Rah rah ROTC. Writing in the Chicago Free Press (April 9), Paul Varnell argues that the military isn’t going to become gay friendly on its own. “The effect of banishing ROTC and military recruiting by the most liberal, gay-accepting colleges and universities was to increase the proportion of recruits and young officers who are less accepting of gays, whose college experience was unlikely to counter negative views of gays, and who do not want gays in the military….

That means we need to change our tactics–and advocate bringing back ROTC programs and on-campus military recruiting at all those gay friendly colleges and universities where we and our allies once urged their elimination.”

Why tax cutting has nothing to do with tax relief. According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study released April 10, “In 2001, the last year for which income data are available, a median family of four will pay a smaller share of its income in federal income taxes than in any year since 1957.”

“Whether you look at a salamander you find under a rock in the local forest preserve or in a rock in China dating back 165 million years, they look alike,” says the University of Chicago’s Neil Shubin, chairman and professor of organismal biology and anatomy (University of Chicago Chronicle, April 13). “In fact, they look alike in great detail–the bones in their wrists are the same, the way their skulls are formed–intricate details are the same….They made it through several major extinction events. They made it through the event that killed the dinosaurs. Yet today, along with other amphibians, salamanders are disappearing and we really don’t know why.”

In this next sequence, observe how Jesus removes Bambi’s pancreas. U.S. Catholic (May) reports on a book by Tom Rakov, Self-Inflicted Hunting Arguments, in which Rakov, the founder of the Christian Deer Hunters Association, concludes, “The authentic Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible would not only shoot a deer, but He would know how to field-dress it in a respectful manner and be willing to eat it.”

Could someone buy these people a dictionary? From an April 18 editorial in the Illinois Leader: “Fitzgerald was also confronted with the task of re-energizing a Republican Party base that grew increasingly disenfranchised with him.”

An organic chicken in every pot and two bicycles in every garage. From publicity for the new Conservation Design Resource Manual just released by Chicago Wilderness and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (www.chicagowilderness.org): “Communities that choose to implement conservation design will see a variety of benefits, including reduced flooding, improved water quality, enhanced biodiversity, higher property values, higher property tax revenues, and greater community cohesion.”

“You used to be able to strike–you can’t anymore,” Ida Crall of downstate Peoria tells Illinois Times (April 10-16). “Everything changed when there were no jobs. Someone told my husband, ‘I would walk over your dead body for a job,’ and he was a friend of ours.”

Lest we forget. Douglass Cassel of the Northwestern University law school’s Center for International Human Rights (Christian Century, April 19): “The U.S. protests of the Iraqi TV broadcasts are tarnished by violations the U.S. has committed against prisoners in Guantanamo….In Guantanamo we flagrantly violate Article 5 of the Geneva convention, which calls for a speedy tribunal to determine whether the imprisoned have indeed ‘committed a belligerent act.’ We have imprisoned hundreds of alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters who claim they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and who ask for hearings before a ‘competent tribunal.’ Privately, some American officials admit that as many as 30 percent or more of the prisoners should not be held.”