Kids–try this at home! According to the Wilmette-based Dolores Kohl Education Foundation, Roy Coleman–Morgan Park High School physics teacher and recipient of a 1994 Kohl International Teaching Award–has a favorite experiment for bringing physics out of the classroom and into the home: “the toilet flush, [which] requires students, with help from their parents, to observe the results of flushing their toilet at home once a minute for an hour.”

“Sometimes derided as showing the futility of social reform, urban renewal was never anything of the sort,” writes historian Arnold Hirsch in the new book Urban Policy in Twentieth-Century America. “The basic provisions of the federal Housing Act of 1954…copied those enacted in the Illinois Urban Community Conservation Act of 1953. Largely the product of the University of Chicago and its institutional allies, …[it] aimed to staunch the flow of blacks into the university’s Hyde Park community…. [Therefore] the charges so often leveled at the federal effort–that it neglected the poor population, that it was actually antipoor because of its demolition of low-rent housing and inadequate relocation procedures, that it simply subsidized those who needed aid least, and that it was transformed into a program of ‘Negro removal’–were hardly evidence of a plan gone awry. These were neither ‘perversions’ of the enabling legislation nor the inevitable, if unforeseen, consequences of bumbling ‘do-gooders.’ The results were fully intended and the law did exactly what it was designed to do….Poor people reaped only the benefit of rhetorical preambles and a whirlwind of bulldozers.”

Maybe if we all stop telling lawyer jokes… From the ISBA Bar News (March 1): “According to results of studies compiled by Chicago attorney [and psychotherapist] Benjamin L. Sells, lawyers are as much as four times more likely to become depressed than the population at large.”

May the odds be with you. “As soon as state budgets and people’s jobs rely on gambling revenues, the future growth of these ventures becomes almost impossible to control,” states Robert Goodman of the University of Massachusetts in a recent study. “Inevitably, revenues don’t keep pace with expectations, and then legislators turn to even more expansion. This puts government in the peculiar position of not just sanctioning gambling, but actively promoting it.”

“The more tightly the lens focuses on personal attitudes, the more nearly identical Farrakhan seems to notorious white bigots,” writes Northwestern political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. in the Progressive (April). “But if we are talking about political significance, things are much more complicated. David Duke has been elected to a seat in the Louisiana state legislature….The New York Times editorially linked Farrakhan to Ross Barnett and George Wallace. But Barnett was a governor of Mississippi and has a state park named in his honor, and Wallace was four times governor of Alabama. Farrakhan has no power or influence in our official institutions. He can neither make nor enforce any law or public policy. He has no constituency outside his own small, esoteric organization….Two wrongs, to descend to the level of the Times’s pieties, certainly do not make a right. But in this case only one of them has the potential to lead to genocide. And we can see from the current crime bill, punitive welfare reform, wanton police terror unrestrained by legal redress, etc., which one it is.”

“Reform will require more bureaucracy, not less,” writes Richard Rothstein in the Illinois School Board Journal (March-April). “Bureaucratic mazes have roots in earlier reforms to curb graft. After employees are caught in a kickback scheme, multiple signatures for purchases become required….If decentralization of school bureaucracies proceeds, there will be calls for recentralization when scandals inevitably follow.”

“Fifteen years ago they used to call me a prophet of doom. Now I’m ten times more so,” Lu Palmer of the Black Independent Political Organization tells N’Digo (March 17) of his disillusionment with politics. “It’s sickening out here. Can you point to one Black elected official in whom we have some hope?…The only thing this White man respects [is] economic power.”

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