Triple whammy. From Greenpeace (January/February 1989): “Percentage of productive hours worked by women: 47. Percentage of world’s wages earned by women: 10. Percentage of world’s property owned by women: 1.”

“Anatomically and botanically correct state symbols” are portrayed on T-shirts ($7) and sweatshirts ($15) being sold by the state Depart-ment of Conservation. Before you send off your money, be advised that the anatomies in question are those of the violet, white oak, monarch butterfly, and bluegill.

“It’s getting harder to find the ‘public’ in public TV,” writes Pat Aufderheide in Extra! (November/ December 1988). Public TV stations seem to share the wide-spread notion that labor is a special interest, while business is not. “Kartemquin Films recently completed Child Care Crisis: Union Solutions, in conjunction with [the AFL-CIO’s Labor Institute for Public Affairs]. In Chicago, public station WTTW refused to air it, saying it wasn’t objective enough. Hank Scheff of AFSCME Council 31 sharply replied to WTTW’s vice president for programming: ‘You run weekly programs produced or sponsored by business concerning business issues. Your political talk shows feature prominent spokesmen for the conservative viewpoint….The role of public television should be to showcase a spectrum of viewpoints.’ WTTW hasn’t changed its decision.”

“I get a kid in my building with a .357 magnum, a special-education kid, seventeen years old, six foot two; the gun’s fully loaded,” Roberto Clemente High School principal Manny Sosa tells the Chicago Times (January/February 1989). “We take it away from him, he doesn’t resist. He brought it to school to sell it, he says…. I have eight hundred new freshmen enter my school every year. I graduate four hundred kids a year. That’s ridiculous. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they don’t feel safe.”

One of the two high-quality tallgrass savannas left in the world has been discovered in Lake County, reports the Chicago office of the Nature Conservancy. The 800-acre Middle Fork Savanna–not a prairie despite some superficial similarities–contains two rare plants, the white fringed orchid and the pale vetchling, as well as a heretofore unknown species of jumping spider. “Illinois’ early settlers made their homes in the savannas,” says the Conservancy, “because of their park-like beauty, shady trees and rich soils. As a result most savannas were destroyed by the 1850’s. Until recently scientists thought that this ecosystem was ‘lost,’ that is that no good example still survived.” The other known survivor is in Canada.

“Nearly 60% of the total U.S. office market is in the suburbs,” reports Builder (December 1988), “up from 45% in 1979.”

“Barnyard animals in Sweden have more rights than gays in America,” says U. of I. philosophy professor Richard D. Mohr, author of Gays/Justice. “Society has to have some core values by which it identifies itself to itself, and it has decided that its standard form and standard-bearer will be heterosexuality. So I guess, for gays, it’s 1857, and the Civil War isn’t coming.” And the correct political strategy for now? “Not to assimilate, not to compromise, but to be assertive, and in that very assertiveness to manifest dignity.”

Illinois graduated 136,000 students from high school in 1980, and only 110,000 in 1987, reports labor economist Paul T. Hartman in 1989 Illinois Economic Outlook–a decline from 4.9 to 4.6 percent of the U.S. total. “Although part of the decrease is due to shrinking school enrollment…there was an additional drop in the Illinois graduation rate relative to the nation, reflecting failure to retain and graduate enough students.” Perhaps not coincidentally, the proportion of the state budget devoted to education under Governor-for-Life James Thompson has dropped from 43 percent to 37 percent in the past ten years.

“Spoilers and Luddites will no doubt protest that the $3 billion or so it will take to put the [human] genome down on paper might be better applied to figuring out a way to grow rain forests on the Bikini atoll, or move the ozone layer from Los Angeles back up to the stratosphere, or something truly mundane like finding a cure for AIDS,” writes Barbara Ehrenreich in Mother Jones (January 1989). “The spoilers forget that, from the point of view of the pharmaceutical industry, the AIDS problem has already been solved. After all, we already have a drug that can be sold at the incredible price of $8,000 an annual dose, and which has the added virtue of not diminishing the market by actually curing anyone.”

BYOB–bring your own box, that is. That’s what the Open Lands Project advises gardeners to do if they’re making late stops this Saturday at designated city parks where Christmas trees are being shredded. Gardeners can use the remains for garden mulch next summer.

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