Supply and demand. Good news: the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois acquired 341 kidneys for transplantation during 1991, up from 299 in 1990. Bad news: ROBI’s waiting list for kidneys also grew, from 777 on January 1, 1991, to 808 a year later.

“According to the Trib, House Speaker Mike Madigan has taken to slandering [Charleston native] Jim Edgar with this sneer: ‘The governor is now living in the largest city of his life,'” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (January 6-12). But “the only thing ‘big city’ about Madigan’s neighborhood…is that it is near one. (Madigan’s neighborhood could be described as a Charleston with potholes.) The Edgars of our small towns know there is a wider world, and if they are brave enough will seek it out; the Madigans smugly conclude that they’re living in that wider world, and so never go looking.”

Serves ’em right. According to David Moberg in In These Times (February 5-11), “Greece, New York, officials rejected a Komatsu Dresser Co. dirt mover in favor of a more expensive John Deere & Co. machine. Then they discovered the Komatsu dirt movers are made in the U.S., while the Deere gear is made in Japan with an Iowa motor.”

No more Sports Illustrated? “It will be hard to push science with your kids if you’re not interested in it,” Chicago Academy of Sciences vice president Jon Miller tells Susan Spaeth Cherry in Chicago Parent (December). “It’s one thing to tell children they ought to be interested in science and math, but if you spend all your time reading beauty or football magazines, you won’t be setting much of an example.”

“I talk to the men in the evening. I often give them my lecture on socks,” outreach worker Otis Thomas of Residents for Emergency Shelter on the north side tells Marya Smith in Salt (February)–“how when you walk a lot, it’s important to change your socks every night. I show them how to use our washing machine and dryer. I talk about how to survive in the winter, where to get clothes to dress in layers, who’s open for a meal, how a 55-cent jar of Vaseline can go a long way to prevent frostbite. I take my shoes off and show them how to put plastic bags over their feet to keep them dry.”

“The custom Lincoln is impressive,” writes Mark Burrell of Frank Lloyd Wright’s customized red 1940 Lincoln Continental (Inland Architect, January/February). “Without a back window, the car looks ominous, the semicircular [side] windows are jarring, and the lowered body and chopped windshield predict the ’50s Custom Car trend of post-war America. Like Wright’s buildings, the car’s design is original, exciting, and prophetic, even if, like some of the structures, it leaked.”

“The way women escape poverty, for the most part, is by getting married,” says Donna Franklin of the University of Chicago, who is researching how to break the multigenerational cycle of poverty in female-headed black families. “We used to think staying in school was the answer. But it’s a spouse’s income, more than an education, that helps these women escape poverty.” According to the U. of C. Chronicle (January 23), Franklin’s studies show “that black mothers in poverty who are or have been married, even for short periods, do better financially than poor black mothers who never marry.”

From one teacher’s school-reform diary, published in Catalyst (February): “Sept. 19. LSC meeting. The athletic coach asks the council for assistance to purchase from suburban schools used equipment for which regular board funds cannot be used. The state says the team cannot play unless each player has a certified helmet. At present only one out of seven players has one. The principal and coach have paid for the team’s practice pants, bought used, out of their own pockets.”

Project Censored, one more time. “Whatever the dangers the planet may face in the 1990s, on one score the 1980s have demonstrated that our fears were overblown: The predicted scarcity of material resources as a result of increasing population and increased industrial activity did not occur,” writes Stephen Moore in the Public Interest (Winter 1992). “Since 1980 the price of virtually every source of energy, every agricultural commodity, every one of the earth’s minerals, and every forest product has declined. This finding contradicts all of the frightening predictions of impending resource shortages issued in the 1960s and 1970s…. The media have remained strangely silent on these benign trends.”

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