“We [homeless people] know that $5 an hour is not enough to get an apartment without some type of subsidy,” writes Joel Alfassa in StreetWise (October 16-31). “And of course, a situation where subsidies are necessary is not good for anyone in our country. . . . We know that it takes at least $7.50 to make a living wage that would allow us to live with dignity and self-esteem. . . . A lot of experienced vendors can make more selling newspapers than they could if they applied and got the job displayed in the window of the store behind them. A sad statement for the stores behind them, right? Right, and there is no one out there who can argue about the value of capitalism with us, because we are the by-product of it. We go for the better paying job and the job that is most suited for us.”

Has your arithmetic recently experienced upsizing? Results of a questionnaire circulated by the Illinois CPA Society: “1.) Has your firm or company recently experienced downsizing?

YES – 60% NO – 42%.”

“Many women may be worse off because of no-fault divorce laws even though their marriages do not dissolve,” according to an Illinois Research (Spring/Summer) report from U. of I. economist Jeffrey Gray. He found that in states with no-fault laws women tend not only to be left with small settlements after divorce, but they “increase their hours in the workforce to improve their financial situation in the event of divorce, while others work more at home so that their husbands will decide not to seek divorce.”

Easy for you to say, Bub, but my congregation’s soul music is easy listening. The Chicago-based Salt of the Earth (November/December) quotes Tex Sample from the Other Side: “The captivity of the church to the aesthetic tastes of a professional and managerial class is pervasive. In some churches, for instance, classical music programs are imposed by professional musicians who believe their calling is to ‘raise’ the musical tastes of a local church. If classical music is the ‘soul music’ of a given congregation, then Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart are appropriate. But if the soul music is country or even rap, then the external imposition of classical music is an abomination which brings stench to the nostrils of God.”

Let’s keep the speed down on that wheel, OK? Among the prizes Henry Reed received for being the 1,000,000th person to ride the Navy Pier Ferris wheel was “a year’s supply of Arch Deluxes and Big Macs”–quantity not indicated (Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority News, Fall).

Welcome to the demographic fun house: Whites only, please. University of Chicago sociologist Marta Tienda, in the University of Chicago Record (October 10): “According to recent census estimates, the U.S. population composition is approximately 12 percent black, just under 10 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian, and 75 percent white. However, the average white perceives quite a different society. According to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University, whites reported that 24 percent of the U.S. population was black, 15 percent was Hispanic, and nearly 11 percent Asian!”

Why people hate journalists. Evergreen Park Community High School superintendent Michael Johnson describes his school’s experience after the alleged Unabomber was revealed to have been a student there decades ago. “Within 30 minutes, ten TV crews were on site to be followed by two news helicopters and many journalists. . . . News media were told they could stay in the parking lot as long as they were not disruptive. . . . [Later that afternoon,] all news media were told a press conference would be held the following morning at 9:00 a.m., with a press release. Until that time, all news media were moved off campus due to their confrontational style in the parking lot and at entrances to the building. . . . News media stayed at the high school for the next 30 hours continually. Sports teams returned about 8:00 p.m. and two reporters entered the building as players unloaded equipment.”

If only God were more up-to-date. Does God approve of assisted suicide? Robert Russell, a Southern Illinois University professor of health education, has his doubts: “Christians often believe that God doesn’t want you to do this. However, scripture doesn’t indicate that God wants heart and lung machines, ventilators or even antibiotics. We assume, but it’s a big assumption.”

Separate and equal–forever? “I used to say years ago that we were working to put ourselves out of business,” says Metropolitan Community Church’s Reverend Troy Perry in the Chicago-based Christian Century (September 25-October 20)–“that the day the mainline churches open their doors to [gays and lesbians] we would go home and there would be no need for MCC anymore. But after 28 years of ministry, I see now that we will not be shutting our doors, and that there is a need for our church. In the ’60s it was believed that with the coming of integration, black churches and white churches would cease to exist in our country. This has not happened. The historical black church in America has continued to thrive.”