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Like that billboard? You paid for it. "Next time you see one of those heartwarming ads telling you to make more phone calls," says CUB News (Spring 1989), "remember that Bell is asking the ICC to make ratepayers foot the bill for $31 million in advertising expenses next year."

If this were a restaurant... "Every day at Juvenile Court great numbers of the public and professional persons are kept waiting, in part because their cases were all set for the same time," reports a special committee of the Chicago Bar Association. "It is no secret that the private bar does not want to take cases in Juvenile Court because the attorneys complain they must spend the morning or the entire day there for simple matters.... Police officers and social workers who have investigated cases are kept waiting for hours when they could be handling more of their cases in the community. Families with small children spend hours sitting on hard benches with no play area in which to entertain the children." What to do? "The court should continue to experiment...until it finds an efficient schedule."

"There is of course a caricature of Bridgeporters--indeed, of all [white] ethnic Chicagoans--as no-neck Bubbas wired with a hair-trigger racial hostility," writes Andrew Ferguson in Chicago Times (July/August 1989). "But race seems to preoccupy the caricaturists...far more than it does Bridgeporters themselves. On any given day Halsted Street, the neighborhood's main shopping strip, is as racially cosmopolitan as any in the city; there are numberless black Chicagoans both buying and selling. For that matter, the strip is far more cosmopolitan than what you'll find along Halsted fifty blocks to the north, among the urban sophisticates whose enlightenment in matters of race is self-conscious, well-advertised, and pristinely abstract."

We prefer the imported model, thank you. "Like a growing number of Chicago-area manufacturers, Chicago Extruded Metals admits it is easier to recruit employees educated in other industrial countries' vocational training programs than to attempt to address the technical and 'work-ethic deficiencies' many report finding in Chicago's high school graduates," writes Sandra Conn in Chicago Enterprise (June 1989). Says one company official, "Once they've graduated from high school, there's not much either we or the schools can do about them."

AIDS aids. A University of Chicago survey suggests that AIDS cases in the midwest and among affluent whites may be systematically underreported. According to U. of C. sociologist Edward Laumann, "Middle class white persons with AIDS are often diagnosed by private physicians (who are then expected to report these cases to local health departments), while poorer people are often diagnosed in their contacts with public health agencies.... Given the highly stigmatizing nature of AIDS, it is not at all surprising that those victims with the financial wherewithal to do so utilize the private health care system that can provide them privacy and discreet handling of their affliction"--by failing to report the cases and thus giving the rest of us a misleading picture of the epidemic.

Rx: Gun control. Seventy-five percent of pediatricians surveyed by their professional organization support local gun-control laws--for medical reasons--reports the American Academy of Pediatrics, based in Elk Grove Village. According to Dr. Katherine Christoffel, "Since the purpose of buying a gun is poorly served if it is under lock and key, the tendency is to keep it readily accessible to deal with emergencies. That can--and does--spell tragedy for many American children reared as they are with toy guns that are strikingly realistic in appearance.... No one can believe that our founding fathers, in drafting the Second Amendment, intended to leave American children as vulnerable to firearm violence as they are today." Well, almost no one.

Dept. of strained comparisons, from One City (May/June 1989): "In the period between 1890 and 1910 immigrants and their children made up 78% of the city's population.... One hundred years later, Chicago continues to be a city of immigrants. Nearly 13% of Chicagoans today are immigrants."

Dept. of high aspirations. "What steps are you taking toward securing your dreams?" asks the Financial Planning Network, touting its services. It then adds, "Is your dream to divorce that boring husband and not suffer financially? Send three children to Harvard? This self-assessment tool was designed to help you first define your dreams and then evaluate whether your current method of managing money is leading you toward those dreams."

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

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