It's not about health anyway; it's about resurrection. The National Confectioners Association estimates that Americans will spend $799 million on candy this Easter--enough, says Fanny Fanner Candy Shops Inc., to buy a quarter of a million tons of candy, or "more than 36 billion inch-long chocolate eggs."
"Credit card use is at an all-time high, despite historically high credit card interest rates," writes Joseph L. Bast, executive director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute. Proposals to legislate a ceiling on credit card rates, he says, ignore the fact that most card users pay off their balances each month and so pay no interest. Even those who do pay high rates might suffer if banks choose to recoup the cost of interest ceilings by cutting off riskier card holders, raising annual fees, or reducing credit limits. "Policy makers seeking to act in the interests of all consumers should view interest rate ceilings very skeptically."
"Why are there two sexes and not one?" It will take the University of Chicago's Paul Verrell only three two-hour sessions to answer that and other questions at one of the Field Museum's many spring courses, "Evolution and Sexual Behavior," Tuesdays 7-9 PM this month.
A rare discouraging word about Illinois' nongame wildlife checkoff (see your state income tax form) comes from Greg Houghton in Compass, the newsletter of the Chicago Audubon Society (March 1988). Funds from the checkoff, he says, go disproportionately to programs sponsored by the state Department of Conservation itself. "Of 101 funded projects mentioned in the recent DOC report, 40 were sponsored by the DOC. This gives the appearance of siphoning, doesn't it? Rather than using its own budget for these worthy projects, the DOC appears to be dipping into funds donated by citizens through the tax checkoff. This policy is costing the DOC some good will and free volunteer labor."
True security: According to Harper's "Index" (March 1988), there are 183,895 privately owned machine guns in the United States.
The long arm of Chicago clout. In These Times (February 24-March 8) reports that George Dunne Jr. won't have to worry about the National Park Service condemning ten acres he owns in California's Santa Monica Mountains. His father's friend, U.S. Representative Sidney Yates, chairs the congressional subcommittee overseeing NPS. Yates "cut the allocation for buying land in the Santa Monicas from $11 million to $1 million, and inserted language in the bill that makes it impossible for the park service to condemn the Dunne property."
If we hadn't read about this in Small Press (February 1988), we wouldn't believe it either: "Monk is a New Age, macrobiotics, Buddhist, Gay, pacifist, ecology-minded, humorous, irreverent, desktop-published, news-based quarterly written and produced out of a '72 Ford van." We'd ask what state its editors started out from, but that would be too easy.
"When we first started environmental litigation I expected that most lawsuits brought by environmental organizations would be directed against polluting companies and resource-using industries," says Rick Sutherland of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in its newsletter In Brief (Autumn 1987). "That has proven not to be the case. Instead, most of our [work]. . . . has been to sue government agencies and officials over and over again to do the job that the laws require of them."
"If you had your choice, would you move your business from the Chicagoland area?" asked the 1987 Arthur Andersen Small Business Survey. "Yes," said 42 percent of the responding executives, most of whom would move in search of lower taxes.
University of Chicago physicists shattered the world record for concentrating the sun's energy on February 12. According to a U. of C. press release: "Using a technology originally developed for high-energy physics, Professor of Physics Roland Winston and graduate student Philip Gleckman achieved an intensity of 60,000 times the sun's normal intensity on earth, besting the previous record by more than three times. The new record is comparable to the intensity that exists on the surface of the sun itself." And you thought you had to go to Florida.
"Listening to Jack Brickhouse announce a ballgame," writes Joseph Epstein in Chicago Times (March/April 1988), "was like being trapped on a long bus ride with a hardware salesman who believed intensely in his product and knew no jokes. This, mind you, was a bus ride that lasted for more than thirty years."
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.