Don’t read this at lunchtime. From the U.S. General Accounting Office Reports and Testimony (July 1990): “FDA and USDA inspectors do not test trucks for bacterial or chemical residues that may remain in a vehicle after it has hauled garbage because the test would be too costly, complex, and time-consuming and because they have found no instances of contamination from cross-hauling. If a truck looks, smells, and feels clean, inspectors consider it safe for food transport.” Now how am I gonna convince my kids to wash their hands?

When enough is enough. “Though he didn’t like it, Pride Container Corporation President Richard Sharfstein had almost gotten used to stepping around abandoned cars to get to his Palmer St. plant,” writes Deborah Smith in Greater North-Pulaski Business Times (July/ August 1990). “But discovering an abandoned boat in an adjacent alley was the last straw.”

Except free speech, Henry. Right-wing suburban congressman Henry Hyde roused the rabble August 28 at the American Legion convention by describing the controversy over flag burning as a war between “Those who love our country, love what it stands for” and “those who despise America, despise every traditional ideal that has made America unique in the history of the world” (American Legion News Service, September 17).

The incredible expanding shrinking airline. Press release, September 28: “Midway Airlines today announced that it has commenced a phased reduction of approximately 10 percent of its workforce….necessitated by escalating fuel costs.” Press release, October 1: “Effective today, Midway Airlines adds two destinations from its base of operations at Midway Airport…. ‘We…will continue to expand so that we remain the airline of choice,’ [senior vice president John P.] Tague said.”

Dispatches from the Gulf (between image and reality). “Once, defense contracts were a way of defending the citizens in military engagements,” writes the editor of the 48th Ward Progressive Network News (September 1990). “This military engagement looks like an attempt to defend the military contracts against the citizens. (For the record, our defense budget is $300 billion. Iraq’s GNP– which measures all purchases, private and governmental–is under $40 billion.)”

“The people buried here had no qualms about displaying their dead,” Dickson Mounds anthropology curator Alan Harn tells the Galesburg-based Zephyr (September 20), commenting on some activists’ urging that the prehistoric burials displayed at downstate Dickson Mounds be covered up again. “Twenty percent of the sites I’ve studied were disturbed by later grave diggers. They merely pushed the remains aside or threw the bones down the hillside. There was no sense of preserving bones as bones…. From a scientific standpoint, if I had seen great care and respect shown for bones, I would think that these should be returned to the earth. But in light of prehistory, I think it’s fair to say that Dickson Mounds is doing a better job of caring for the dead than the Indians ever did.”

Meat = patriarchy? Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, quoted in the Animals’ Agenda (October 1990): “I looked at records of women battered by men, and I found that over and over again women were battered right after serving a meal in which there was no meat.” Could be. Of course, the vegetarian line used to be that the eating of meat provoked aggression.

“Every new carpool removes at least one car from the roads and every new vanpool removes up to 14 vehicles,” according to the Chicago Area Transportation Study. “While this may seem insignificant, if the average auto occupancy rate of 1.2 persons per car could be raised to 1.3, over 100,000 fewer cars would clog our highways during the morning rush hour.”

When is abuse not abuse? When the participants are of a higher social class, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in Elk Grove Village. “Poor families, black and hispanic families, non-English speaking families, and socially-marginal families are disproportionately susceptible to having the label ‘abuse’ attached to behavior in their households. Mainstream families, well-to-do families, and families of professionals and academics find that injuries to their children are frequently classified as accidents.”

Dept. of mild understatement, from people trying to sell a hair restorer: “We have proof now that there’s a slight negative bias associated with balding in our society. For the most part, it’s unconscious. Although it’s not as strong as sexism or racism…”

C’mon–let’s drop everything and go spend the weekend in Monmouth! Among the $400,000 in state-tourism matching grants for the first quarter of fiscal 1991: $305.34 to print 15,000 brochures promoting downstate Monmouth as the birthplace of Wyatt Earp.

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