The City File | City File | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » City File

The City File

by

comment

Ice cream perversity. Four percent of those responding to a survey of Illinois Baskin-Robbins customers said that they "prefer to bite the bottom of their ice cream cones and suck the ice cream through."

That's all? Illinois needs a constitutional amendment enabling voters to recall corrupt public officials, says Patrick Quinn of Citizens for Constitutional Reform. He cites a study compiled by the Chicago Ethics Project that says that 487 incidents of official misconduct have occurred in Chicago and Cook County since 1970. But that's fewer than three per month!

Dept. of endangered national security, coffee-beans division. Trade for Peace, Inc., based in Madison, Wisconsin, continues to defy President Reagan's embargo against Nicaragua by selling coffee beans, stamps, and crafts from Sandinista-land to civilly disobedient gringos. Trade for Peace customers could in theory be fined $50,000 and be imprisoned for ten years for contributing to the "national emergency," which has been in effect since (of course you remember the date) May 7, 1985.

Take the money and run. According to Allan R. Halcrow, editor of Personnel Journal, many executives now prefer cash bonuses to stock options, because "it may not be company profits as much as the vagaries of the stock market that determine the price of the stock and thus the value of the reward." Good point. It would be a shame to have to depend on the judgments of capitalists.

Is your government better than it was in 1923? We hope so, because this summer marked the 65th anniversary of the Better Government Association, which, according to its press release, was established to "increase voter awareness, investigate abuse of public office, and monitor the political process"--up to and including George Dunne's bedroom.

"All introductory astronomy students are told to get their horoscopes for their birthdays," says Loyola University astronomer David Slavsky in a Loyola press release, recalling a test of astrology conducted when he was a graduate student. "Then, for a month, they were required to mark every daily prediction made, and note whether it was correct, incorrect, or irrelevant. There's a tendency, when reading a horoscope, to identify the one or two items that seem to be correct and forget the incorrect or irrelevant ones." After a month, the students' totals showed that 25 percent of the predictions had been right, 25 percent wrong, and 50 percent irrelevant. "Then came the brilliant part. They did the same thing for another month, using a fictitious birthdate. The results were exactly the same: 25% correct, 25% incorrect, 50% irrelevant. This proves there's no predictive ability in horoscopes, since it doesn't matter whether you use a real or a fictitious birthday." Yeah, sure, but what's your sign, man?

Who's on first? "The CHA has little control over purchasing," reports the Chicago Urban League. "One high level official claimed that the biggest problem with the agency's finances was not that they could not pay the bills, but that they did not, even know what the bills were."

Fast track. Why are drug-treatment programs getting younger clients who are in their early and middle 20s? One reason, according to the Alcoholism-Drug Dependence Program on West Byron, is that "cocaine takes its toll on its victims earlier than alcohol and most other drugs. Within one to five years a person may be in the late stages of addiction where cocaine is involved. In the case of alcohol, most people have a 15 to 20 year history of use before the destruction becomes evident."

Nuclear power won't help conserve oil, says the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, continuing its long-standing objections to Commonwealth Edison and U.S. Council on Energy Awareness ads claiming that nukes help make the U.S. energy independent. Most of the oil consumed in the U.S. is used for transportation, not for generating electricity. If Edison continues to argue otherwise, says NEIS's Dave Kraft, "We need to find out from them which of their nuclear reactors we can go to to fill up our cars next."

How can you keep 'em down in the hospital after they've seen Wall Street? Raj Sinha, a 1987 graduate of the University of Chicago School of Medicine, now works for Salomon Brothers as an investment banker, according to the New York Times (August 14). His choice reflects the drop in medical-school admissions nationwide and doctors' growmg unhappiness with their profession; the former resident of south suburban Flossmoor became disillusioned with the long hours and low pay of a physician. "In the long run, my earning capacity is probably greater here," he told the Times. Plus he has more free time: "I'm learning to play golf."

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

Add a comment