Warblers’ EMS. “We don’t know exactly what happens in this maze of tall buildings,” musician and Loop bird rescuer Robbie Hunsinger tells Chicago Wilderness (Summer). Somehow during spring and fall migrations “the birds–a lot of thrushes, warblers, ovenbirds–get pulled down into these canyons then fly into lit windows and reflective glass, or else just become exhausted from circling and settle at street level. Which is one of the reasons it’s crucial to get there early because there’s a huge predator problem: gulls, crows, some rats. I’ve seen a gull pick up a stunned bird right in front of me before I could get to it.”

“Employers prevail 94.5 percent of the time” in lawsuits based on the Americans With Disabilities Act and “78.1 percent of the time in administrative complaints handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” reports the American Bar Association in a June 18 press release. Why? Because plaintiffs “must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity…yet still be qualified to perform essential job functions.”

“We found that we could not make it in Chicago,” Heartland Institute president Joseph Bast tells Bernard Chapin in the Web zine “Enter Stage Right” (June 16), “which is why we decided to become a national rather than state or regional organization,” though its offices are still in the Loop. “The political parties and governments of Chicago and Springfield, as near as I can figure, are invincible to good [libertarian or conservative] ideas, no matter how eloquently expressed or frequently published. After ten years of trying to ‘speak truth to power,’ I simply gave up and decided to find more receptive audiences elsewhere.”

Has welfare reform helped poor people in Illinois–or pushed them aside? Writing in the Chicago Reporter (June), Sarah Karp keeps the question open by citing the Illinois Families Study, a long-term project of Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. “The ongoing study found that 37 percent of 1,072 tracked families who were on welfare in 1998 had no adult working or receiving cash assistance by the end of 2002.”

And planks are no longer involved. Jim Nugent writes in the June issue of “Bike Traffic” that the 20-mile-long Old Plank Road Trail, which runs from Joliet to Park Forest, “is like Chicago’s Lakefront path but with less people, no lake but more nature.”

Are you old enough to remember when Republicans objected to unfunded mandates instead of imposing them? According to a June 10 press release from Senator Dick Durbin’s office, he has introduced a bill “that would give states the option of deferring the mandated corrective actions of the No Child Left Behind Act in years when promised federal funding has not been appropriated, while continuing the testing and adequate yearly progress measurements contained in the law.”

Between 1992 and 2001, Illinois spent a larger share of its federal highway funds than the average state on road and bridge repair, safety, research,

and “community/environmental mitigation,” according to the February issue of “Progress,” newsletter of the Surface Transportation Policy Project. Illinois spent less than average on new road and bridge capacity as well as on transit.

“Often the family members who strongly insist on ongoing life-sustaining therapy have a disturbed relationship with their parents,” says Myles Sheehan, associate professor of medicine at Loyola, in U.S. Catholic (July). “They think they need to prove their love by doing everything medically available to make up for what they haven’t done during their lifetime….The classic situation is the mother with two children. The daughter, who cared for Mama for a million years, says, ‘Let’s just keep her comfortable.’ The son, who’s a lawyer from California, shows up and announces he’s going to sue everybody and he’s going to show everybody how much he loves Mama by demanding ridiculously burdensome treatments. I see this kind of thing way too often.”