Nature imitates art. In the recent contest to choose the official state prairie grass, according to the state Department of Conservation, one Bolingbrook second-grader voted for northern dropseed “because it smells good…like popcorn…and it looks like a punk-rock hairdo.”

New horizons in liberal guilt. This from Senator Paul Simon: “The United States is 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 50 percent of the world’s illegal drugs.”

“Far fewer suburbanites will be able to go through school with the impression the world is, for all practical purposes, white,” according to the Chicago Reporter (April 1989). Twenty-three percent of students in suburban Cook and Du Page schools are minorities, compared to only 12 percent a decade ago. More encouraging than the statistics are the stories: “Last year, the homecoming queen at Morton East High School in Cicero–a town once notorious for its bigotry–was Hispanic. The homecoming king at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn was black. And he was not he first, but the third black to be selected homecoming king or queen at the DuPage County school in recent years.”

When Cardinal Bernardin retires at age 75 in 2003, writes Tim Unsworth in Call to Action News (February 1989), “over half his priests will be over 70 and less than 12 percent will be under 35…. John Paul II’s adamant refusal to permit priests to resign with dignity has not slowed the number of resignations. In Chicago, where 24 percent of the diocesan clergy resigned between 1966 and 1984, the number of current resignations appears to exceed the number of annual ordinations.”

And if you don’t like the course… The city Department on Aging and Disability reports that it is offering a four-week lecture series on “How to Complain Effectively.”

Where are the people hollering for tax relief when we need them? “In Illinois the poorest 20% of taxpayers pay 9.6% of their income in state and local taxes, compared to the richest 1%, who pay 4.3% of their income in those taxes,” reports Voices for Illinois Children. The group has proposed an earned-income tax credit on the state income-tax form to give working poor families–and the one out of five Illinois children in poverty–a leg up on their expenses.

Memo to car dealers: Don’t try to sell a Mitsubishi Eclipse to members of the Chicago Astronomical Society. The CAS Observer (March 1989) contradicts the firm’s advertising claim that its Eclipse will be the only one observable in this country until 2017: “Seems like Mitsubishi’s staff astronomer is in the dark about America’s location. Company officials chancing to visit Hawaii’s Big Island on July 11, 1991, could spend nearly seven minutes playing Find Mr. Sun after he says ‘aloha’ to begin the longest solar eclipse in decades.”

“Some observers think Daley could be like Mayor Ray Flynn of Boston, who defeated a black candidate but attempted in office to address black issues,” writes David Moberg in In These Times (April 12-18). “But there has been no such populist streak in Daley’s conservative past or in his sanitized mayoral campaign…. Many neighborhood ethnics think downtown developers should pay linkage fees on new projects to develop neighborhoods, but Daley and his financial backers are adamantly opposed. Daley promises better schools, but he has not supported higher state income taxes, which would be opposed by many of his white backers who are elderly or have children in parochial schools.”

Who says dead men tell no tales? “The new Chicago [advertising] campaign will feature musical styles native to the city famed for blues, jazz and gospel,” says director Jay Hedges of the state Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. “In addition, a seven-minute film narrated by Illinois poet and writer Carl Sandburg has been produced…”

“Every business–from downtown bank to factory to neighborhood dry cleaner–should give parents with children in the public schools four new paid holidays a year, one per marking period,” writes Merrill Goozner in Chicago Enterprise (April 1989). “A parent’s job on that day will be to walk into the child’s school, meet with the teachers, learn how the child is doing and find out how the pupil could be doing better. This assignment should also be a condition of getting a welfare check.”

Heavy duty. “A typical household move,” according to United Van Lines, “ranges between 5,000 and 8,000 pounds.”

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