener’ to see how reporters latch on to one issue. ‘Any one of these cases on any day at any moment can blow up in the media,’ she says. ‘And what surprised me is that sometimes the least serious cases end up on the television news.'”

You can take your bike to LA, but not to Oak Park. From the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News (October/November), page one: “At the end of August, CBF’s Bikes on Transit Committee sent a proposal to Metra for a Bikes on Trains demonstration project. The project would test, as early as next summer, the feasibility of allowing bicyclists to bring their bikes on board Metra trains. At press time, Metra’s response had not yet been received.” Page four: “As we go to press, Amtrak is finalizing a plan to allow bikes to ‘roll on’ to several major cross-country train lines that originate in Chicago,” using special bike racks rather than boxes.

Incorruptible. A local shareholder in the community-supported Angelic Organics farm was carrying home her box of veggies one afternoon when she was accosted by a policeman: “Miss! Miss! Can you tell me where you got that box?” He’d seen a TV program and wanted to know where to get the produce. She gave him AO’s phone number and offered him a carrot from her box. “No, ma’am. I can’t take a carrot while I’m on duty.” (Angelic Organics Farm News, September 9-14.)

Gosh, boss, that looked like a valuable blueprint, but I’m having a heck of a time flattening it out again. Chiasso on North Halsted now offers 11-ounce paperweights of rigid vinyl and lead that look like crumpled-up papers. $20 apiece.

“If you look at the diseases that don’t infect the politically or economically influential in our country, these are diseases that dwarf HIV,” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the Chicago-based Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (September). “Take a look at tuberculosis, which kills three million people a year. Three million people a year over a period of 15 years–the length of the AIDS epidemic so far–is 45 million people. Not even a small fraction of that number has died so far from AIDS worldwide. Malaria kills one and a half million people a year, mostly African babies….

Unfortunately, most people in the developed world don’t really care very much about these diseases….There’s no reason to believe that once AIDS gets controlled–with drugs, a vaccine, or both–the industrialized countries are going to look at AIDS any differently from the way we look at malaria, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis–an unfortunate problem of somebody else.”

Note to top management: Dilbert has definitely entered the building. Advice to managers from a recent Harvard Business Review article, quoted in the newsletter Innovations (October 7): “The urge to communicate your values is proof positive that you are not acting on them….Talking about values signals that fraud is near.”

It’s something my parents did for me. The suburban-based American Society of Anesthesiologists reports that about 50 percent of children from families in which someone smokes need oxygen therapy after surgery–compared to just 5 percent of children from smoke-free homes.