We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

Hearts were steady, kidneys were slightly higher, and livers and pancreases were both up strongly–according to the 1988 report of the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois at 800 S. Wells. The six Illinois transplant centers receiving most of the acquired organs report that all kinds of transplants were up last year–except kidneys, “since less kidneys were imported from out of state.”

“Chicago [is] something of an anomaly among big American cities,” writes Merrill Goozner in Chicago Enterprise (February 1989). “Unlike Boston or New York, where blacks are true minorities, or Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., where they are true majorities, Chicago’s population is basically split”–roughly 40 percent white, 40 percent black, and 20 percent Hispanic and others. “Indeed, Chicago may be entering an era of frequent changeovers at City Hall, a time when swing constituencies–lakefront liberals and Hispanics–ensure that no one’s fundamental interests are trampled upon and that overt racial hostilities are muted.”

God’s little mistakes. University of Chicago church historian Martin E. Marty reprints the following (from the Evangelicals Concerned Record) in his newsletter Context (February 15): “In full-color Moody Monthly ads for a new Moody Bible Institute film, Michelangelo’s Adam has lost his genitals to a fundamentalist’s airbrush. The ad copy describes the film, Distinctly Human, as ‘reveal[ing] how every cell, every nerve, every bone in your body points unmistakably towards the Master Craftsman who created us all.’ Evidently some fundamentalists don’t think that a penis points in the same direction.”

O’Hare isn’t just the busiest airport in the country. The Neighborhood Works (February/March 1989) reports that it also has the highest electricity costs: 22.6 cents per passenger, compared to 8.6 cents per passenger at next busiest Atlanta Hartsfield.

Well, which would you rather have? Robert B. Reich on the corporate takeover mania (New York Times Magazine, January 29): “The bankers and lawyers who helped RJR Nabisco move out of equities and into debt late last year earned about $1 billion for their efforts. This sum exceeded the total amount devoted by the United States in all of 1988 to the search for a cure for AIDS.”

The next generation is already paying. “Students have taken on a substantial burden in helping state institutions adjust to declining general revenue allocations and inflationary increases,” reports Governors State University in south-suburban University Park. “In 1981, the state support for a full-time student was $3,084. In 1989 it is $2,761. During that same eight-year period, public university tuition rates increased 139 percent. At GSU, tuition for a full-time undergraduate student increased from $690 in 1981/82 to $1,356 in 1988/89.”

“Judged by the standards of the society as a whole, our upper-level public servants are already rich,” observes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (January 26-February 1). “Federal district judges make $89,500 a year, for example; Illinois governors more than $93,000; university presidents, unbelievably, more than $100,000. These are breathtaking sums, yet Mr. Thompson is far from alone in describing the life such salaries buy as penury. In New York City, a U.S. district judge complained to the Times, ‘You’ve got to really worry: Can you buy a new pair of shoes?’ I did not see any barefoot judges on my last trip to that city, although I saw lots of begging children.”

Smoking costs Illinoisans $2.8 billion a year in tobacco-related death, disability, medical care, and productivity losses, according to the state Department of Public Health. (This figure does not include fires or infant mortality caused by smoking.) That works out to $1,299 per smoker over age 18 in the state.

“It’s terrific to defend the guilty,” Chicago criminal defense lawyer Stephen Komie tells Student Lawyer (February 1989). “It’s very difficult to defend the innocent…. You sleep every night defending the guilty. There are no sleepless nights…. If they tell me they did what they’re alleged to have done, my job is to minimize the impact of their behavior on their lives. On the other hand, if you represent an innocent client, you don’t sleep at night. You constantly worry that you’re making a mistake and that this innocent person may go to the penitentiary because you messed up.”

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