A microsurvey of Great Lakes microbreweries. Best Name: Burning River Ale (Cleveland), named for the once-flammable Cuyahoga River. Best Label: Kalamazoo’s Third Coast Beer, with 20 different segments of the state’s Great Lakes coastline (collect all 20!). Best Taste, according to Noah Eiger in the Great Lakes Reporter (May-June): Legacy Lager (Chicago) and Eisbock (Niagara Falls, Ontario).

Beverage outing. Of the 150 pounds of cans collected by the 48th Ward GLC during the Gay Pride Parade, “one out of every four cans was Miller Lite (in the alcoholic beverage category),” and Pepsi was the most popular nonalcoholic drink.

“Since the white-owned media has displayed very little interest in showcasing the serious allegations of police torture, most white Chicagoans are unaware of the issue and how their city is being internationally tarnished,” writes Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (July 10-23). Jennifer Modell of the Task Force to Confront Police Violence “says that while she thought the Amnesty [International] report would attract media attention to the issue, she now realizes she underestimated the power of the administration of Richard M. Daley to keep the lid on. Daley was serving as the Cook County state’s attorney when substantial evidence was uncovered that [Jon] Burge and his detectives tortured criminal suspects–evidence he refused to investigate.”

“Measles is the tip of the vaccine iceberg and vaccine status is the tip of the children’s health status iceberg,” said American Academy of Pediatrics vice president Daniel Shea in a Chicago speech July 23. More children died of measles in 1990 than in any other year since 1971; hit hardest were inner-city toddlers in Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles. This got the attention of President Bush, who recommended raising federal immunization funds from $217 million to $257 million, but Shea says $336 million is needed. In any case, Shea said, measles, though deadly, are only a symptom of “a compromised health-care delivery system.”

Why affordable housing is bad for you, according to Peter F. Colwell and Joseph W. Trefzger in ORER Letter, published by the University of Illinois’ Office of Real Estate Research (Spring): “Far from reflecting social problems, higher housing prices are among the most effective signals in redirecting human migration. For example, California is seen as a very desirable place to live; the economy is stable and diversified, and the natural and man-made environments are attractive. If subsidies held prices in check, even more people would try to move to our most populous state (and fewer young Californians would move to less congested areas).”

The Mell redistricting formula, according to a quote from the 33rd Ward alderman in the Ethics Observer (Summer): “The way we should do it, the easiest way and the fairest way, is to start at the first ward and draw a square with 56,000 people and on top of that draw another square and so forth. But all my colleagues say, ‘No, we can’t do that. That’s the last thing we want to do.’… I remember from the last redistricting in 1983, I saw colleagues of mine fighting over two-flats. One wanted half of a two-flat in his ward, another wanted the other half in his ward. Unfortunately that’s how parochial you get.”

Statistics to smile over, from Harper’s “Index” (July): “Number of U.S. households that watched NBC each week in 1979, when the network was in last place: 13,300,000. Number that watch NBC today, when the network is in first place: 11,800,000.”

“The U.S. media have studiously avoided covering disability rights issues for years,” writes Mary Johnson in Extra! (May/June), “in favor of the soft but ever-popular story of the courageous individual who hasn’t let disability slow her down. (For the press, disabled people are either tragic, hopeless cases constantly bemoaning their fate, or incredibly brave, courageous and inspiring. For this reason, people with disabilities are almost invariably described as ‘overcoming’ their disability or are ‘afflicted by’ or ‘suffering from’ it.) Publishers love these stories because they sell. …Such sugarcoated stories have received play at the expense of news stories about conditions disabled people face in this country: rampant job discrimination; the widespread failure of local and state governments to enforce laws requiring new buildings to be accessible; the failure of Medicare or Medicaid to support disabled people who want to stay out of nursing homes; the difficulties the disabled face in long-distance travel because airlines ignore a 1986 law requiring planes to be accessible.”

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