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And now, the pot offers to clean up the kettle. The state Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, long a target of criticism as dispenser of governmental pork, is offering workshops to local governments on financial management.

Labor representatives should refrain from belching; company negotiators should try not to grab all the complimentary pastries off the table. The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee is offering a seminar entitled "Collective Bargaining: Tactics, Techniques, and Table Manners."

Kids come last. Average number of cases pending as of mid-January in the criminal courtroom at 26th and California: 280. Average number of cases pending in the child-abuse and -neglect courtroom, same location: almost 1,800 (Chicago Reporter, February 1991).

Staggering under a staggering load. Chicago City Colleges students enrolled for college credit in 1989: 49,347 (down 26 percent since 1985). CCC students enrolled in high school or lower level classes in 1989: 92,100 (up 42 percent since 1985). Of this number, those enrolled in grade-school-level courses: 76,364. Percentage of all City Colleges students receiving any type of credential in 1989: 2.8 (from Gary Orfield's report, "The Revolving Door").

Things they didn't show on CNN. Newsweek's David Hackworth, as quoted in Greenpeace's Pundit Watch (February 25): "I spent five days last week with an Egyptian Commando battalion that was eyeball to bellybutton with the Iraqi Army . . . "

So many heretics, so little time. Now even private Christian schools are having to deal with book-banning fanatics. According to the Banner (January 21), house organ of the Christian Reformed Church, a few Orland Park CRC members are crusading against children's fantasy writer Madeleine L'Engle (on the grounds that her books include some "new age" concepts--L'Engle herself is a Christian of the Episcopalian persuasion). Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights has refused to purge her books from its library or reading lists. Says CCHS English teacher Jeff Carpenter: "What Christian teaching is all about is helping students to read all literature with critical discernment."

"If you have your palette, and someone is drowning, where do you put your attention?" asks Daniel Nagrin in an interview with Erika Kotala in Chicago Dance Coalition (Spring 1991). "I'm not one to say that you're immoral, selfish, indifferent; that you have a lousy sense of values, you don't care about other people. I just think it's very bad timing to ignore someone drowning."

Required reading for all executives with IQs under 50. Darby Graphics on North Rockwell is now reprinting selections from Crain's Chicago Business--but only the "good news" that might cause clients to "develop a more positive outlook and participate more fully in the types of activities that will hasten our economic recovery."

Pruning the money tree. Citizens Utility Board executive director Susan Stewart: "Every rate order approved by the ICC for Com Ed since 1985 has been thrown out by the courts. This [pending] rate hike won't hold up in court either."

"The Corruptometer is similar to the 'Doomsday Clock' " published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, according to Chicago File publisher and editor Tom Schaffner. Recent indictments of aldermen William Henry and Fred Roti have pushed the Corruptometer's reading (January 1991) up from "small graft warnings" to "extended dole spell."

Not all the news is bad. Of the 30 metropolitan-area finalists (selected from a field of more than 1,100 nominees) for the 1991 Golden Apple teaching awards, 19 teach in Chicago, and 20 live here.

Chicago's intentional communities number just three out of over 300 listed in the 1990/91 Directory of Intentional Communities: A Guide to Cooperative Living: Maxworks Cooperative on West Maxwell (a "pro-environment workers' cooperative. . . . attempts to portray the idea that re-using a rejected 2x4 in downtown Chicago is tantamount to saving an equivalent poundage of living tree"), Vivekananda Vedanta Society on South Hyde Park ("a branch of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission"), and Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston ("a Christian lay community"). Eight other groups are listed as having disbanded or failed to respond to letters.

Whey to go! Investing for a Better World (February 15) reports that Ohio may start de-icing highways with cheese waste rather than salt.

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

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