No thanks, I’m not hungry anymore. Recent publicity for a cooking magazine: “Making pie crust that isn’t soggy, hard, flavorless, under-salted, under-baked, or totally unworkable can be a home cook’s worst nightmare.”

“Since 1980, spending by the [Illinois] legislative branch has nearly doubled from $40 million to $75 million,” report Karen Nagel and Max Ragozzo in Illinois Politics (July). “The increase occurred in spite of the Cutback Amendment of 1980 [sponsored by Pat Quinn], which reduced the number of lawmakers in the House of Representatives by one-third. The elimination of several legislative study commissions following a scandal in 1984 also did not slow the growth of General Assembly spending….Nationwide, only the California General Assembly spends more. The added costs and autocratic control by party leaders in California, however, ultimately led the voters to approve a term limits plan.”

The color of history. “The Will County Forest Preserve District recently purchased a 37-acre tract in Wheatland Township for $575,000 in order to preserve a traditional family farm built in the 1800’s, with plans to restore several ‘historic’ farm buildings,” according to the Oak-Lawn-based AIM of IL Repatriation Committee, Native Americans who are protesting the excavation of a prehistoric village and battleground in New Lenox so that a golf course can be built. “When we see that a place a mere 150 years old is deemed worthy of saving, we understand well that the denial of our rights to even a comment on our own village’s demise is a blatant form of racism.”

Yep, that should keep those feminists, nationalists, and people of color happy. An April press release from the Population Reference Bureau encourages journalists to drop the phrase “population control,” because “it means negative things to so many people: feminists may see men controlling women; nationalists in developing countries may fear that the U.S. is trying to weaken the power of their increasing numbers; people of color may feel that whites are practicing global eugenics. ‘Population control’ is still heard on the Indian sub-continent, in China, and other Third World places. But knowledgeable Westerners wisely talk up less threatening phrases, like ‘slowing population growth’ or ‘stabilizing world population growth.'”

R.I.P. Illinois has lost at least 115 native species since white settlers arrived, according to Susan Post of the Illinois Natural History Survey, as reported by John Schwegman of the state Department of Conservation. Of these, 106 survive elsewhere, but 9 are gone forever; four clams and mussels (leafshell, round combshell, Tennessee riffleshell, Wabash riffleshell), three birds (passenger pigeon, Carolina parakeet, ivory-billed woodpecker), one plant (Thismia), and one insect (the chewing louse that parasitized the passenger pigeon).

Hopefully they weren’t paying close attention all the time. The Media Audit claims that “on an average weekday, the typical Chicago adult spends 2 hours and 48 minutes listening to radio, 48 minutes reading a newspaper and 3 hours and 32 minutes watching TV.” That would total 7 hours and 8 minutes–after eight hours each of sleep and work, leaving 52 minutes a day for everything else.

Oh, so that’s why there aren’t any black aldermen from the northwest side. According to Capital Eye: A Close-Up Look at Money in Politics (August 15), published by the Center for Responsive Politics, “Paul Kleppner of Northern Illinois University and James Lewis of the Chicago Urban League plan to soon release a report showing that minority candidates for seats in Chicago’s city council have not been able to raise as much money as white candidates.”

The privilege of giving it up. “Any honest appraisal of the numerous ‘simple living’ books and articles of the past few years reveals one uncomfortable fact,” writes Robert Hutchinson in the Chicago-based Salt (September). “They are geared for burnt-out-but-affluent white people who have the kinds of jobs or the brokerage accounts that allow them to take their laptop computers to the woods and do their spreadsheets there. It turns out that many recipes for ‘simple living’ require a decent amount of high technology and at least sometimes cash in the bank.”

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