Kill, maim, destroy with Bill and Linda. A survey of the four major local TV stations’ late newscasts from December 1989 to May 1990 (conducted by Northwestern University’s Robert Entman) reveals that Channel Nine spent the least time on crime (1,955 seconds) and Channel Two spent by far the most (4,660 seconds) (Chicago Reporter, January 1991).

Hey, let’s go out to that new Dutch restaurant! “David T. Koyzis, of Greek parentage and Reformed faith, ponders cuisines” in the Reformed Journal, writes Martin Marty in his newsletter Context (February 1). “He thought, as a child, that only Greeks ran restaurants, but in his teens learned of Italian, French, Lebanese, and Chinese establishments. ‘I never saw any restaurants specializing in Swiss, Dutch, English, or Scottish cuisines.’ Why? Koyzis’ Law says: ‘Those countries influenced by the Reformation produce unimaginative (at best) and sometimes horrific (at worst) cuisines, while those lands bypassed by the Reformation originate highly interesting and varied cuisines.'”

Propaganda for the kiddies. “The true explanation of why we have wars is so abstract, that it’s nearly impossible to explain it to a young child,” says Colonel Warren A. Todd, MD, chief of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, in the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP News (February 1991). (Hm–should that be “so abstract,” or “so preposterous”?) “With the younger ones, you might try to relate it to a bully situation. You might tell them there is this bully in a country trying to push the rest of the world around, and that people can’t get away with that type of behavior.” Except in Panama, Grenada, El Salvador…

Proportion of visits to the University of Illinois Hospital emergency room that would not have been necessary had the patients had access to medical care sooner, according to Chicago Board of Health president Whitney W. Addington: one-third (Forum, January/February 1991).

Voodoo economics, from the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in Saint Louis: “Financial industry expert Edward Kane compares insolvent S&L institutions to ‘living dead’ zombies in horror films. Professor Kane charges that ‘zombie’ S&Ls were able to survive only because they were allowed to feed off taxpayers through the government-guaranteed deposit-insurance system. Because insolvent S&Ls did not have their own money at stake, their managers were attracted to risky portfolio strategies, which eventually bid down profit margins for all depository institutions. Just like the zombies in the horror films, the living-dead S&Ls created additional zombies.”

“The very premise that Japanese companies dominate the ‘buying up’ of the U.S. is wrong,” writes Jean Ikezoe-Halevi in Chicago Journalist (January 1991). “According to the latest Department of Commerce figures the United Kingdom clearly led all other countries in acquiring American properties, spending $119 billion in 1989. Japan was a distant second with $69.7 billion, followed closely by the Netherlands’ $60.6 billion. Canada, West Germany, Switzerland and France also invested heavily.”

After the Big Six holidays–New Year’s, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas–a survey of 455 firms by the Management Association of Illinois shows that the next most popular paid holidays are Good Friday all day (observed by 67.2 percent), employee’s birthday (12.5 percent), Good Friday half day (8.3 percent), Washington’s birthday (7.1 percent), Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (4.4 percent), Veterans Day (4.2 percent), Columbus Day (2.9 percent), and Lincoln’s Birthday (0.4 percent).

The last taboo. “Political reporters, especially now, are encouraged to be sophisticated about everything” –well, almost everything, Northwestern’s Garry Wills tells Common Cause (January/February 1991). “Their editors are happy to send them off for Nieman fellowships or to do advanced study in economics, law, history, political science. But I don’t know of a single editor who’s ever encouraged a political writer to go off and learn about theology or the Bible or religious history, and yet that’s clearly relevant to our politics.”

“Illinois Issues magazine…is to Illinois political elite what Pravda used to be to the Soviet politburo,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (January 24). “Dull but authoritative, its biases perfectly mesh with those in power, which means its articles are as revealing in what they assume as in what they report. In the January issue for example Charles Wheeler III, the veteran reporter who runs the Chicago Sun-Times’ Statehouse bureau, avers that the state is under ‘tight fiscal constraints.’ This, like much Statehouse wisdom, is true without being quite accurate. The state is not smack up against constitutional limits on its taxing power, as its municipalities used to be chronically. The constraints on its revenues are political rather than fiscal.”

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