“It was a grave decision to pursue the Illinois Cemetery Project,” writes Evelyn R. Moore in Historic Illinois (April 1987). The documentary project (217/785-4512) will attempt to record all known historic (post-1673) burial sites in the state, and eventually publish a comprehensive guidebook.

“An estimated 25% of all legal activities today involve medical jurisprudence,” claim the promoters of the new book The Law of Medical Practice in Illinois, which answers such questions as “What is the liability of a referring physician for the negligent acts of a specialist?” and “When is a hospital liable for the acts of its employees?” Pretty often, we hope.

“No new residential development would be permitted in the protected manufacturing district or the buffer zone” being proposed for the Clybourn Corridor (including Goose Island) in West Lincoln Park. CANDO (Winter 1987), newsletter of the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations, reports on area manufacturers’ efforts to stem the invasion of loft developers and yuppies. Kent Brown, plant manager for Procter & Gamble (North Avenue and the Chicago River), says “that he knows of 18 companies on Goose Island who have put a total of over $20 million of investments on hold, while waiting to see what kinds of land use the City will be permitting. 500 new jobs are at stake.”

“Rule 1 of capitalist censorship,” according to Barbara Ehrenreich (Mother Jones, May 1987) is “You can write about any social problem–sweatshops, starvation, child labor–so long as it is a problem experienced primarily by the rich. . . . I was trying to persuade an immensely powerful, dressed-for-success editor to assign a story on the plight of Third World women refugees. ‘Sorry,’ she said with a charming wave of dismissal, ‘Third World women have never done anything for me.’ I’m sure she didn’t mean to deny that they had, in all probability, stitched the French seams in her cashmere suit, swept her office in the middle of the night, and chopped the broccoli for her salad-bar lunch. She just meant they didn’t sell.”

In another day and age it might have been front-page material, but the joint Illinois-Wisconsin raid on a Madison-area farmhouse early in the morning of April 2 just wasn’t sensational enough. State revenuers tracked down three alleged members of the Posse Comitatus who were evading small amounts of state taxes and who had vowed never to be taken alive. The tax protesters had stocked up with more than 40 shotguns, semiautomatic rifles, and magnum pistols, plus ammunition. Said one agent, “There was more firepower in the house than we had outside.” The protesters surrendered without firing a shot.

“Mexicans . . . have picked up the voting habits of their white neighbors,” Ricardo Tostado tells Julio Ojeda of the Chicago Reporter (April 1987). In a detailed analysis of the city’s 129 heavily Hispanic precincts, Ojeda found that Mexicans voted for Byrne in the Democratic mayoral primary, 56.9 percent to 36.5 percent, while Puerto Ricans favored Washington 62.2 to 30.6 percent. The two groups roughly neutralized each other–and their effect on the election was further diluted by the fact that only 22 percent of the otherwise eligible residents of these precincts are registered to vote.

You probably thought schools receive state aid based on student attendance, but a loophole in the state school aid formula in fact allows schools to claim the average of their three best attendance months (usually early in the year) as “average daily attendance.” According to three sociologists with DePaul University’s Chicago Area Studies Center, this formula “takes away any monetary incentive for school districts to keep students in school.”

Women and education majors are the most ignorant of country locations on a blank world map, according to John Cross’s survey of his first-time college geography students (Journal of Geography, March-April 1987). Asked to spot China, Cuba, Great Britain, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Lebanon, Poland, South Africa, and the Soviet Union, males scored an average of 5.1 right, females 2.7, and future teachers a dismal 1.7. (Students who had taken high school geography knew no more than those who hadn’t.) The best-known location was the Soviet Union; least known were El Salvador and Ethiopia. But not one of 879 students was able to locate all 11 countries.

What may be the first safe, oxygen-carrying substitute for blood–developed over 15 years research at Northfield Laboratories Inc.–will be tested at Michael Reese Hospital on volunteer healthy men aged 18 to 35, who will each be paid $500. We hope it’s not all in vein.

“Men think you have enormous magical powers,” a 39-year-old commodities executive tells Sarah Hardesty and Nehama Jacobs in Across the Board (April 1987), and that may be one reason corporate women don’t get promoted–their male superiors are trying to demonstrate their immunity. Hardesty and Jacobs quote a telecommunications manager: “Earlier in my career, this fatherly type in his mid-50s said to me, ‘I can’t tell you why people don’t want to hire you, but I think it’s because you’re too pretty.’ What cruel irony–I’ve spent my whole life feeling ugly, and now this!”

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