Warning–prairie soil is fertile, may sprout metaphors uncontrollably. From Growmark, Inc., in downstate Bloomington: “The grey thunderheads of tax season looming just over the horizon will soon have many of us scampering for the shelter of a certified public accountant. When digging through the complex income tax web, most people feel comfortable working with a trained professional to give them sound advice. The same rings true with putting your trust in the hands of your family doctor or lawyer.”

“There is not a state in the union where the people living in its biggest city have less identification with the state as a whole than Chicago has with Illinois,” claims Governors State University pundit Paul Green in Illinois Research (Fall). “The University of Illinois is the state’s major college, but the number-one college football team in Chicago is Notre Dame; in basketball, it’s DePaul. When people from Chicago think about taking a vacation in the country to relax, they think of Wisconsin, Michigan, or Indiana.”

The camcorders–united–can never be defeated! Kate Horsfield, director of the Video Data Bank, quoted in the Center for New Television’s Video (January-February): “There is an incredible war of representation going on out there. The camcorder has opened up an incredible dialogue as we all know from Rodney King, from ACT UP appearing on CBS Nightly News and taking over the camera and intervening in certain ways. These kinds of things are very hopeful to us who work in the alternative world of media because it busts open a hole.”

The continuing noncrisis. Illinois landfill capacity, 1991: 360.9 million cubic yards. 1992: 372.2 million cubic yards (Illinois EPA Environmental Progress, November-December).

“As an educator, I think every day about how costly and difficult it is to make people smart,” writes Guy B. Senese of Northern Illinois University in a letter to In These Times (January 11). “Fortunately, with casino gambling coming…I won’t have to worry any more. It can now be more cost effective to make them stupid….Right now, the study of mathematics includes statistics and probability. Scrap it. To fatten casino coffers we’ve got to develop citizens who can’t understand the odds against winning over the short, much less the long, run. They’ve got to be kids who’ll grow up to bite when the stickman says ‘try those hardways, pardner!,’ citizens who’ll always draw to a hard 17, who’ll sit for hours at the impossibility that’s Keno, or get carpal tunnel syndrome bucking the odds at one-armed bandits.” Come to think of it, they’ll probably also vote the way the precinct captain tells them to.

An epitaph Allan Bloom probably woudn’t have minded, from his student Christopher Nadon (University of Chicago Record, January 21): “It was no small part of my education to see the champions of diversity and openness to other perspectives convulsed with rage when faced with a man who dared to have one.”

“Most people want to do the right thing,” says Chicago Horticultural Society assistant director Kris Jarantoski in CHS’s Garden Talk (January). “At our spring plant sale, when members purchase roses, they don’t ask for the best flower form, or the longest flowering rose; their main question is, ‘Which rose don’t I have to spray?'”

“Some reformers say health care should be a ‘right’ and not a ‘privilege.’ But what they mean is health care should be an entitlement paid for by somebody else, not the patient,” write Joseph Bast, Richard Rue, and Stuart Wesbury in Intellectual Ammunition (January-February). “Such cost shifting is the principal factor behind rising health care spending today. Medicare foreshadows how a national health insurance plan would either bankrupt the nation or require rationing by politicians or bureaucrats.”

“As far as the powers-that-be who control the state purse strings are concerned, the environment is expendable,” writes Marilyn Hawker in the Chicago Audubon Society’s Compass (February). “Between 1990 and 1992, state revenues rose a total of 9.4 percent, and spending rose 6.5 percent. During those same years, however, the budget for the Illinois Department of Conservation dropped a full 40 percent.”

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