The City File 

Please don't slam-dunk my eyeball. According to UIC's Eye Facts (September/October 1990), basketball and baseball resulted in nearly one-third of the 31,000 sports-related eye injuries in the U.S. during 1988. It's not clear, however, whether these two sports cause more eye injuries because they are actually more dangerous, or simply because more people play them more often.

Our favorite cartoonist rides the CTA. Lynda Barry tells Joel Bleifuss in In These Times (October 10-16), "The el is like a very slow and not very exciting rollercoaster--a rollercoaster that has something definitely wrong with it."

"In 25 years, if you look back at the Reagan administration and try to figure out what is the worst thing that it did--was it the near tripling of the national debt, the collapse of the savings and loan industry, huge deployment of resources in the star wars?--the answer may well be that it basically shut down all of the innovative things that were going on in energy policy, says Denis Hayes, interviewed by Vicki Quade in the Chicago-based Barrister (Fall 1990). Ten years ago, he says, "we had a good, diverse solar research program.... Now we have to start all that stuff from scratch."

Only eight "socially responsible businesses" in the Chicago area made it into Co-op America's latest annual listing of 480 such businesses and organizations nationwide: the nonprofit clothing retailer Marketplace: Handwork of India (Evanston), the Theosophical Society in America (Wheaton), the cooperatively owned Salsedo Press (Chicago), the newsletters Conscious Choice (Chicago) and The Neighborhood Works (Chicago), the management-consultant company Dynamic Alternatives (Wilmette), socially responsible investment adviser Jim Slama (Chicago), and the full-service pioneer of community reinvestment, South Shore Bank (Chicago).

Are the cameramen getting better, or are the reporters getting worse? Anita Huslin in the Chicago Headline Club News (October 1990): "Channel 2 political editor Mike Flannery said experienced cameramen (or women) today can surpass reporters in their knowledge and understanding of an event or story. 'Some of our mini-cam operators are sufficiently conversant with the ins and outs of politics and the local criminal justice system that they should really be pulled in front of the camera on occasion and interviewed as experts.'"

"Does it really make sense for a key person in a company to spend their valuable time planning a golf outing when they could be doing what they do best?" asks Richard Eichner, making a pitch for his newly formed Golf Outing Planners, Inc., of Highland Park. Of course, there's always the possibility that golf outings are what that "key person" does do best.

Bulletin from the front in the war against theocracy. James M. Perry of the Wall Street Journal (October 16) quotes Notre Dame's Reverend Richard McBrien: "There is no evidence of a single Catholic candidate in America facing defeat because of pressure he has been put under [on abortion] by the bishops."

Why the media elite tilts to the right. "There is a growing gap between the experiences of working people in the United States and the individuals who are supposed to report on their lives," writes Jonathan Tasini in Extra! (Summer 1990). "In the workplace, workers' real wages are dropping, the female workforce is growing, and people of color are dominating the lowest-paid, dirtiest jobs. According to questionnaire responses and interviews, reporters and editors covering workers' issues are essentially white males from middle-class backgrounds making upwards of $40,000 a year (plus benefits)." And the few remaining labor reporters tend to be assigned from the business desk.

"The question these guys need to answer is what will lose out to the schools," says Douglas Whitley of the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois in Chicago Enterprise (October 1990), criticizing both candidates for governor. "Will they really take money from corrections, law enforcement, DCCA, the aged? You really do have the quick fix and the 30-second mentality here."

Who says there are no new ideas on foreign policy? Just ask the South Bend, Indiana, chapter of NOW, quoted in Around the Bend, October 1990: "Let us have all Congressmembers who support this military solution be called up to go to the Middle East." We'll be right behind you, Newt.

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

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