“Just what kind of garbage are the periodicals we most often read best equipped to wrap?” wonder the editors at Chicago’s Catholic bimonthly Call to Action News (June 1989). “The Wall Street Journal, we found, is best used for lamb chop bones, bits of parsley, and olive pits from two-martini power lunches. The National Enquirer, on the other hand, is better suited for fruit loops, limburger cheese, and (strangely enough) a variety of foods that are absolutely tasteless. Chicago magazine: Wine bottles, fancy pasta, Godiva chocolate wrappers, and caviar containers. Chicago Sun-Times: Twinkies, french fries, Ho-Hos, and other junk foods. Chicago Tribune: Almost anything grilled on a suburban patio (especially if from Lake Forest or Du Page County).”

Don’t say we never gave you anything. Noted in Executive Fitness (March 1989): among the countries most likely to receive some of the 2.2 billion tons of U.S. toxic waste exported each year are Haiti, South Africa, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, and Canada.

What’s the difference between the Loop and the neighborhoods? Ask southeast-side state representative Clem Balanoff: “I have watched steel plant after steel plant in my district close–3,000 more unemployed as Republic Steel is shuttered–8,000 at U.S. Steel–4,000 at Wisconsin Steel and the list goes on and on. These were good jobs that paid a decent livable wage. Today unemployment in my district is over 20%. As plants closed in our districts there was no state bailout–no one was concerned about the loss of jobs. No one cared about the loss of tax revenue to our state and the City of Chicago. And no one cared as the social fabric of a community came unraveled….Any member of the General Assembly who has a plant in his or her district that has closed and didn’t get state or federal help to keep the jobs in the area should vote against this welfare for the wealthy–for Sears Roebuck and Co.”

For instance? Maureen Reagan in New Woman (January 1989), quoted in Daughters of Sarah (July/August 1989): “I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there.”

The best thing about Taste of Chicago was the 5,500 pounds of food you didn’t eat there, because it was spoiled and destroyed by city health-department sanitarians. Last year 7,000 pounds had to be done away with.

Well, that depends. In Tikkun (July/August 1989), Rabbi Joseph A. Edelheit of Emanuel Congregation on North Sheridan writes about being criticized for working with people with AIDS. At one board of trustees meeting at the synagogue, “someone got up and challenged me, asking me whether I wanted all the homosexuals in Chicago to join our congregation. Wouldn’t the congregation change, and didn’t I know that homosexuality was a sin according to the Torah? The questions conveyed such contempt; I stood alone, and the board was silent. I answered: Yes, Leviticus 18:22 does refer to homosexuality as an abomination, but Deuteronomy 22:5 says that a woman wearing a man’s clothing is an abomination, too; your wife and daughters wear slacks–are they an abomination?”

Thank you, Mr. Reagan. The Civic Federation reminds us of one reason for rising property taxes: “In inflation-adjusted dollars, the real value of federal revenue to state and local governments nationwide declined 39 percent between 1980 and 1987. At one time, local officials could turn to the federal government to alleviate the strain on local budgets. Today this is no longer possible” (Chicagoland–A Fiscal Perspective 1978-1987).

Does this mean EPA’s budget will soon exceed the Pentagon’s? “Percentage of Americans who say that Soviet aggression is ‘a very serious threat’ to national security: 50. Percentage who say that global environmental problems are ‘a very serious threat’ to national security: 77” (Harper’s, July 1989).

Remember when… From Lee Botts, quoted in a recent State Water Survey publication: “As recently as the early 1970’s, the AEC was planning to build between 20 and 24 nuclear plants on Lake Michigan. Fortunately, this did not come to pass.”

What’s white and white and read all over? The funnies in the Tribune, Sun-Times, and Defender, according to a Chicago Reporter survey of the May 1989 comic strips. During May, not quite 10 percent of the Defender’s comic characters were black, just 6 percent of the Sun-Times’s, and a mere 1.6 percent of the Tribune’s, writes Robert Cruz. And those few minority characters were concentrated in their own newsprint ghetto. If you leave out “Curtis,” “The Middletons,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the three papers’ figures drop much lower. Nearly three-quarters of all the comic strips were lily-white during May.

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