[snip] Raising Cain. A west-side school principal who requested anonymity told Catalyst Chicago reporter Maureen Kelleher about a 12-year-old boy at her school who “can get 50 kids together in five minutes. He’s done it,” she says, referring to a fight that took place outside of school. “The boy insulted a girl, whose brother started a fight to defend her,” writes Kelleher. “Within minutes, 50 children attacked the brother on the 12-year-old’s orders, the principal recalls, adding that the boy’s father is in a gang and the child’s authority stems from that affiliation.”

[snip] “Both the notions of suburban decline or a big-time downtown revival are delusional,” writes Joel Kotkin in Architecture magazine. “Since 1950, 93 percent of all metropolitan growth has taken place in the suburbs.” And the downtown revival remains relatively small. “All the growth predicted recently for the 30 top U.S. downtowns through 2010 turns out to be less than half the suburban growth of greater Seattle during the 1990s.”

[snip] With friends like these . . . “George Bush may now find himself in the same kind of trap [with the Christian Right] that ensnared Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud,” writes William Thatcher Dowell at motherjones.com. “To gain political support, Saud mobilized the fanatical, ultra-religious Wahabbi movement–the same movement which is spiritually at the core of al-Qaeda. Once the bargain was done, the Saudi Royal Family repeatedly found itself held political hostage to an extremist, barely controllable movement populated by radical ideologues. Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has found himself in a similar situation, drawing political power from the swing votes of the ultra-orthodox rightwing religious and fanatical settler’s movement.”