[snip] The Blagojevich environmental philosophy. Not only has the budget of the state’s Department of Natural Resources been cut by one-sixth in three years, the cuts appear to be more drastic in natural-areas preservation than in recreation (hunting and fishing). “Economics are involved here,” DNR director and former Democratic state legislator Joel Brunsvold told Todd Spivak of the Illinois Times (October 7-13). “It’s because recreation tends to generate money and natural areas don’t.”

[snip] “The School Board pulled a bait and switch with funding” for Renaissance 2010, writes Veronica Anderson in Chicago Catalyst (October). “First, school officials announced that many new Renaissance 2010 schools would be housed in district facilities–an arrangement that has worked out nicely for some existing charter and contract schools. Later, officials revealed that the district would charge the new schools rent and fees for the privilege, cutting into the already modest funding they get to educate children. . . . The new funding dictum is the kind of bureaucratic thinking that has stifled innovation in regular public schools.”

[snip] Do as we say, not as we do. “During the panel discussion ‘Building a Legacy of Sustainable Public Buildings’ at the [American Institute of Architects] convention in Chicago this past June, former New Hampshire congressman and ambassador to Denmark Richard Swett asked the capacity crowd of about 300 architects, engineers, and designers how many of them practiced sustainable design. Five hands warily went up. He then asked how many were part of larger firms that practiced sustainable design. Two hands slowly climbed skyward” (Dwell, October/November).

[snip] “Poverty does not cause terrorism and prosperity does not cure it,” writes Walter Laqueur in Policy Review (August/September). “In the world’s 50 poorest countries there is little or no terrorism. A study by scholars Alan Krueger and Jitka Maleckova reached the conclusion that the terrorists are not poor people and do not come from poor societies. . . . More recently, a study of India has demonstrated that terrorism in the subcontinent has occurred in the most prosperous (Punjab) and most egalitarian (Kashmir, with a poverty ratio of 3.5 compared with the national average of 26 percent) regions and that, on the other hand, the poorest regions such as North Bihar have been free of terrorism. In the Arab countries (such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but also in North Africa), the terrorists originated not in the poorest and most neglected districts but hailed from places with concentrations of radical preachers. The backwardness, if any, was intellectual and cultural–not economic and social.”

[snip] While we’re at it, let’s abolish the state lottery too. Voices for Illinois Children argues against fixing the state’s budget by licensing new casinos in its “Fiscal Policy Research Brief” (October): “Revenues from Illinois casinos largely come from people who live nearby. The presence of a gaming facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers in the area. . . . Allocating the responsibility for additional tax revenues to those who live near a casino and suffer from an addiction is a very unfair way for the state to raise the money needed to serve us all.” It would be better, VIC says, to cut local property taxes, raise state income taxes, and broaden the sales tax so that it applies to services.