“When someone is having a heart attack, he doesn’t want to shop around,” Dr. Quentin Young of Chicago’s Health and Medicine Policy Research Group tells Chicago Enterprise (October 1990). And that’s why the government’s attempt to control health-care costs through the marketplace hasn’t worked out so well. The heart-attack victim, Young notes, “wants to be treated and cured now and he doesn’t care what it costs.”

Redundant Brontosaurus Award: to Chicago election commissioner Raymond Jagielski, who describes precinct registration day as a “dinosaur whose time has passed.”

“For the past year or so, Bush and the right-wing establishment have been looking for a way to get rid of the ‘peace dividend’ other than implementing the social programs the American public has been asking for,” writes Chicago attorney Marian Henriquez Neudel in the New Patriot (November-December 1990). “So first they tried the ‘war on drugs.’ It seemed to meet all the requirements. Like the Cold War, it could absorb endless amounts of money without producing any measurable results. By the same token if it got to be too much of a drag, we could always declare a victory and pull out, and nobody would be able to tell the difference. But too many of the top brass in the war on drugs were actually starting to either point the finger at the behavior of respectable middle- and upper-class Americans, or even advocate a negotiated pullout by way of legalization. So our next step was Panama. [But] Panama was just plain too small to be taken seriously….This time, Bush actually seems to have hit pay dirt…. Given that the Middle East has been the scene of several different wars at any given moment for the past 3000 years, there is no danger that peace could break out and spoil everything. The original Crusades, after all, lasted four hundred years, on and off. For those purposes, the Middle East is even better than a land war in Asia.”

Chicago winners from the first grants given by the Great Lakes Protection Fund on South LaSalle are the Lake Michigan Federation ($50,000 for pilot cleanups of the Milwaukee River and Indiana Harbor) and WTTW ($40,000 for a Great Lakes television consortium to produce programs on Great Lakes environmental issues).

Just what you suspected all along. From the General Accounting Office’s September 1990 report on recruitment, retention, and inadequate pay in federal jobs: “The Chicago IRS reported in a 1987 clerical special rate request that, because of the lack of qualified candidates, it had often hired ‘any warm body’ just to get some work done.”

“Compared to last year, how is CTA service?” State Representative Ellis Levin asked his Near North constituents in a recent questionnaire. Their answers, as compiled by Levin’s office: 3.9 percent “Yes,” 77.9 percent “No,” and 18.2 percent undecided.

New horizons in playground harassment, from Children’s Memorial Hospital psychologist Sharon Berry: “An eight-year-old special education student was recently taunted by peers: ‘You have AIDS! You have AIDS!’ However, when interviewed, none of the children had any understanding of the new term they had discovered to harass and ridicule another child” (Tuesday’s Tales, Fall 1990).

Things an organizer can probably get along without. The Sun-Times (October 22) quotes Carl Davidson on the need for radical activists and academics to confer more often: “Some of the people fighting for tenants’ rights don’t understand post-modern deconstructionism.”

“All things considered, being a Christian Scientist is a nice way to live,” says University of Chicago pediatrician and medical ethicist Dr. John Lantos in Barrister (Fall 1990), discussing cases where parents have been prosecuted for withholding medical care from their offspring. “It’s healthy. They don’t drink or smoke or take drugs. Statistically, sure, they do fine. But when you have a sick kid having seizures, statistically he would do much better with antibiotics.”

“The best single source of information on American executions is the extensive archive in Headland, Alabama, developed and maintained by Watt Espy,” writes Michael Radelet in the Southern Coalition Report on Jails & Prison (Summer 1990). According to this archive, various American jurisdictions have executed 15,978 people since 1608–and just 30 of them were white people executed for crimes against blacks. “In other words, there has been 1 execution of a white for a crime against a black for every 533 recorded executions in American history.”

But–you never asked! According to Loyola University management professor Anne Reilly, female employees move less often than their male counterparts–but not necessarily because they don’t want to. “Our study indicates it’s because women are receiving fewer opportunities to move.”

The more things change… According to a press release from Good Counsel High School on West Peterson, “A [student] club called ‘The Flower Children’ was formed this year. It will deal with peace and justice issues, including a variety of activities.”

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