Gee, I still can’t get it into first gear. Letters we never finished: “Dear Editor, Enclosed please find a column on bringing life back to an old car by adding new loudspeakers.”

“She is a very appealing candidate: non-threatening and articulate and well-versed in the ways of the white world, but she still has the sense of being in touch with regular black folks”–that’s community organizer Lu Palmer on would-be U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, quoted by Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (April 15-21). “Surprisingly,” adds Muwakkil, “Braun has been able to retain the favor of people like Palmer–whose views can be characterized as militantly black nationalist–even while operating within the political mainstream. And it’s even more unusual for a black woman with avowed feminist sympathies to attract the support of black nationalists….Braun’s odd coalition will have to stick together if she is to have any chance of defeating Republican Richard Williamson in the November general election. And, according to one political operative familiar with Chicago black politics, such a feat is becoming more difficult. ‘There currently is a struggle going on for the soul of Braun’s campaign,’ he said. ‘The Democratic Party’s upper echelon have realized that a lot is at stake here, and they don’t want to blow it by letting political passions obscure the need for political calculations. But grass-roots passion is what brought Carol to the party.'”

Sixth City. According to the National Association of Local Arts Agencies, the U.S. cities that spent the most on local arts agencies in fiscal 1991 were New York ($87 million), Los Angeles ($8.7 million), Minneapolis ($8.5 million), Dallas ($8.2 million), San Diego ($6.6 million)–and Chicago ($5.5 million) (U.S. General Accounting Office, Arts Funding, December).

Pluralism = I am good and you are Hitler. South End Press offers two blurbs in support of its new collection of essays The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance–one from a history professor who recommends it to “those who wish to know the merits of expanding our basically Eurocentric curriculum to a more pluralistic, inclusive one,” the other from its editor, who says the book will help liberate North America “from the grip of its nazi heritage.”

“The argument [over school funding] always comes back to the question does money make a difference,” says Margaret Goertz in the Educational Testing Service’s newsletter ETS Developments (Winter). “Any time you try to give money to the poor school districts, wealthy communities will say ‘No, money doesn’t make a difference.’ But if you try to take that money away from the wealthy districts to give to the poorer ones, all of a sudden, money makes a great deal of difference.”

“The crime situation [in Bucktown and Wicker Park] is better than it was”–depending on who you ask, writes Ed Zotti in Chicago Enterprise (April). “A longtime observer of the area says that over the past 18 months or so, he’s noticed unescorted women on the street after dark–his canary-in-a-coal-mine test for urban safety. One resident optimistically notes that it’s been a couple of years since he’s seen kids on the street with drawn guns; his wife, ever the realist, points out that in that time, their block has had two car bombings.”

Them that has, gets–but they also don’t throw it away. Average spent per week on the state lottery by those households (69 percent) buying lottery tickets: West side– $4.62. Du Page County–$1.58 (Metro Chicago Information Center).

Bad news for Cubs fans. “[Professional baseball players’] performance decreases fairly substantially beginning with the first year of a 100 percent or more pay raise,” according to Northern Illinois University experimental psychologist Alan Repp, who coauthored a recent study of such players in 1988, 1989, and 1990. “We also found that general managers are very poor decision-makers [in that they award] contracts for past rather than for present performance.”

World’s Most Oblivious Newspaper. According to a survey published in Extra! (April/May), the Chicago Tribune devoted 1.35 percent of its stories in 1991 to the environment, placing 28th out of 33 major dailies surveyed–behind such luminaries as the Richmond News/Times-Dispatch, the Sacramento Bee, and the Fort Lauderdale News/Sun-Sentinel.

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