Rubbing it in. The Wisconsin Electric Power Company recently held a media-briefing session to explain why it just had its seventh rate decrease in five years.

The year of creeping nounism. Effective New Year’s Day, the National Association to Aid Fat Americans renamed itself the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance.

“I’m consistently impressed by how dangerous people are who want to serve others,” writes Northwestern University’s John McKnight in The Other Side (January/February 1989). “The service ideology and its systems don’t work….they constantly steal money from people who are poor. At the center where I work, we’ve added up how much money the four levels of government–federal, state, county, and city–specifically target for low-income people in Cook County. It adds up to about $6,000 for every person with an income below the poverty line. (That figure is low; not everyone below the line participates in low-income programs.) For a mother with three children, that’s the equivalent of $24,000. Three years ago the median income in Cook County was $23,000.” So why is there still poverty in Cook County? Because 63 percent of that $24,000 came as services, not income. “If you’re a family of four, that means your servants walked away with over $15,000 of the money appropriated for you while you got less than $9,000. Bureaucracy is not the problem. (Bureaucracy eats only about 6 percent.) The money goes to health-and-human-service professionals: nurses, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, public-housing administrators, land-clearance officials, welfare workers. It doesn’t go to poor people.”

Just say “Waaaah!” The Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse says that the state had reports of 433 babies with cocaine in their systems during 1987, and nearly 1,100 such reports in 1988.

Looking forward to 2389. Illinois Women’s Advocate (Winter 1988) quotes a Bella Abzug comment made at a recent Chicago conference on feminism and Judaism: “At the rate we’re going, we will achieve political gender parity in another 400 years.”

May we see your papers, comrade? “A member of the Committee Against Registration and the Draft in Detroit recently applied for a job in a hotel,” reports CCCO News Notes (Fall 1988). “He was asked to fill out a form which required him to state whether he had registered with Selective Service. The form said the hotel needed this information on prospective employees ‘for national security reasons.'”

The good guys don’t wear white skin anymore. Northern Illinois University education professor Billie Thomas recently asked 26 white three- and four-year-olds to color “good” and “bad” characters from stories they had just been read. Contrary to some studies done in the 1960s, reports NIU, “The ‘bad guys’ did not have dark skin or hair coloring any more than the ‘good guys.'”

Dan Rather, the substitute spouse. “In marriage, a spouse becomes a kind of clock, signaling the appropriate time for daily activities,” says UIC psychiatrist Joseph Flaherty, describing his recent research into how widows and widowers cope with their loss. “One partner gets out of bed in the morning after the other finishes showering, for example.” Adds study coordinator Kathleen Hoskinson, “Those who find other ‘timekeepers’ are best able to take control over their lives and are less likely to become depressed after their spouse has died. Something as simple as the 6 p.m. newscast can mean it is time to eat supper, thereby establishing a comfortable new routine. People who wait for someone to call or wait until they become hungry to prepare a meal remain socially adrift and are at risk of developing psychiatric problems.”

“The only notable surplus of housing within the city limits appears to be the small condo market,” reports Citicorp Savings in a recent real estate market survey. “These units average between $60,000 and $100,000, are tough to sell and will continue to crowd the housing market in 1989.”

“Greylord was the most massive undercover project ever undertaken in this country and certainly the most significant ever directed at the judiciary,” Dan Webb tells Barrister editor Vicki Quade (Winter 1988). “It revealed massive corruption…. Our state government needed to respond to that in order to restore the public’s confidence in the institution of the judiciary. Unfortunately, the State of Illinois did not…. I always thought the legacy of Greylord would be the fundamental change in the way we select men and women who become judges. That is not going to happen.”

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