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Cooperstown on the lake. Museum of Broadcast Communications founder and president Bruce DuMont on its inclusion of the Radio Hall of Fame: “What Cooperstown is to baseball and what Nashville is to country music, Chicago will be to radio.”

“While the governmental bureaucrats of Eastern Europe have long since disappeared or been jailed, ours are still firmly entrenched,” writes Michael J. Fahy, chairman of Lane Tech High School’s embattled Local School Council, in Catalyst (October). “Somewhere students are enjoying new learning experiences, and discovering newfound freedoms; but for the students of Lane Tech and Tiananmen Square, openness and reform are still the stuff of dreams.”

Ever wondered why Des Plaines is lily-white? The Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities found out when it sent four black and four white “testers” to the moderate-rent Colonial Park apartment complex there. According to LCMOC News (Fall), “All the black renters were turned down when they sought apartment leases, while all the white testers were offered leases.” A federal lawsuit is pending.

The best example of modern myth, according to U. of I. classics professor Douglas Olson, is Santa Claus. According to a recent university release, “Among other things, the myth can be taken to assert that white males are the norm in our society, all others divergences from it; that the world is a patriarchal structure where women, like Mrs. Claus, are essentially useless; and that in a consumerist, capitalist society there are no discontented workers, no worthless products, no greedy owners and no instances of unfair distribution of wealth.” And a politically correct Merry Christmas to you too.

“Although there were [state] budget cuts, there was a lot more talk about budget cuts than there were actual cuts,” writes Michael D. Klemens in the Budget Watch Reporter (September). “The fiscal year 1992 budget that lawmakers passed and Edgar signed raised spending authority (appropriations) $1.58 billion from fiscal year 1991. Appropriations for the Department of Public Aid increased $1.71 billion, nearly all for health care; appropriations for education increased $86.9 million. Lawmakers declared education the winner and went home.”

I tell you, this writing business is getting to be just like assembly-line work. The National Writers Union has voted to affiliate with the United Auto Workers. According to labor reporter Laura McClure, the writers get money for an organizing staff; the auto workers get a chance to organize a nontraditional constituency. They may also get some nice PR, since the NWU agreed “to contribute its skills to benefit the UAW and the labor movement.”

“The customary hundred-day ‘honeymoon’ was not to be,” recalls Grayson Mitchell of Harold Washington’s 1983 start as mayor (N’Digo, October). “The next morning after the euphoric inauguration at Navy Pier, when the new mayor entered his City Hall office to begin his first day on the job, the scene that greeted him there on the Fifth Floor hardly exuded warm welcome. As if hit by powerful hurricane winds, the office was virtually bare, except for desks and chairs. Empty file drawers stood agape, typewriters were missing from pedestals and expensive paintings had been removed from the walls, as was even the rug from the floor. Not a scrap of paper or friendly face was to be found.”

King George I. Number of servants accompanying Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth to the U.S. this spring: 41. Minimum number of staffers accompanying President and Mrs. Bush abroad: 125 (Cato Policy Report, September-October, quoting Parade, June 16).

The two cultures. Attorney Pat Logue of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest recalls her previous job at Jenner & Block in the BPI Newsletter (Fall): “I was fortunate to practice at a firm more committed than most to pro bono work…[including] generous helpings of employment discrimination and criminal appellate work. While some friends questioned how I could live with myself representing corporate America, others wondered how I could live with myself representing convicted murderers, burglars and methadone patients who had lost their jobs.”

From patronage to paralysis. “Older managers, who have [worked for the City of Chicago] for 25 years or longer, remember the days when doorbell-ringing often was the only qualification for a city job and when their jobs as managers were to reward the doorbell ringers. From their vantage point, today’s system is vastly improved. Newer managers no longer reward employees for political work; however, they complain that they cannot reward workers for anything, especially for a job well done” (Excellence in Public Service: Chicago’s Challenge for the ’90s).

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