The City File 

You should have had those tonsils out two years ago. According to the Illinois Health Care Cost Containment Council, the biggest recent increase in outpatient procedure costs was in "tonsillectomy with adenoidectomy," up from $1,437 in 1989 to $1,806 in 1990, a 26 percent increase.

"The store's attempt to recreate a French colonial outpost belies its name," writes Philip Berger of Banana Republic's new North Michigan Avenue building in Inland Architect (March/April): "One normally associates the term 'banana republic' with the jungles of Central America, but contemporary shoppers apparently aren't such sticklers for authenticity. The lushly decorated interior spaces at Banana Republic seem to have drawn greater inspiration from the Ralph Lauren Safari Collection than genuine design antecedents of the glory that was the French Empire."

"While men tend to hold most of the top jobs on the staffs of the Illinois Congressional delegation and the staffs of Illinois' two Senators, women are clearly dominant in lower paying positions," according to congressional payroll records investigated by Victor M. Crown and Karen A. Nagel for Illinois Politics (January-February). But some do better than others. Women who work for Senator Paul Simon--who got a 95 percent favorable rating from the National Women's Political Caucus--earn 66 cents for every dollar his male employees make. Ironically, women working for suburban U.S. representative Henry Hyde--who voted right only 15 percent of the time, according to NWPC--make an average of $1.14 for every dollar paid to male Hyde staffers. Also on the plus side were representatives Russo, Durbin, Porter, Yates, Bruce, Rostenkowski, Poshard, and Sangmeister.

At this rate the state should be withering away any time now. According to Governors State University, which will confer an honorary doctorate on ex-governor Jim Thompson on June 7, "Among his major accomplishments, the governor cites cutting the size of government..." Thompson's first state budget (1978) was $10 billion; his last (1991) was $25.5 billion.

Best marketing ploys, from Vermont's "Seventh Generation" mail-order catalog: "If your closets are overflowing and your drawers filled to the brim...we don't want to sell you anything else."

The invisible hand. Marcia Lipetz, former director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, quoted in Forum (January/February): "One of the biggest surprises to me [about philanthropy] was realizing that every foundation was begun with individual, family, or corporate funds and that whoever controls those funds may have little interest in social needs. There are no entitlements or guarantees. That foundations are responsive and do good work is the surprise rather than the reverse."

"When dealing with artifacts in the Museum's collections one maxim must be observed," writes curator Mike Zimmer in Headhouse Report (Winter), newsletter of the Maritime Museum of Chicago: "Objects have rights...whether one is dealing with a priceless oil painting, or a rust covered hammer taken from the bottom of the lake, each and every item of historic significance has its own intrinsic value. This is to say that even an old rusty hammer must be treated as if it were priceless because all artifacts are important."

"Like most feminists, I feel intense resentment toward men who pontificate on 'the grave moral issue of abortion,'" writes Ellen Willis in Tikkun (November/December). "Since they will never be unwillingly pregnant, they should have the grace to shut up. But what am I really asking? Not literally that they shouldn't have an opinion; I'm equally outraged by men who are indifferent (because after all they can afford to be) to an issue that impinges so crucially on my life. No, I want them to support my position, because I'm a woman and I know what I'm talking about. But faced with this demand, a man can reasonably point out that after all, women also disagree on abortion; if he relinquishes his right to independent judgment, how does he decide which women to support? At which point I can either insist that my female opponents are identifying with men and don't count, or I can drop the attempt to displace the issue of abortion onto the question of who is morally entitled to discuss it--a tactic that, depending on the social climate, may temporarily 'win' by intimidating some liberal men into silence--and pursue a real debate."

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

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