Lest we forget. University of Illinois entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer in his new book, What Good Are Bugs? Insects in the Web of Life: “If all the insects, or even just some critically important ones, were to disappear from the earth–if there were none to pollinate plants, serve as food for other animals, dispose of dead organisms, and do other ecologically essential tasks–virtually all of the terrestrial ecosystems…would unravel. There is no way to predict what would replace them. But there is no doubt that without insects the world would be radically different and far less friendly to us humans, assuming that we could survive at all.”

True professionalism. “At press time, the Coalition of Illinois Counseling Associations was drafting a bill to remove the requirement that [school] counselors hold a teaching certificate,” writes Maureen Kelleher in Catalyst Chicago (March). “Some research indicates that school counselors with a year of experience and no teaching certificate perform just as well or slightly better than counselors who have teaching credentials, says Scott Wickman, president-elect of the Illinois School Counselors Association.”

The Constitution according to border guards. Canadian Matthew Bailey-Dick, who’s 30, is studying at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries in Goshen, Indiana. According to the Progressive Review’s on-line newsletter “Undernews” (March 17), he was detained and questioned at the Detroit border crossing on March 8 because he was carrying literature, printed in Chicago, about the pacifist organization Christian Peacemaker Teams. “Don’t bring any of that literature across the border anymore,” he was advised. “It’s one thing for an American citizen to distribute such literature. It’s quite a different thing for a foreign national to come into the USA and promote such ideas.”

Another undercount. The Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies surveyed gay activist couples who attended the Millennium March and found that about five in six had chosen to check off the “unmarried partners” box in the 2000 census (“Left Out of the Count”). But that means nearly 20 percent described themselves as something else, such as “roommates,” which suggests “a serious undercount.” Less affluent and less educated activists were even more likely to describe themselves as something other than unmarried partners. How come? IGLSS delicately cites the “confidentiality concern.”

Stop me before I gamble again. In the case of Mark Merrill v. Trump Indiana, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in late February that the casino can’t be sued for letting a compulsive gambler in, even if the gambler has placed him- or herself on the casino’s exclusion list. “Trump is required by [Indiana] regulation to maintain an exclusion log and to add to that list individuals who request to be put on it….If Trump violates regulations [by letting someone on the list gamble], it must answer to the [state] gaming commission” and be fined or lose its license. But Merrill, who admits he’s a compulsive gambler, can’t sue for damages. Evidently neither can the Florida banks he robbed in order to pay his gambling debts.

“Well, first of all, let me say, we do have the one true religion. But I don’t think we should be broadcasting that,” Chicago monk and professor Wayne Teasdale tells U.S. Catholic (March). “We may believe that, but I think that the gospel compels us to have sensitivity to people of other traditions who have no desire to be Catholic or Christian. We have to find a different approach besides the evangelical approach, which just doesn’t work. After all these centuries of missionary activity in Asia, only 2 percent of Asia is Christian.”

Drug paraphernalia arrests in Illinois, a brief history. Total number of arrests in 1983-’89: 0. In 1990: 28. In 1995: 6,240. In 2001: 15,538 (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, www.icjia.state.il.us, with thanks to Illinois NORML for pointing it out).