“Sports is one of the few ways I know to get a 17-year-old at 250 pounds and 6-foot-5 to listen respectfully to an adult and take it every day,” says Larry Hawkins, director of the University of Chicago’s Office of Special Programs and coach of the 1963 state champion Carver High School basketball team, in the U. of C. Chronicle (May 26). “The fact is that most kids give coaches much more credence than they deserve. It may not be right, but that’s how it is. I argue that it’s a resource, and as such it should be used. It costs nothing, because it’s already there. . . . You just have to teach the people who run it to . . . see themselves as teachers as well as coaches.”

“I have a secret plan” for Chicago’s lakefront, architect-curmudgeon Harry Weese tells Chicago Enterprise’s Vicki Quade (June 1988): “I hope that all those ugly FHA buildings north of Hollywood Avenue on Sheridan Road would be undermined and they’d all fall down in a row. That’s what I call lakeshore protection. . . . Those rich people who live out there shouldn’t have built so close to the lake in the first place.”

Proof that the Soviet empire is expanding came to us recently in a Northwestern University release announcing that the American-Soviet Youth Orchestra will perform “in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Moscow, Leningrad and other Soviet cities.”

Rich and lazy. “Consider Illinois vs. West Virginia, one of the poorest of states,” writes Loyola professor of social policy Murray L. Gruber in his new publication, Yardsticks for Illinois: “for each $1,000 of state personal income, Illinois spends only $33.11 for elementary and secondary education, while West Virginia spends $47.73.” By this ability-to-pay yardstick, Illinois ranks 48th out of the 50 states. Even within the state budget, schools have not been one of governor-for-life James Thompson’s top priorities. According to State Comptroller Roland Burris, over the last 10 years, “the State Board of Education’s share of the budget has declined more steeply than any other agency in state government.”

Equality? Not yet, to judge from a study by University of Illinois sociologists Catherine Ross and John Mirowsky. Their national survey of 680 working couples, summarized in a U. of I. release, showed that women who work outside the home and who have trouble arranging child care (and who get little help from their husbands) experience at least twice as much depression as do employed women without child-care problems. On the other hand, “husbands’ mental health is not affected by children and their care.”

What all the fuss was about. According to a Chicago Area Transportation Study report, since the Dan Ryan reconstruction project began March 1, “the average time for the northbound trip from 63rd Street to the Eisenhower Expressway during the morning rush hour increased by six minutes, or 26 percent. The average southbound afternoon trip increased by less than a minute (2 percent).”

Press releases we couldn’t afford to finish: “Chicago’s plastic surgeon Dr. Eugene Tanski, M.D., F.A.C.S., S.C., and three midwestern patients recently jetted to a Colorado ski resort for cosmetic surgical procedures.”

“The U.S. embargo may have been the nicest thing we ever did for [Cuba],” says Stanley Hallett of Northwestern University’s Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research (Urban Affairs News, Winter 1988). “It meant they had to build all their own industry, a lot of which might never have developed if the cheap goods from the U.S. had been available.”

Is Paul Simon punishing the poor? According to the Public Welfare Coalition on South Morgan, he is cosponsoring a Senate welfare reform bill that would “require participation in employment and training programs for parents with children as young as 1 year old [regardless of the availability of day care], and force recipients to take jobs that pay less than the going rate for the work performed.”

“The past 20 years have witnessed some profound gains for human freedom,” argues Robert W. Poole Jr., publisher of the 20-year-old libertarian magazine Reason. Hmm–Chicago has become more tolerant of antiestablishment demonstrations? Civil liberties are better protected? Oppressive dictators like Somoza and Marcos have been overthrown? Well, Poole’s idea of “profound gains” is a little different: in 1968, he says, “self-service gas stations were illegal in most places. And if you wanted cash, you had to go to a branch of your bank (between 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. on weekdays ) and stand in line for a teller.” Hey, that’s what 1776 was all about, right?

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