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The latest thing in business suits? DesignMarks Corporation on Irving Park reports that it designed the current annual report of ESI Industries, Inc., "in a cover which represents gray flannel enhanced with two red stripes."

Your tax dollars at work, sooner or later. From an Illinois EPA announcement of May 20: "Ekco Housewares, Inc., 1949 North Cicero, Chicago has been operating a nickel and chrome plating line since 1980 without a permit. [EPA] has asked the Illinois Attorney General's Office to file a lawsuit against Ekco. . . . the air pollution control permit expired in October, 1980 and has never been renewed."

The new federal office building in the Loop should be built either on vacant land or on a parking lot, says the Friends of Downtown. The group has also recommended that the new building be "people-friendly": no dark tinted glass, no vast expanses of blank walls, and plenty of restaurants and shops at ground level (including the Government Printing Office bookstore, now relegated to the obscurity of the 13th floor of the Dirksen federal building).

Well, officer, I suspect that it's suspicious, but I'm not sure. Question of the week, from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: "Would you recognize suspicious activity in your neighborhood if you saw it?"

A moving experience. Pro-Pak, a professional packing company in Northbrook, offers two free items to do-it-yourself movers: a brochure of packing tips and another on "Better Back Care." The company also offers two bits of free advice: use unprinted newspaper sheets (no ink to rub off), and don't use free cartons from stores. These allegedly "often contain insect larvae."

"Politics and the bureaucracy are interesting enough, I suppose, if you believe that what happens to people matters," writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (May 26-June 2). "But some of us list Homo sapiens among the dandelions in Earth's garden. We have never in fact seen a poem lovely as a tree. (Or as self-effacing; among their other virtues, trees do not apply for humanities grants.)"

That's psychobabble for "delinquent parent." The newsletter of Park Ridge's ChildServ (Spring 1988) describes the progress of an 18-year-old young woman left mostly on her own since age 9. "Through counseling and caseworker support, Jackie has accepted that her mother has her own needs, which do not include making a home for her daughter." We know a few nonsupporting absent fathers who'd love to have this rationale applied to their actions.

"Why not tax economic sin?" asks Miami University (Ohio) economist James Brock in New Options (May 30). "The merger fever that's going around builds in all kinds of speculative value in stocks completely divorced from any kind of underlying economic reality. . . . The old rationale for taxing liquor and cigarettes was as a 'sin tax,' right? . . . Why not institute an economic sin tax? You could have a progressive tax scheme like we do for income: Small mergers less, giant mergers more--because they're more destructive."

In the halls of justice. "Even a cursory glance and it dawns on you," writes Michael Walsh about Mayer, Brown & Platt's new law offices at 190 S. LaSalle (Inland Architect, May/June 1988): "so this is why a legal office is referred to not as a company, an agency, or a service, but as a law FIRM. And if you've wondered what rock-solid power looks like, this is it."

Not all in one meal, we hope. Subjects in a University of Illinois at Chicago experiment to determine the effect of high-fiber diets will have to eat all their meals from a special on-campus kitchen, according to the university. "Meals are described as a 'typical' American diet of hamburgers, chili, spaghetti, chicken, milk, fruits and vegetables."

Why is Illinois the Sucker State? Joe Cappo on our priorities (Crain's Chicago Business, May 23): "Gov. James Thompson, legislators, business lobbyists, commentators and editorialists demand that Chicago's public schools should get no additional funding until the system improves its performance. But no one has suggested that we withhold state support for the White Sox until the team improves its win-loss record." But Joe, the team creates jobs! "Sure it does. . . for shortstops and hot dog vendors, which are about the only jobs one can get after going through Chicago's public schools. What is more important to Illinois' business climate, decent public education or a baseball team?"

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

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