Percentage of Illinoisans polled who could not name a single member of the state legislature: 77 (Northern Illinois University 1991 Illinois Policy Survey).

I can’t find a job. The president doesn’t seem to care. Thank God for II Live Crew! Chicago poet-publisher Luis J. Rodriguez, in Curbstone Ink (Fall): “We are witnessing an upsurge throughout this country of people who are being economically squeezed….I see the rise in rap music and poetry as a movement of people attempting to provide some direction as to what can be done about the crisis. Rap music is indicating a path out of the crisis.”

“Those who have worked for independent candidates learn a certain grudging respect for the skills of the old precinct captains,” writes Mary O’Connell in Salt (January). “I remember working a precinct, systematically ringing every doorbell. I probably caught one fourth of the people at home; the others remained names on a poll sheet. On election day I sat in the polling place next to the precinct captain. As people came up to vote, their names were called out, and the precinct captain would greet each one, ‘Hi Jimmy, is the wife feeling any better?’ ‘Hello there, Jose, how’s your son doing at the university?’ ‘Alice, did they ever deliver those garbage cans I ordered for you? Good, good.’ His candidate carried that precinct over mine by two to one.”

Fruits of reform. “Ten years ago the Board of Education had 39,451 employees,” notes Patrick J. Keleher Jr. of TEACH America, which supports educational choice. “Now it has 45,418 employees–a 15 percent increase–despite a 30 percent drop in student enrollment.ÉWe now have one Board employee for every nine schoolchildren. In the 1950s it was one for every eighteen.”

“Measuring the quality of life in American cities solely by the amount of new construction, the number of new middle-class residents, or the growth of service jobs ignores the negative consequences of urban restructuring,” write Wim Wiewel of UIC and Philip Nyden of Loyola in their new book Challenging Uneven Development: An Urban Agenda for the 1990s. “Implicit in this pro-growth ideology is an acceptance of uneven development –an acceptance that there will be winners and losers, that some people will benefit while others will not.ÉThose who have accepted this mind set criticize as obstructionist or backward any policy proposals that promote more even development, [or] any civic organizations that question unfettered growth…This volume…is oriented to those who, unlike the actors in the growth coalition, do not define the city merely as a place to manipulate for personal profit. Rather, it is oriented to people who define the city as a place to live and work…These people are not merely treating the city as an urban high-rise stock exchange in which to invest their money with the expectation of generous returns.”

Where life is cheaper. Average sentence for “attempted first murder” in Cook County: 10 years. Average in other Illinois counties: 18 years.

“Advertisers and broadcast media don’t want to discuss it,” says one market researcher quoted in a news release from the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association, “but zapping, zipping and muting are so prevalent that broadcast advertising dollars are a poor marketing value nowadays.”

“It is safe to say that almost every current energy decision is made with inadequate information,” writes MacArthur Foundation president Adele Simmons, explaining why her group has joined with other philanthropists to start the Energy Foundation. “Energy-efficient technologies are evolving at an extremely rapid pace–so much so that even energy professionals have difficulty keeping up with the field. Factory and building managers have access to only a fraction of available information. Consumers have access to the least information of all.”

“The personality profile of the typical mass murderer–a male, socially isolated, who bears a grudge against established power and whose primitive understanding of the economic system leaves him prey to fantasies of conspiracy–nicely describes our most popular President of modern times,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (December 26-January 1). “I do not wish to insult Mr. Reagan, however, or rather I do not mean to insult only him. Think of a man outwardly sunny but secretly insecure, his resentments seethe until they explode in attacks on defenseless victims–school kids, or restaurant patrons, or (in the case of George Bush) Iraqi peasants cowering in ditches.”

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