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The [Saturday] Papers

The next time you see a story in the Chicago media about the drop in the murder rate, or the crime rate in general, keep in mind that such drops are occurring nationwide.

So whatever Strategy-of-the-Month Mayor Richard M. Daley and police chief Phil Cline are trying to sell you--and the media is buying without skepticism or its own reporting-- is either so successful that Chicago's Finest have the unique ability to slow crime in other cities as well as their own, or something else is at work.

The truth is that the experts aren't sure what to make of the nation's crime rate. As Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson writes on today's New York Times Op-Ed page, "Law enforcement officials, politicians, and social scientists have put forward many explanations for the astonishing drop in crime rates in America over the last decade or so, and yet we remain mystified."

A number of factors probably play a role--a decline in the crack trade, more aggressive policing strategies, more people in prison and fewer on the streets--but Sampson posits a new one: Immigration.

Sampson and his colleagues just completed a study of 180 Chicago neighborhoods and found that Mexican-Americans (and immigrants in general) are significantly less violent than blacks and whites. So there may be a connection, the theory goes, between the vibrant growth of the Hispanic population in the city (and in other urban areas nationwide) and a decrease in violent crime.

Except for the CDs
And who is to blame for neighborhoods experiencing rising crime? Yuppies. The Chicago Journal reported this week that a community policing liaison attending a public meeting in East Ukranian Village explained that property crimes were going up in the area because of gentrification. As the Journal's headline explained: "In East Village, The Stuff To Steal Is Just Getting Better."

Port sport
"The good news is the Arabs aren't going to run our ports.

"The bad news is the Americans are going to run our ports."

- Maureen Dowd, in today's New York Times

Opposite of Editorial
The Op-Ed piece in today's Chicago Sun-Times headlined "Health Reimbursement Accounts Offer Much-Needed Benefits" was written by the CEO of UnitedHealthcare.

So he has no financial motive to expound on the topic of your health care and, besides, we don't get to hear the corporate view very often.

And that Sun-Times Op-Ed today headlined "BlackBerry Case Shows What's Wrong With U.S. Patent Law" was written by a senior fellow at the Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian organization whose mission includes taking America back to the the 19th century, according to its website:

"[F]or well over a century, the American people said 'No' to such anti-free-market government policies as income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, immigration controls, economic regulations, drug laws, gun control, public schooling, and foreign wars. Despite the tragic exception of slavery, the result was the most prosperous, healthy, literate, and compassionate society in history. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, our country has moved in an opposite direction."

So yeah, they're a good source to go to for a cogent analysis of patent law, the BlackBerry, and life in the 21st century.

Answering Amy
In which we take one question posed each week to the Tribune's highly-paid, highly-marketed, highly-mediocre advice columnist and contrast her answer with ours. Edited for length and sanity.

Dear Amy: If I go out with a woman two or three times and have a good time but don't want to go out with her again, do I have to call the woman to tell her that I won't be seeing her again, or can I simply not call?

- Clueless in Cleveland

Dear Clueless: I put this question to an informal gathering of women in your demographic. The opinions were disparate. Some felt that after two dates, you should call to say that you won't be calling. I disagree. I think that after two or three dates, if the woman hasn't heard from you and wants to get in touch, she can call you; you can then choose to tell her that you've enjoyed her company but that you're not interested in pursuing a relationship.

My informal covey of advisors and I were in agreement on this, however: If there was any sexual activity--even "making out"--then you do have to call. Tell the woman that you are happy that you had an opportunity to get to know each other, but that you aren't interested in pursuing a relationship.

- Amy

Dear Clueless (cc: Amy): No.

- The Beachwood Advice Affairs Desk

Patent of the Week
Safety Flashlight for Dogs
"A dog flashlight illuminates the area in front of a dog in dark conditions, thereby eliminating the need for a dog owner to carry and direct a light source. The dog flashlight includes a housing containing at least one light source, a battery power supply for the light source, and a switch connected between the light source and the power supply for energizing and de-energizing the light source. When energized, the light source has sufficient brightness to illuminate the area in front of the dog so that the dog owner can observe the illuminated area for control purposes. One preferred embodiment includes an attachment device having a band carrying the housing and adapted to fit around the neck of the dog so that the housing is located in front of the chest of the dog."

Inventor: Jacquelyn R. Simoni (Glen Ellyn)
Filed: Dec. 31, 2003
Issued: March 7, 2006

Trademark of the Week
Come Potty With Us
"Educational and training services, namely, conducting seminars, workshops, and classes for parents and children in the field of toilet training."

Applicant: Booty Camp, LLC (West Chicago)
Filed: March 15, 2003
Registered: March 7, 2006

About our Tip Line: You can use us as much as you'd like and never call again.


Posted on March 11, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - NHL: CTE Not Our Fault.

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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