“We’ve got one doctor who still tells mothers that if they nurse for more than five minutes their nipples will fall off,” lactation consultant Nicki Ward of Prentice Women’s Hospital (a division of Northwestern Memorial) tells the Chicago Reporter’s Clara Jeffery (April). Such medical mythology is one of several reasons why relatively few poor and African American women breast-feed their babies, even though nursing builds babies’ immune systems and helps reduce infant mortality. Another reason is an unholy alliance between government and infant-formula manufacturers: last year the state of Illinois purchased $52 million worth of formula for the WIC nutrition program for new mothers and spent only $341,000 to promote breast-feeding.

Which baseball player is most like former Supreme Court justice William J. Brennan Jr.: Lou Boudreau, Ozzie Smith, Shawon Dunston, or Larry Bowa? According to Northwestern University political scientist Jerry Goldman’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court,” as described in Student Lawyer (May), the correct answer is Ozzie Smith. Smith and Brennan were both “true wizards of their respective games. They knew what it takes to win and they perfected the skills to do it, on defense and on offense…[Smith’s] long string of fielding records supports the claim that his glove alone saved the Cardinals 75 runs a year. Much the same could be said for Brennan, who managed to craft important liberal opinions when conservatives dominated the Court.”

Peace on earth, good will to men only. Jerry Falwell on Old Time Gospel Hour (March 14), as quoted in Right-Wing Watch: “A Christian feminist to me is like saying ‘a Christian evolutionist’ or ‘a Christian prostitute.’ They are a contradiction in terms.”

Would better tourism brochures help? According to Planning in Northeastern Illinois (Spring), “Outmigration from the region continued to increase [during the 1980s] with nearly 450,000 more people leaving northeastern Illinois than coming to the region.”

“Put a band in a room…set up a bunch of microphones, and let them do what they are supposed to do: play music. Together. It works….that chemistry can make or break a song,” writes Nick Eipers in the Eardrum (April). “If an engineer insists on a click track, the musicians’ ability to change pace from take to take is killed. If iso-booths and overdubs are used unnecessarily, communication, performance and spontaneity are lost. If a singer is told he should sing twenty times into a computer and cut and paste the track, the idea of getting that ‘magic take’ is forgotten….While the sound quality is the focus of the engineering, the music is the focus of the recording. A wise man once said that if you listen to a recording he’s done and say ‘What a great drum sound,’ that he failed. If you say, ‘What a great song,’ he has succeeded.”

Next week: Arnie and Roxanne analyze girder stress factors in the Sears Tower. Mike Russell, recruitment and admissions counselor in UIC’s College of Engineering, quoted in UIC News (April 14): “Unlike ‘L.A. Law,’ there’s no TV show called ‘L.A. Engineering.’ While there are millions of engineers in the country, having an engineer as a role model is not common.”

State Education Superintendent Robert Leininger “might more easily try to reverse the tides, or to command the sun to rise in the west or to give the Bears a winning season” than try to change Illinois schools significantly, writes Don Sevener in Illinois Issues (April). “Education policy in Illinois is a perpetual motion machine: lots of activity, but it never goes anywhere.”

Why you haven’t seen a big push for currency-exchange reform. Percentage of Chicago-area households with incomes over $40,000 who use ATM cards: 62. Percentage who use currency exchanges: 3 (Metro Chicago Information Center).

Ten years ago it was Council Wars; today it’s Russia. Remember when loyal Machine parts Ed Vrdolyak and Ed Burke and their white brethren discovered the virtues of democracy? You might almost think they’d been consulting overseas, to judge from Vladimir Klimenko’s report from Moscow in In These Times (April 19): “Today, conservative objections to Yeltsin are laced with legalisms. Politicians who never objected to a lack of democracy under Brezhnev are now suddenly alarmed by the prospects of a strong executive.”

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