The price tags on waste. According to spokesmen for WMX (aka Waste Management), the net costs per ton of recycling, landfilling, and incinerating municipal wastes are roughly the same. (The following figures can vary by up to $40 either way.) Recycling costs $175 per ton and generates revenues of $72 per ton (up from around $30 last year). Landfilling costs $100 per ton. Incineration costs $150 per ton and generates revenues of $20-25 per ton. Clearly the cheapest choice is not to throw anything away in the first place.

“Eliminating waste and fraud and getting rid of burnt-out teachers would certainly be a step in the right direction,” writes Mary O’Connell, reviewing Maribeth Vander Weele’s book Reclaiming Our Schools: The Struggle for Chicago School Reform in Catalyst (September). “But that’s not enough to light up the eyes of the children or give the teachers hope….Community control was always a political vision, concentrating on how the schools could be run. It now needs to be matched by an educational vision that forcefully and creatively develops the vast potential of Chicago’s children.”

Dept. of minor omissions. From the new book Paths to Homelessness, coauthored by North Central College sociologists Doug Timmer and Kathryn Talley (and Colorado State’s D. Stanley Eitzen): “A recent review of the explosion of literature on homelessness during the 1980s found that little of it actually involved observing and talking with homeless persons on the streets and in shelters.”

“In Illinois, Catholic hospitals are exempt from a state law that requires hospitals to offer rape victims the morning-after pill,” according to a new report by Catholics for a Free Choice–and sometimes rape victims don’t get a choice of where they go. “In 1992, 14 out of 16 Catholic hospitals in Chicago and suburban Cook County denied more than one thousand women who had been raped access to the morning-after pill; four of these hospitals were located in poor and minority communities, treating about 45 percent of the rape victims.”

Don’t forget the sex. From the program for an October 29 teachers colloquium sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council and UIC: “11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Bloody Bard: Thinking About Shakespeare. The central icon of high English print culture, whose works are taught in every school in America, offers a canon steeped in violence.”

Things Mel Reynolds and Dan Rostenkowski have in common, besides indictments, according to IIlinois Politics (September): They have the two worst 1994 attendance records among the Illinois delegation (Reynolds 76 percent, Rosty 88 percent). And they, along with downstater Richard Durbin, are the only Illinoisans to back President Clinton on all seven “key roll call votes” during the 103rd Congress (including NAFTA, the crime bill, and the assault-weapons ban).

“Public planners are trained to believe the Italian hill towns and the Left Bank of Paris are the world’s most charming places,” complains Joel Garreau in the New Republic (September 19 & 26), “which is probably true. The difficulty reproducing them in the United States is that they are Mediterranean environments. Bulletin: the weather in North America is The Pits. Normal is either 110 in Phoenix, or ten below in Chicago. That’s why when we build extensive walkway labyrinths linking hundreds of buildings, we frequently do it either underground, as in Houston or Toronto, or fifteen feet above ground, as in Minneapolis and Calgary. Like sensible human beings….But you know the definition of a public planner? Somebody who looks at a perfectly functional landscape and asks whether it can possibly work in theory.”

“Where legally permitted, I would challenge the right of government to require driver’s licenses,” says Libertarian Party candidate for secretary of state Joseph Schreiner. “Instead of confiscating citizens’ money and forcing them into a surveillance system [i.e., licensing drivers], individuals should be held accountable [for] their driving behavior…. Dangerous and destructive behavior must be punished, but unwarranted invasions are not the means for doing so.”

Which is Chicago and which is Sarajevo? From a Peace Action Education Fund fact sheet being circulated in advance of Illinois Peace Action’s Saturday conference on weapons control of all kinds: “In just one city from January to October 1992, 124 children were murdered. Over a fortnight this year in another city, two children were murdered and 11 wounded.”

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