“Mothers who work more hours per week, on average, during their children’s lives, are more likely to have overweight children,” write economists Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher, and Phillip Levine in the third-quarter issue of Economic Perspectives, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “It is not working per se that matters, but working a lot of hours per week. This suggests that it is time constraints that may make it harder for working mothers to oversee their children’s diet and exercise. Further, we find that this effect only holds for upper income families (the top quartile of the family income distribution). Although children in lower income families are more likely to have weight problems, it does not seem to hinge on how much their mothers work. We find that for upper income families, the increase in average hours worked by mothers between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s can explain between 12 percent and 35 percent of the increase in obesity among children in these families.”

Number of items on which Cook County commissioners voted, from January 2000 through June 2003: 5,879. Number of items passed without dissent: 5,764. Number of items rejected: 0 (Chicago Reporter, July/August).

“With a population estimate of around 135,000 birds statewide, there are probably more turkeys roaming the woodlands of Illinois now than at any time prior to European settlement,” writes Patrick Hubert of the Illinois Natural History Survey in its summer “Reports.” “The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), a conservation organization dedicated to wild turkeys, boasts 450,000 members nationally, and Illinois is its top state for number of local chapters (110) and members (>30,000).” Hubert hopes that turkeys will serve as an “umbrella” species that will “promote conservation of riparian forest communities throughout the state.”

To each according to his lack of need. According to the Woodstock Institute’s “Reinvestment Alert” (July), the number of small-business loans per 100 firms in McHenry County in 2001: 71. In Chicago: 46. In Chicago’s Grand Boulevard neighborhood: 31.

“How do you respond to those who say Islam is a religion of violence?” the editors of U.S. Catholic (August) ask Scott Alexander, director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union. His reply: “If you look at the history of any of the Abrahamic traditions, they are all horribly violent. Religious ideals and desires are constantly being invoked to support and justify the violence. This is true for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Some might say, ‘But we Christians no longer commit heinous acts of violence in the name of Christianity.’ What, then, was George Bush doing when he quoted Isaiah on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, casting the war in Iraq as messianic?”

Headlines from hell. “Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards Five Substance Abuse Innovators,” reports the electronic newsletter “PNN Alert” (July 30).

From another city’s file: “As a Washington native I find myself thinking of part of my city as occupied, and part still free, part still human,” writes Sam Smith in the July 7 “Progressive Review Extra.” “I roughly define the free portion as that having buildings one can enter without having to prove in some physical way that you are not a terrorist. While the occupied city encompasses much of downtown Washington, the consumptive fear of those in power is so concentrated on their own safety that they leave the better part of us alone. In fact, since September 11 both local crime and fires have increased for there just isn’t enough time to look after the rest of us anymore.”

Where your money is, there will your heart be also. James Coldren of the John Howard Association: “From 1985 to 2000, corrections spending in the state of Illinois increased by 110 percent, while spending on higher education grew by only 30 percent.”