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Could I start now and get it all over with right away? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, based in Elk Grove Village, "By the time today's child reaches age 70, he or she will have spent approximately seven years watching television."

I've come a long way thanks to you, baby--now get lost. From Harper's "Index" (March 1990): "Chances that an American woman is married, has children, and says she has a 'successful career': 2 in 5." "Chances that an American woman considers herself a strong supporter of the women's movement: 1 in 5."

Number of earthquakes centered in Cook and Du Page counties since 1795: 3 (Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Administration).

"The absence of a comprehensive industrial development plan has created uncertainty about how hospitable Chicago will be to manufacturing in the future," according to the Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations in its newsletter (Winter 1990). "As companies await a clear signal from City government, they delay expansion plans and modernization programs, undercutting their own competitiveness and creating conditions conducive to additional industrial loss. The longer the City puts off an industrial policy, the more it contributes to this long-term demoralization and loss."

How long it should take to dispose of a misdemeanor case in court, according to the American Bar Association: 3 months maximum.

How long it takes in Cook County courts, according to the administrative office of the Illinois courts: 11 months average.

One reason why, according to the Cook County Court Watchers, Inc. (16th annual report): The willingness of judges to grant continuances almost on request. Of 325 cases watched on a sample day (September 6, 1989), the watchers observed 132 continuances--almost one-quarter of which were given simply because it was the first request.

Another reason: "Assistant State's Attorneys usually see the files for the case on which they will be working for the first time when the case is called in court. Pre-trial preparation is non-existent."

Brain-damage update. A poll conducted by the National Solid Waste Management Association claims to show that 29 percent of the public favors the siting of new landfills, up from 20 percent a year ago (Solid Waste Management Newsletter, February 1990).

The view from the sidelines, as reported by the U. of C. law school's Ann-Marie Burley (Chronicle, February 22): "We had a roundtable breakfast [last September in Berlin] with some French defense experts on European security. They talked for over two hours, and the United States was not mentioned once."

Open enrollment may be a good theory, but in the Chicago Public Schools it won't work because there are so few spaces available in schools that are even average, argues the Chicago Urban League in its new publication, Options Without Knowledge. About 350,000 students would be eligible to participate in the open-enrollment program outlined in the 1988 school-reform law. But as of 1987 (the most recent inventory of school space available), there were only 14,668 empty seats available in Chicago classrooms with teachers, and 64 percent of these seats were in "the lowest quality category--i.e., with none of their third- or sixth-grade [median] test scores at or above grade norm. Only 5,228 seats are available in schools that surpass the bottom category of educational quality. Only 1,326 seats are available in schools... with all four median test scores at or above grade level."

Abbott Laboratories gives the University of Chicago Hospitals free baby formula, free bottles, and free trips to periodic conferences on infant nutrition for pediatricians, according to Julia Flynn Siler in Business Week (April 9). Why? Because the hospital in turn gives the formula (or that of a competitor, Bristol-Myers Squibb, which also donates) to mothers who are uncertain which to use or who give up on breast-feeding. The Chicago-based Abbott is the dominant company in the lucrative infant-formula market (where profits range up to 25 percent). And the freebies help keep it ahead of its competition, both commercial and natural (breast-feeding is generally considered superior for most babies). Business Week quotes U. of C. pediatrics chairman Dr. Lawrence M. Gartner: "What we give away has a direct influence on what mothers buy. The ethics of this are troubling."

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

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