A booming industry. Amount Republican leaders raised in 1980 for state legislative races statewide: $325,000. Average amount spent in each targeted legislative district in 1994: $380,000 (House) and $595,000 (Senate) (Illinois Issues, November).

Lest we forget. From a new Voices for Illinois Children report on children without health insurance: “Most uninsured children in Illinois are white, live in suburban or rural areas, and have parents who work.”

“Frankly, I very seldom watch television news,” Sun-Times reporter David Roeder told the Chicago Journalist (April), which did a survey on where journalists got their news. “When I do, I think it’s usually Channel 5 because Leno or Saturday Night Live follows it….I find that not watching television news improves your peace of mind without detracting from your general knowledge.”

Things Republicans don’t want to know. Illinois comptroller Loleta Didrickson cosponsored what may be a one-of-a-kind survey of privatization in state towns and cities, then spun it as a success story in her newsletter “Fiscal Focus” (March) under the headline “Illinois Municipalities Save Money Through Privatization.” The actual numbers are much more ambiguous. The study’s authors sent questionnaires to 1,284 municipalities, and got back answers from 516. Only 397 had actually looked to see if it was cheaper to provide services through a public agency or a private contractor. Of them, 102 said privatization had not saved money in their town; 71 said it had saved money in all cases; and 224 said it had in some instances (“some” was not defined). Given the low (and nonrandom) rate of response, local officials’ natural reluctance to admit failure when they do respond, the mostly favorable press that privatization has received, and the obvious bias in the questionnaire–respondents were asked to provide a specific example only if they answered yes–these results are astonishingly negative.

And if I don’t own a car? Advice from downstate professional arborist Derek Vannice in Illinois Country Living (April): “How many trees should you plant or care for in order to store the carbon emissions you’ll be responsible for in your lifetime? Naturally, it depends on your age. If you are 30 years old, you will need to plant 120 seedlings. The sooner you begin the better.”

One thing we can be sure of, it’s not because they admire great baseball players. A House of Cards: Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture asks what this adult pastime tells us about “nostalgia, work, play, masculinity, and race and gender relations among collectors….Are collectors striving to reinforce the dominant culture or question it?” According to the University of Minnesota Press catalog, the book concludes that collectors are anxious about “deindustrialization and the rise of the civil rights, feminist, and gay rights movements.”

Results appear to be half right. From a recent news release: “Calories from red wine do not appear to contribute to increased body weight, according to a recent study by two Colorado State University researchers….Over a 12-week period, 14 healthy males drank two glasses of red wine with dinner daily…”

Paging Richard J. Daley. Paging Richard J. Daley. “Chicago is the only school district in Illinois that is not required to identify and systematically eliminate hazards to children’s life, health and safety–things like peeling lead paint, rotting window frames that let in freezing winds, and decaying ceilings that threaten to cave in,” reports Dan Weissmann in Catalyst (April). “State law requires every other school district to make a comprehensive survey of such hazards and then to set priorities for eliminating them. That information is sent to the state for review….Catalyst asked legislators, state officials and outside experts why Chicago was exempted, and none of them had an answer; the law and the exemption date back to the early 1960s.”