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How long does it take for the average American car to pollute the atmosphere with its own weight in carbon? According to Greenpeace (April 1988), one year.

"I hate The Opponent," writes John Eisendrath in the Washington Monthly (March 1988), recalling his brother's successful 1987 campaign for 43rd Ward alderman. "I hate the people who work for him and am convinced they are all child abusers. I hate the local reporters who seem unable to grasp that my brother is the greatest political prospect since Abe Lincoln grew whiskers. . . . Sure I am biased. But there is really no arguing with my brother's credentials. First, Edwin has never been indicted. . . . Second, he has no experience dipping into the public till. This too makes him stand out: after approving a $296 million municipal bond issue for infrastructure repairs recently, 15 aldermen designated part of the money to repave streets in front of their homes. By not having a rap sheet, Edwin was a potential juggernaut."

Only patients with a written order from a doctor will be allowed to smoke at the University of Chicago Medical Center, beginning April 1. But we nominate Westlake Community Hospital in Melrose Park for being in the clean-air vanguard. According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, its newspaper help-wanted ads state that smokers need not apply.

OK, as long as he doesn't cheat. Through the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, the Illinois Arts Council has granted Kenneth R. Burg $900 "for development of 'The Dissolution of Ethics,'" a piece of sculpture.

The Chicago Botanic Garden becomes a trading post for the 1987-88 American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange, reports Garden Talk (February 1988). More than 500 gardeners from England, Italy, China, Czechoslovakia, Chile, Nepal, Japan, Australia, and the Soviet Union have donated over 100,000 packets of seeds; donating ARGS members get first pick. Among the 4,000-plus varieties to be traded are the rare Tennessee coneflower, Japanese rhododendrons, Turkish bulbs, and "terrestrial Chilean bromeliads."

Help! "Of the 183 Illinois children who are registered with the Adoption Information Center of Illinois (AICI) and are waiting for adoptive families, 128 (70%) are Black children," reports the center. "At the same time, of the 134 registered with AICI, only 23 families are requesting Black children."

"We believe Illinois voters are far ahead of politicians and lobbyists when it comes to demanding reform," says Pat Quinn. His Citizens for Constitutional Reform says that unfair property taxes, inadequate schools, the Greylord judicial scandal, and "a political system that has had more elected officials convicted of crimes of corruption in the past decade than any other Midwestern state" are all reasons to vote (November 2) for a 1990 Illinois constitutional convention.

Sooooo big. Eighteen states have fewer children in their schools than does the city of Chicago," notes the Illinois School Board Journal (January-February 1988). "If the district were subdivided into districts equal in size to the average Illinois school district, the result would be 230 new districts."

Sure, we have that every night. Seven midwestern chefs prepared a "Heartland Dinner" for a conference on gastronomy held in California last November, according to the Heartland Herald (January 1988), newsletter of the Heartland Food Society. Five hundred conferees feasted on "rillettes of three smoked fish with their Illinois caviars, lightly smoked pumpkin soup with minted apple cream and sunflower seeds, Midwestern corn-fried quail with roasted shallot and tomato-parsley relish, and napa-wrapped sauteed walleye pike with scallion butter."

No award for modesty. Between now and April 25 Arthur Young and Venture magazine are seeking nominations for Chicago's Entrepreneurs of the Year, "with self-nominations encouraged."

"NBC is owned by a corporation, General Electric, which is the country's second-largest military contractor, second-largest vendor of nuclear power systems," writes Alexander Cockburn in In These Times (February 17-23, 1988). "With such facts on the table it is impossible to talk about a free and independent press without bursting into laughter."

"It is a gamble, mixing your kid up with organized religion," writes Mark Jacobson in Esquire March 1988). "It's against everything you ever said, sitting around in a Berkeley coffeehouse." But now . . . "It seems as if all my old friends, the self-hating Jews, the lapsed Catholics, the former-fundamentalists-turned-rock-critics, people who thought it would never, ever, be an issue that they were of 'different faiths,' are investigating religious training. It's right up there with the search for the painless pediatric dentist." God would be pleased.

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


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