Headline that would have quite a different meaning if it had appeared in a newsletter for salespeople, rather than in the newsletter of the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness (Visionary, Fall 1989): “Sleeping with contacts a no-no.”

Birds without brains, turtles without tails, and other more gruesome birth defects in Great Lakes wildlife are still appearing, even as the concentrations of some chemical pollutants level off, reports Rebecca Leighton in Lake Michigan Monitor (Fall 1989). She concludes that “subtle toxic effects…such as reproductive, immune system and behavioral abnormalities from long-term chronic exposure may continue (and thus threaten human health) until all sources of these substances are cut off.”

Drug wars: carefully selecting the enemy. “All of those [drug-enforcement] television documentaries show poor Blacks, whites, and Latinos spread-eagle across every possible surface. How many money-laundering bankers have we seen handcuffed on such shows?” growls William J. Leahy in Leahy’s Corner (December 1989). “How did drug rings start in poor communities? Where did the capital come from? When the federal government convicted Chicago policemen of letting drug sellers operate on the West Side, why weren’t the suburban white buyers charged? Is it cost effective from a law-enforcement viewpoint to run investigations in low-density, poor neighborhoods? Certainly every high-rise apartment and office building in Chicago has sellers and users. Why not carry out raids in buildings like Doral Plaza or the Standard Oil Building with cameras in tow? Why not hogtie the white secretary of a CEO and watch her wiggle on the floor…”

“There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing,” wrote law professor Fred Rodell 50 years ago, quoted in the Chicago-based Student Lawyer (January 1990). “One is its style. The other is its content.”

Why religious traditionalists don’t care for history. “Beginning with the New Testament…until the mid-19th century, slavery was justified as a morally acceptable expression of the divine will for human relations. Can anyone today doubt that such a long-established tradition was sinfully erroneous?” writes Garrett Theological Seminary professor Rosemary Radford Ruether from Evanston (Witness, April 1989). “Religious and racial animosity toward Jews has been accepted among Christians for an even longer period. Significant questioning of these views only began after the Holocaust of 1942-45…The history of sexism in the church parallels these forms of discrimination….Is it not likely that the exclusion of women from ordination reflects a similar history of error for which the churches have only begun to repent?”

Headlines that stopped us cold. From Men’s Health (January 1990): “Who Has the Most Testosterone: Doctors? Football Players? Actors?”

How to silence your neighborhood antitax freak. U. of I. economist Case Sprenkle writes in Illinois Business Review (December 1989), “Other than contributions to social security, total taxes collected by federal, state, and local governments as a percentage of GNP were 23.0 percent in 1960, 24.1 percent in 1970, 23.1 percent in 1980, and 23.0 percent in 1988”–exactly the same percentage as 28 years earlier. Information like this, says Sprenkle, will “increase your chances of becoming the most unpopular guest at the fewer and fewer parties to which you are invited.”

Only the good news, please. The Illinois Energy Newsletter, published by the UIC Energy Resources Center, devoted half of its December front page to Governor Thompson’s three new appointees to the Illinois Commerce Commis-sion–and failed to mention that consumer advocates strongly criticized two of the three for inexperience and a pro-utility bias.

History up to date. Among the items on the Illinois State Museum’s “wish list” for its exhibit on the history of home life in the heartland, set to open in 1991: a 1720 French crucifix, 1832 metal churn, 1863 carpet beater, 1893 and 1933 Chicago world’s fair souvenirs, 1926 Victrola, 1955 home movie camera, 1975 fondue pot, 1988 Bon Jovi cassette, and 1988 Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt.

Unaffirmative action. Ronald Tabak of the American Bar Association, quoted in the Chicago-based Human Rights (Winter 1989-90): “In state after state, statistical analysis reveals that the killer of a white is nearly three times more likely to receive the death penalty than the killer of a black in the 22 states where the death penalty has been imposed.”

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