“The first living thing to arrive at the scene of a crime is often the fly,” says UIC forensic entomologist Bernard Greenberg (UIC News, January 26). After deciding what species the fly is and how old its eggs or larvae are, he can determine such things as “time of death, movement of the body and the presence of drugs in the corpse.”

In the vegetarian edition, are meat dishes listed under “homicide”? Student Lawyer (February) describes Recipes for Slaw and Order, a fund-raising book published by Chicago’s United Charities Legal Aid Bureau: “In ‘Voir Dire,’ for instance, you’ll find recipes for appetizers and relishes. ‘Opening Statement’ includes soups, salads, sauces, and vegetables….Then there’s ‘International Law’ for ethnic foods, and ‘All Rise’ for breads and pies….[The cover features] a smiling blind Justice holding a skewer in one hand and a scale weighing fish and bread in the other.”

Why Brad Wood’s Idful Studio in Wicker Park won’t be expanding anytime soon, as he explained it to Gwen Ihnat in Illinois Entertainer (February): “To do that I’d have to move or buy a building…. Bankers are probably my biggest obstacle to expansion. All Chicago banks can kiss my ass. Small businesses get nothing. They want such a heavy financial commitment from you. We’re working with stereotypes here. I have to deal with stereotypical bankers and they think they’re dealing with a stereotypical studio guy, like I’ve got a kilo of cocaine in my back pocket, cellular phone, Jag fresh off the lot bought with laundered drug money, and I work with a lot of long-haired Satan-worshiping musicians snorting heroin and cocaine in the studio.”

Sleep well tonight. Labor lawyer, longtime activist, and former Chicagoan Staughton Lynd in the Progressive (February): “In my opinion, American capitalism no longer has any use for, let’s say, 40 percent of the population. These are the descendants of folks who were brought over here in one way or another during the period of capital accumulation. They’re now superfluous human beings. They’re nothing but a problem for the people who run the society.”

“The upper middle class has successfully turned the welfare state to its own ends,” writes Nancy Folbre, describing the thesis of Peter G. Peterson’s new book Facing Up in In These Times (February 7). “By his calculations, only about $1 out of every $8 of federal social spending goes to help poor families. Consider the home mortgage interest that individuals can deduct from their taxable income: theoretically, the deduction applies to everyone, but of course some can take better advantage of the opportunity than others. In 1994, this deduction cost the U.S. Treasury about $46 billion, about twice the amount spent on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); 80 percent of the benefits went to households with incomes over $50,000.”

Found out at last. Jack Grassel’s “power practicing” advice to musicians in the Collective Voice (February), newsletter of Wisconsin’s Madison Music Collective: “Most listeners can’t tell the difference between a weak and a strong performance. They listen with their eyes. If you look like you are playing well, most will think you are.”

From the profession that brought you bleeding and mercury purging. Despite growing evidence that many cases of localized prostate cancer are best treated by watchful waiting, the U. of C. Medical Center reports, “Physicians in the United States have tended to treat prostate cancer very aggressively. The number of radical prostatectomies increased nearly seven-fold from 1984 through 1990….Physicians in Europe have been more likely to take a wait-and-see approach, avoiding the complications of treatment [possible incontinence or impotence] with no measurable difference in longevity.”

Two Desert Storms at once without allies–that’s the Clinton administration’s post-cold-war military plan, as described by the Coalition for New Priorities on South State. “The potential threats–Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Cuba and North Korea, spend a combined $20 billion/year on their militaries, 8% of what we would spend….Chicago’s share of this plan over the next 5 years is enormous: $15 billion. This year alone, Chicago citizens and businesses are paying $4.3 billion in federal taxes toward the military–$1 billion more than the amount they spend in federal, state and local taxes to operate the city.” Whump! Ouch! Another pothole–I wonder which war that one is paying for?

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.