Trouble: “Federal funds to be spent this year on lead-lined trucks to house the administration during nuclear attack: $58,000,000.” Real trouble: “Amount the President proposes to spend on this program next year: $85,000,000” (Harper’s “Index,” August 1990).
Books the Illinois State Historical Society is sending to Poland as part of the “Books From the Heartland” drive include: Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848; The Laws of Indiana Territory, 1801-1809; and An Icarian Communist in Nauvoo.
Take two aspirin and call me when you’re almost dead. Laurie Abraham writes in the Chicago Reporter (July/August 1990), “Cora Jackson, who lived poor, died with most all the sophisticated medical care money could buy. As the cumulative effects of a stroke, diabetes and congestive heart failure consumed her body, medical technology did its best to stave off her death. But the irony is that…she spent most of her earlier years struggling to get decent and dignified care…. For about a third of the $150,000 that went to Mrs. Jackson in her last year of life, Mount Sinai could have started a diabetic foot clinic to aggressively prevent amputations in severe diabetics like her. The hospital applied for a $54,000 foundation grant for that purpose in 1984 but was rejected.”
“The curiously modern social practice of hiding behind one’s children” is what Windy City Times columnist Paul Varnell sees in the controversy over CTA posters by Art Against AIDS that show same-sex and different-sex couples kissing (July 5). Would-be censors claimed the ads might “entice children to a particular [i.e., gay] life-style.” A bemused Varnell reflects, “Thus while adults just maybe are beyond the range of enticement, children–pure, innocent, naive, little tabula rasa rascals that they are–are infinitely malleable. Despite heterosexual upbringing, heavy peer pressure, massively heterosexual mass media (e.g., MTV), a picture or two of a gay couple kissing can undo it all in the flick of a tongue…. If so, it is amazing that there are any heterosexuals left at all.”
Nostalgia for the Loop. “Yuppies, DINKs [double income, no kids], empty nesters, divorcees, singles” are the people developer Stanley Lieberman expects to live in the 88 condos and 63 town houses planned for northwest suburban Buffalo Grove’s new downtown. Many of them, he tells Planning (July 1990), are “people who would like to live in the city but who have to work in the suburbs.”
“The band, 2 Live Crew, tried to deal with the obscenity problem upfront,” according to the Eardrum, newsletter of the Engineering and Recording Society of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (June 1990). “They voluntarily put warning stickers on the album. They also released a ‘clean’ version of the record at the same time. But now it seems that those gestures aren’t good enough for the right-wing, fundamentalist district attorneys who cover the Old South like cicadas on elm trees. All during their tour through the Bible Belt, the band was harassed by police and politicians…. Record store owners are being arrested for selling the album to ADULTS! Police in Arizona are ‘warning’ stores that the record may be ruled obscene in the future, implying that it should be taken off the shelves before any due process of law…. I would hate to see what would happen if a gay black rapper burned an American flag at an art exhibit in Cincinnati.”
Things they don’t teach in journalism school. An anonymous interviewer in Humanities (Spring 1990), publication of the Illinois Humanities Council: “I was one of a small group of people who chose the names of representative Illinois authors to be carved in stone at the top of the new state library being built in Springfield…. We began getting calls after the names began to appear in stone. It’s hard to believe, but some of the reporters asked, ‘Why Lincoln?'”
“IDNS [Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety] never saw us as anything other than a bunch of hayseeds who would swallow their glib promises and smiles,” says Michael Podolsky–a petroleum engineer, nuclear-power supporter, and downstate Wayne County resident –describing the Thompson administration’s bungled attempts to locate a dump for “low level” radioactive waste in the county. “IDNS thought that a lousy site, 20 miles of secondary roads hauling all Commonwealth Edison Company’s radioactive trash through the length of Fairfield for the next 50 years, unilateral design changes, shallow aquifers, and a whole host of problems could simply be ‘disappeared’ from our vision by sprinkling the magic dust of dollars on our bowed little heads. They tried to market their nuclear waste facility like sugared cereal to children. They brought in $1,000/day consultants to smoke out local opponents, and then slander and intimidate and threaten them. They created dignitaries out of dump supporters, who were once only our neighbors, our plumbers, our body-shop repairmen…. The fundamental problem has been that political expediency has overruled common sense and good science” (March 1990 hearing testimony, quoted in NEIS News, Spring 1990).
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.