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"Our broccoli will not look like the widgety California broccoli 'til cooler fall weather arrives," Kimberely Rector advises Chicago subscribers to the Angelic Organics community-supported farm in Boone County, in Farm News (August 5). "Unless you have gardened yourself, unless you have become used to the vagaries of weather, become used to the variations in vegetable appearances, you may judge our broccoli harshly, asking 'What kind of broccoli is this?' Ours is a perfectly valid manifestation of broccoli, but one to which the supermarket shopper is unaccustomed....We practice celebrating cultural diversity, the unique gift that each of us brings to a community...but we usually want all our tomatoes to look the same."

No more Perrier as usual! According to a recent news release from Illinois Peace Action, "peace and disarmament groups in the U.S. are considering calling a boycott of Chinese and French goods to protest nuclear weapons testing by the two countries."

In the reign of Richard II. Mayor Daley won every contested roll call vote in the city council during his 1991-'95 term of office, with an average 59 percent support-- higher than any mayor since Michael Bilandic, according to a report by Karen Nagel and Victor Crown in Illinois Politics (July/August). Six black aldermen voted with Daley most of the time, even though he received less than 30 percent of the mayoral vote in their wards. They were Carrie Austin (34th), Lorraine Dixon (8th), Percy Giles (37th), Arenda Troutman (20th), Sam Burrell (29th), and Jesse Miller (24th, since defeated). On the other side, two white lakefront independents, Joseph Moore (49th) and Helen Shiller (46th), were Daley's staunchest opponents, despite the fact that their wards gave the mayor landslide margins in his re-election bid.

Things that evidently do not go without saying in the J-school fraternity, from a proposed revision of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (Chicago Journalist, July/August): "Truthfulness means 'getting it right.'"

Headlines of the future: U.S. Products Boycotted by Chinese on Human-Rights Grounds. From a May 9 speech by U.S. senator Phil Gramm, published by the Heritage Foundation: "Every year since I've been in Congress Jesse Helms, my dear friend, has offered an amendment to ban Chinese goods produced by prison labor. And every year I wonder why we can't make our own prisoners work."

Department of Duh. According to a news release from the governor's office, Governor Edgar has signed a bill which, evidently for the first time, "requires persons seeking a veterans preference in state hiring document that he or she is a veteran, eliminating the possibility that non-veterans could falsely obtain the hiring preference."

"Like urban blacks considering the justice system, the rural right has seen things the elite would prefer to ignore," writes Sam Smith in Progressive Review (June). "It has observed correctly phenomena indicating loss of sovereignty for themselves, their states and their country. They have seen treaties replaced by fast-track agreements and national powers surrendered to remote and unaccountable trade tribunals. And they have seen a multi-decade assault by the federal government on the powers of states and localities. Like urban blacks, they have not been paranoid in this observation, merely perceptive. But because the story could not be told [in the media], could not become part of the national agenda, they have turned, as people in trouble often do, to a myth--and, yes, sometimes a violent myth--that will carry the story. The tragedy is that the American center has not responded to these myths by confronting their causes but rather with ridicule and repression."

"I am most concerned about the widening gap beween the evangelical populace and the evangelical academy," says Wheaton College professor Mark Noll, who gave a talk called "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind," in the west-suburban-based Christianity Today (August 14). "Every popular forum I have attended that has discussed The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind has been dominated by the most rigid kind of six-day creationism. I'm not sure where this is coming from, and I do not know exactly what it means. But I think its elevation to the status of dogma is crippling to the Scriptures and demeaning to the Christian tradition. I feel the same way about Christian politics, which in the United States is in a degenerately low state. Any positive insights the academics have drawn from the Scriptures to think about the body politic have simply been lost in the great engines of media that are prostituting Christian values."

News flash: It's expensive to hire someone to bring up your kids. "Even mediocre care is expensive; on average it costs a center $4,940 per year to provide services for one child," reports the local newsletter MOMents (August). Among the tips for seekers of day care: try to get a feel for how money is spent. "One former center director at a 'for profit' day-care chain told MOMents that the performance of the directors is evaluated based on how profitable the center is. She told stories of kids only having one paint color and very minimal art supplies in an aggressive cost-cutting effort."

Ratio of Australia's entire gross national product to the U.S. defense budget, according to the Hyde Park-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (September/October): 1:1.

Number of tourists visiting all downstate historic sites in 1994 combined: about 2.6 million. Number visiting a single casino: about 3.7 million (Fiscal Focus, July).

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

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