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By Harold Henderson

News you can't use, from the Naperville-based newsletter of the Illinois Drug Education Alliance (Winter): "There are 63 feet of cigarettes in a carton."

"The Illinois presidential primary is not covered as intensely by the mass media as the New Hampshire primary or even the Iowa caucuses, but it should be," write political scientists John Jackson, David Everson, and Nancy Clayton in The Making of a Primary: The Illinois Presidential Primary--1912-1992. "Illinois is a much better cross-section...of the national electorate demographically than either Iowa or New Hampshire," and a better predictor too. "Few candidates achieve party nomination without winning the Illinois primary." Since 1972 both parties' Illinois primary winners have been nominated, with the sole exceptions of Senator Edmund Muskie in 1972 and favorite son Senator Paul Simon in 1988.

The new Metra train station at Lake-Cook Road, where the Tri-state meets the Edens and office "campuses" are too far to walk from anywhere, has "great potential to attract nontraditional commuters to the Lake-Cook area during traditional rush hours," according to On the (Bi)Level (January), the Metra newsletter. In the works are shuttle vans to the office campuses, bus service, maybe even light rail eventually. "Lots of other places are watching Lake-Cook. If we all make it work, this may be one way to tie suburban sprawl together and lessen those slavish bonds to the single-occupant motor vehicle during rush hour. And why are the planners trembling? They get nudgy when their plans are actually implemented. 'What if it doesn't work?' they mumble into their brown lunch bags. Don't worry, fellas. We'll make it work. You did good."

Department of understatement. From a letter by the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service: "An investigative reporter from Milwaukee was able to drive his unmarked van into the [Commonwealth Edison] Zion reactor complex, and got deep into the security building before even being challenged. Good thing the van contained cameras--not explosives--and that Timothy McVeigh wasn't driving. We'd have a qualitatively different state if it were otherwise."

"The new libertarians have come to a startling realization: they like pleasure!" writes Tom Frank in In These Times (February 19), but they can't seem to get it right. "Unfortunately, the hedonism never comes off as well as it should: The rightists are far too eager to let you know how much they enjoy things, far too clumsy with the four-letter words they have tossed conspicuously here and there." And even stranger, they "simply invert the familiar 1960s cast of characters: Through the magic lens of the PC myth, hippies have traded places with the Man. It is the longhairs who are now the killjoys, the order-obsessed martinets who demand that we all march rigidly in line, while it is now the conservatives who are the bad boys, the rebels, the beer-drinking and drug-taking Doers of Their Own Thing."

Scorecards! Get your scorecards here! Can't tell one hypocritical political reporter from another without a scorecard! Extra! (January/February) offers a handy point system for rating election coverage this season. Among the point deductions: "-5 points for reporting rumors about a candidate's sex life. -10 points for pretending to be writing about the political implications of rumors about a candidate's sex life. -25 for pretending to write about the journalistic ethics of writing about the political implications of rumors about a candidate's sex life."

"The Luddites were right," writes Bryan Riley in Taxnews (Winter), published by National Taxpayers United of Illinois. "Labor-saving machinery destroyed millions of industrial and agricultural jobs, a trend that continues to this day. Fortunately for us, the Luddites failed to carry the day. Had they succeeded in preserving jobs, most of us would be laboring in dangerous textile sweatshops or performing backbreaking dusk-to-dawn farm work." On the other hand, if the Luddites had won out, at least Riley would know that most farm work takes place during daylight hours.

OK, kids, on this trip we're going to count the signs and see which side wins. According to a proposal for the elimination of illegal pornography and child pornography from the Internet by Oklahomans for Children and Families: "This country now has over 20,000 outlets selling prosecutable, hard-core pornography which would be found illegal by educated citizens in most American communities. In fact, there are now more outlets for hard-core pornography in the United States than McDonalds' restaurants."

"Most any pastor can help people in times of need," writes George Buttrick in Christian Ministry, quoted in the Chicago-based Salt of the Earth (March/April). "It takes a real pastor to go into a family where someone has just been promoted to the presidency of the local bank and say, 'Mary, I've just gotten the news of your promotion. So I rushed right over knowing that this promotion is placing you in an extremely vulnerable position as far as your soul is concerned. I wanted to come stand beside you during this time of potential temptation. Could we pray?'"

Send tips to cityfile@chireader.com.

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

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