If you can’t get married, be sure to adopt your kid. “When a married couple has a child together, both parents automatically have a legal parent-child relationship with the child,” writes Tiffany Palmer in the American Bar Association’s Human Rights (Summer). “Because same-sex couples cannot currently marry, this automatic legal relationship is not available, and, in most situations when a same-sex couple has a child together, only one parent has a legal relationship to the child.” If the nonlegal parent has to make a decision for the child, this creates all sorts of difficulties when it comes to things such as inheritance, health insurance, and consent when emergency medical services are needed. The nonlegal parent can adopt the child in Illinois, Indiana, and eight other states (not Wisconsin), as well as in some counties in other states. Not discussed in the article: whether President Bush and the Catholic Church will advocate second-parent adoption laws as part of their crusade against gay marriage.

Says something–about us or them. Joshua Kurlantzick in the New Republic (July 28 & August 4): “Nearly 60 films that supposedly took place in Chicago have been shot in Canada since 1985.”

Why is the cancer death rate lower now than in 1991, on an age-adjusted basis? Writing in Issues in Science and Technology (Summer), the University of Chicago’s John Bailar says prevention and screening have helped much more than improved treatments, even though prevention hasn’t been the focus of research: “Since 1987, the proportion of cancer research funding devoted to prevention has grown only slightly.” The most dramatic drop has been in lung cancer deaths in men, down from 89.9 per 100,000 in 1991 to 77.2 in 1999. By contrast, “Herculean efforts at developing and publicizing treatments have produced only modest clinical results. Imagine where we might be today if we had put that effort into research on prevention and screening, which have already produced benefits far out of proportion to our investment. We have treated cancer largely as a medical problem; we should now attack it more as a public health problem.”

“Promoting bikes was a real natural for Chicago,” Melinda McMullen of Bank One tells the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation’s “Bike Traffic” (July), regarding what she says is the largest corporate effort to support cycling in the United States. “But for Chicago, I don’t know if you can find an as well-organized bicycle community anywhere else.”

Life in the insanely fast lane. According to Abraham McLaughlin’s story in the Christian Science Monitor (July 7), Chicago car enthusiast Phil Corcoran paid $100,000 for a founding membership in the Joliet Autobahn Country Club. “The retired computer-firm owner has a Z06 Corvette (0-to-60 in less than four seconds), a Porsche, and a BMW. But there’s no place nearby to drive them fast and furious….At Joliet, nonfounding members will pay a $10,000 initiation fee and a $3,000 yearly fee for unlimited track time.”

In the race of life, some get to start a little behind the starting line. A 12-year nationwide survey by Western Michigan University’s Jianping Shen (“Poverty & Race,” July/August) finds that in schools where more than half the students are minority, 8.3 percent of the teachers are uncertified in their primary teaching field and 3.4 percent have temporary or emergency certificates. In schools with few minority students 4.3 percent of the teachers are uncertified and 1 percent of them have temporary or emergency certificates.

Be careful what you wish for. Now that the federal law defining “organic” and regulating food is in force, says Michael Pollan (Orion, July/August), “organic has grown to include paradoxes such as the organic factory farm and the organic TV dinner….The organic dream has been reduced to a farming method.” Given a choice between food grown locally and organic food not grown locally, “I come down on the side of local. When you buy local, you’re voting for a short, highly legible food chain.”