A metaphor any profession would love. Alaistair Gordon in Greenkeeping (May/June): “So far no Gropius of green has emerged from the architectural compost heap.”

Where violence is not news. “The summer after my stepson was shot, I taught a class [at Harold Washington College] that ended at 9 p.m.,” writes Robin Herndobler in In These Times (May 13-19). “It was a good group, and we often ran over until, one night, a young woman asked if we could end at the hour. She had a long way to go and feared for her safety. Thereafter, we finished at 9. When I reminded my students to make sure no woman went home alone, one young black man asked, ‘What about us? We might not make it home either.’ I looked at him, at the six young black men sitting together, and my heart sank. I didn’t know how to suggest they get home without being shot.”

Illinois county with the smallest share of the state’s 58,953 registered lawyers: Pope County, with 3, according to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. (Cook has 33,716.)

Dilemmas of the Earth Summit, according to the Brazil Press Information Center newsletter (April 28): “Rio expects to host 44 presidents and there are only 13 presidential suites among the 12 Five-Star hotels on Copacabana Beach. To solve this dilemma, some less luxurious suites are being upgraded to preferred status. Rather than calling these ‘Presidential,’ they are being renamed to reflect the ecological theme….[President Bush] may stay at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia [about 600 miles away] and fly to the conference. Or he can set up camp an hour away at the ecological resort, Club Med’s Village Rio das Pedras, and commute by helicopter.” Let him stay in the Rain Forest Crunch Suite and commute by bicycle.

Political harassment? Sure, city treasurer Miriam Santos tells Today’s Chicago Woman (May): “What else do you call it when you’re an elected official who in theory reports to the taxpayers and yet gets called in by Daley aides Tim Degnan and Frank Kruesi and ordered–ordered, not even asked–to hire someone with no background or experience to work in your office? And then if you don’t go along, well, ‘We’re gonna beat you up a little more until you do.’….I was embattled for two years. I felt like the Lone Ranger. I’d try to hire someone, and the paperwork would get lost. One employee I did hire didn’t get paid for five months. I had to fight to get computers, in the treasurer’s office, of all places! I had to fight to get pens and pencils. One time, I couldn’t get paper clips, and I called a friend of mine and asked, ‘Can your company donate a case of paper clips?'”

“The important aspect of the Sixties to understand is that the heroes were mostly people you never heard of,” explains Noam Chomsky in Rolling Stone (May 28): “the Freedom Riders, the SNCC workers, the guys who were down there week after week getting their heads bashed in for organizing. In the Vietnam [antiwar] movement there was never any illusion about leadership. The leadership was whoever showed up. We’re not allowed to understand that now. We are meant to think of popular movements as things that grow out of individual leadership and individual charisma…[because this] disempowers people. It makes them think they can’t do anything for themselves.”

In 1979 one of seven Illinois children (477,633 total) lived in an impoverished household. In 1989 one of five (589,542) did. That’s the gist of research by Patricia Simpson, professor at the U. of I.’s Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations. According to a press release, Simpson identified two main causes for this deteriorating situation: federal policies (“programs designed to aid children…have not kept pace with inflation and were cut back starting with the Reagan administration”) and family structure (“families headed by females are more likely to be poor–regardless of race–than families with two parents”).

If they can break the rules for six acres in northern Michigan, imagine what they’ll try when they get to Lake Calumet. On May 8 the Lake Michigan Federation denounced the U.S. EPA for overriding its Chicago regional office in order to approve the filling of six acres of wetlands for a golf course in Leelanau County as “just one more example of the current Administration’s wholesale sellout of water quality and wetlands protection to short-sighted development interests.”

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