The toughest call. “Number of calls the Illinois Animal Poison Information Center received last year regarding pets swallowing marijuana: 68” (Harper’s “Index,” September 1990).
The decade we could have done without. In 1980 the average school-teacher earned $15,970 a year, while the average business CEO earned $624,996–39 times as much. By 1988 the teachers were up to $28,008, but the average CEO was “earning” $2,025,485–72 times as much (Z, July/August 1990).
Gone underground. Martin Marty of the University of Chicago divinity school warns complacent liberals that “there are not fewer fundamentalists than there were before the Pentecostalist scandals, the folding of Moral Majority tents, and the signs of corruption that came with power. They believe roughly what they always did but have slunk away from some of the frontal attacks…. The scenes of struggle in the ’90s are…school boards, library boards, church councils, zoning boards, and hospital boards…. The media are stumped; many communicators think fundamentalist-like action is disappearing simply because they do not have people named Robertson or Falwell in their cameras” (Context, August 15).
Shooting the excess deer in Lake County’s Ryerson Conservation Area is more humane than trapping and moving them, says Dan Brouillard, supervisor of conservation for the Lake County Forest Preserve District, in Natural Area Notes (July 1990). “Deer go through a lot of stress when they’re trapped. We lose about 20 percent of them.” The district began trapping deer and sending them downstate after local residents protested the killings. “Those people who oppose shooting aren’t there when the deer are trapped. They don’t see the problems, the stress these animals go through.” So their Bambi-esque illusions remain intact.
“Moving into Ukrainian Village is kind of like joining the Mafia,” writes Barry Pearce in Real Estate Profile (August 24). “If you’re not a member of the family, your chances of getting in are slim.”
Don’t mourn the Supreme Court, organize. That’s University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein’s message in the American Prospect, reprinted in New Patriot (September-October 1990). “The post-Warren Court focus on the Supreme Court has been myopic. The fate of civil rights and civil liberties in a democracy depends far more fundamentally on the character of our political and social life than on the nine justices…. If the Court asks some institution to undertake large-scale social reform–to desegregate the schools, to improve conditions in mental asylums, to provide shelter and food, to reapportion state legislatures– its effectiveness will usually be limited. Here judicial action may be necessary, but it is not sufficient; the court needs help from others…. Reliance on the courts diverts political energies and resources from democratic channels…. Martin Luther King may well have been a more important source of constitutional change than all of the Warren Court’s race decisions.”
Be less than you can be. CCCO News Notes (Spring 1990) reports on a Defense Department-sponsored study of 311 low-aptitude veterans who entered the military between 1966 and 1971: “Compared with low-aptitude non-veterans from similar demographic backgrounds, these men were found to have higher unemployment rates, significantly lower average levels of education, and average incomes that were $5,000 to $7,000 less than their non-veteran peers. They were also more likely never to have married or to have married and then divorced.”
Crime and (non)punishment. The National Safe Workplace Institute on South Michigan has issued a report blasting the feds’ prosecution priorities: “Only one employer has ever been incarcerated for safety violations that caused the death of a worker while the Justice Department has won collective jail sentences of 271 years for environmental criminals.”
Things you could never do on a typewriter. Moraine Valley Community College communications professor Tom Sullivan, commenting on a pilot venture requiring students to write papers using a computer (in the college publication Applause! Applause!): “As an instructor, this allows me to return a paper and ask a student to revise it instead of just giving out a bad grade. It also means I don’t have to compromise. For example, I no longer accept bad spelling on papers from students.”
Don’t worry, be happy. The LaSalle Financial Planner (August 1990) reminds us that the U.S. still has 621 TV sets per 1,000 residents, compared to 377 in Japan and 250 in West Germany.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.