But what about the conservatives who don’t care to do either? Theology by U.S. Supreme Court justice and former University of Chicago professor Antonin Scalia (U.S. Catholic, May): Christ’s message “is not the need to eliminate hunger or misery or misfortune, but rather, the need for each individual to love and help the hungry, the miserable, the unfortunate.”
“Some things deserve to be demolished,” writes Theodore Hild, chief of preservation services for the state Historic Preservation Agency, in Historic Illinois (April). “Remember Jacob Riis’s photos of the dreadful Federal Street slum in turn-of-the-century Chicago? Good thing we didn’t get stuck trying to save those things. Also, I can’t resist the irony that almost every urban or downtown building that preservationists try to save is itself a building built on the bones of an earlier structure….Fifth- or sixth-generation buildings are common in some downtowns. Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater Building–one of the world’s most famous buildings–rests on the site of a row of elegant mansions.”
“In billing time to a client, provide a full description of the work done,” the Chicago-based Young Lawyer magazine (May) advises its readers. “Do not simply bill the client eight hours for ‘work on case’ or ‘work on transaction.'” On the other hand, “Avoid describing your work in ways that imply it was not time well spent. ‘Repeated telephone calls to unresponsive adversary’ or ‘fruitless search for relevant case law’ might accurately describe your time; ‘efforts to settle matter’ or ‘legal research on x issue’ are equally accurate but more politic.”
Want to alarm the Christian Coalition? “Nearly 3.7 million U.S. households were made up of unmarried couples in 1995,” reports Land Use Digest (February). “That figure represents an 85 percent increase over the last ten years and a sevenfold increase since 1970; the figures do not include gay and lesbian couples living together.”
Shut up already about the decline of the book! Larissa MacFarquhar in Slate (April 16): “In 1957, 17 percent of people surveyed in a Gallup poll said they were currently reading a book; in 1990, over twice as many did. In 1953, 40 percent of people polled by Gallup could name the author of Huckleberry Finn; in 1990, 51 percent could. In 1950, 8,600 new titles were published; in 1981, almost five times as many. In fact, Americans are buying more books now than ever before–over 2 billion in 1992. . . . People aren’t just buying books as status objects, either. A 1992 survey found that the average adult American reads 11.2 books per year, which means that the country as a whole reads about 2 billion — the number bought.”
Oh boy! Three-quarters of us will do the right thing if it costs us nothing! “When price and quality are equal, 76% of consumers report they would be likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause,” according to a recent press release from Co-op America.
“Apparently there is more consensus on the worst than on the best,” writes historian Melvin Holli of the University of Illinois at Chicago in Social Science Quarterly (March). His first-ever survey of 69 experts found that 33 of them picked Richard J. Daley as the best U.S. mayor since 1960, while 58 of them named Philadelphia’s Frank Rizzo as the worst.
Lest we forget. Average teacher salary in Chicago: $43,867. In Illinois: $40,919. In the U.S.: $37,685 (Catalyst, April).
Is drug abuse a serious problem in your neighborhood? Chicago residents who said yes dropped from 43 percent in 1991 to 30 percent last year, according to a recent press release from the Metro Chicago Information Center. Among suburbanites the drop was from 13 to 8 percent.
Do polls really affect election results? Norman Bradburn of the National Opinion Research Center thinks they probably do in primary elections “where there are many candidates and only a few will emerge as serious candidates,” because “poll results can affect the money raising capabilities of potential candidates. While the effect is not as large as actually winning or losing a primary, it does appear to be sufficiently large to make it difficult (but not impossible) for little known candidates to get very far in the primaries. It also puts a premium on raising a large amount of money well before the primaries” (Chicago Policy Review, Fall).
How can you tell liberals and conservatives apart these days? “With a stopwatch,” snarls Sam Smith in his “Progressive Review” (April). “A liberal thinks someone should be thrown off welfare after three years while a conservative says two.”