What goes around comes around. “The additional stress of caring for an elderly family member alone does not account for [elder] abuse,” according to “Violence Prevention News” (Fall). “Steinmetz (1978) found that ‘only one child out of 400 raised in a nonabusive home was abusive to his or her parent after reaching adulthood, while one of every two adults who were abused as children abused their elderly parents when they became adults.'”
By the numbers. George Schmidt writes in the September-October issue of Substance that the amount offered in the Chicago Board of Education’s proposed contract (voted down by union members last month) for class-size reduction over five years was $1,000,000. The amount the board paid the law firm Franczek Sullivan P.C. between January 1, 2002, and September 24, 2003, for services not specified was $1,050,000.
Number of honest conservatives: one and counting. Peter Beinart writes in the New Republic (October 13 & 20): “George F. Will has written that, if there were no WMD, the war was a mistake–a mistake that implicates virtually every prominent conservative in Washington. You’d think this prospect would spark introspection and recrimination on the right, as it has among pro-war Democrats. Instead, with a few exceptions, it has hardly been publicly contemplated.”
“The corporate preoccupations of most white media activists have very little relevance to the everyday lives of the black people I see who are adversely affected by the media on a regular basis,” Evanston media activist Karen Bond tells Salim Muwakkil (In These Times, October 23). “When media had more diverse ownership, stereotypes still reigned.”
Lest we forget. In the preautomobile era “Chicago had earned the title ‘Hobo Capital of America,'” writes Todd Depastino in Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America. Chicago’s “hobohemian” district centered on West Madison in the Loop and extended a half mile in every direction. “In 1908 one researcher estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 men took shelter in the neighborhood’s 200 to 300 lodging houses and hotels….As the greatest single labor exchange in the country, if not the world, Chicago possessed thirty-nine different railroads radiating out to a periphery that included half the nation’s population. The tracks that carried grain, cattle, coal, iron, and other raw materials and finished commodities across the hinterlands also conveyed hundreds of thousands of workers who supplied seasonal labor to an area stretching west to Omaha, east to Pittsburgh, south to Nashville, and north to Minneapolis.”
Signs of the times. One of the provisions of the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) recently introduced by cosponsors Idaho Republican senator Larry Craig and Illinois Democrat senator Dick Durbin to correct the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the Washington Times (October 16): “Library computers could not be searched without a court order.”
“There are 41 amphibian and 61 reptile species native to Illinois,” writes Ron Humbert in the “Habitat Herald” (September), a Chicago Wilderness publication. The Chicago Herpetological Society and several schools are working to persuade the Illinois General Assembly to set up a schoolchildren’s vote on which of the species should become the official state “amphibian/reptile,” joining the state’s official bird, fish, wild animal, tree, fossil, flower, soil, and mineral.
It’s time to solve the state budget crunch by raising taxes. State budget woes are not due to overspending, argues the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in an October 17 report (“Federal Policies Contribute to the Severity of the State Fiscal Crisis”). The annual average percent change in real per capita state spending from 1989 to 1999 was just 2 percent. That’s the lowest increase in any of the last five decades of the 20th century. “Furthermore, most of the growth in state spending that did occur during the 1990s was in education, health care, and corrections–areas where costs were rising, need was growing, and/or voters were demanding improvements. Nine out of ten new state dollars (adjusted for inflation) went into these three areas.”