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Four of the top 25 small companies in the U.S., as ranked by Business Week (May 25), are in the Chicago area: Platinum Technology (number 2, software, Lombard), Technology Solutions (number 5, computer systems, Chicago), U.S. Robotics (number 19, modems, Skokie), and Zebra Technologies (number 25, bar coding, Vernon Hills).

"Although I'm not 100% consistent, my attitude is to obey traffic laws," writes bicycle commuter Carolyn Prieb in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News (May). "I want to be taken seriously by other vehicles on the road and I've found stopping at red lights improves automobile drivers' attitudes towards me. (Four way stops continue to be a problem for me. It's bad enough that drivers don't know what to do when a bicycle stops properly, then some biker comes from behind and blows off the stop completely.)"

Now all we need is a mayor who can work with them. According to a directory published by Loyola University's Institute of Urban Life, the number of multipurpose neighborhood-based community organizations in the city has doubled, to more than 120, since 1972.

"At a minimum, Skyline: Chicago and 'New Chicago Skyscrapers' offer the same pedagogic virtues as the pornographic sex tapes popular among some married people," writes James Krohe Jr. in Inland Architect (May/June). "Just as jaded marrieds may be excited and inspired to try the real thing, so viewers of architectural videos may be inspired to start looking at the built environment with a new understanding. For both activities, the video is only the inspiration; the real enjoyment results from the experience."

Cheer up! The government is lying to us again! "Why don't our leaders tell the people the truth? When they're going to destroy Iraq, say, why don't they announce: 'Look, we want to control the international oil system. We want to establish the principle that the world is ruled by force, because that's the only thing that we're good at. We want to prevent any independent nationalism. We've got nothing against Saddam Hussein. He's a friend of ours. He's tortured and gassed people. That was fine. But then he disobeyed orders. Therefore, he must be destroyed as a lesson to other people: Don't disobey orders.'

"Why don't they just say that? It has the advantage of being true. It's much easier to tell the truth than to concoct all sorts of crazy lies. Much less work. Why don't they say that? Because they know that people are basically decent....In fact, the more distortion and lies and deceit you hear, the more you know that people have an instinct for freedom"--Noam Chomsky in Rolling Stone (May 28).

"Polls show that 98 percent or more teens know that drug use and sex, particularly without a condom, can lead to AIDS....which is more kids than know who Kevin Costner is," reports the U.S Public Health Service. "The real problem is not lack of knowledge. Teenagers know that abstinence is their best defense and that, short of that, condoms offer some protection. The problem--again, according to careful polling--is an attitude that, well, it's not going to affect me here in Kansas."

Diversity is where you find it. William J. O'Shea, reviewing the new biography of Father Jack Egan in Call to Action News (April): "Raised in Uptown by non-poor Irish immigrants, Jack was neither West Side nor South Side Irish, a fact he says helps to explain his more universalist outlook."

Caution: work may be hazardous to your health. UIC researchers have found that 17 of the 28 Cook County women who died on the job between 1984 and 1990 were murdered--14 of them by strangers.

Lest we forget. Doug Gills of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization on one of the changes Mayor Washington wrought, in the anthology Harold Washington and the Neighborhoods: "It was radical for some people that some side streets would get snowplowed in the winter time.... I lived on one of those streets, and I was shocked beyond belief to see a snowplow come down my South Side street in the winter of 1984. It was outside of my experience--I couldn't imagine what that sound was."

Going somewhere? According to the tabulation in Illinois Politics (May), state government travel costs rose during the Thompson administration from $38.2 million (1986) to $48.7 million (1990), then dropped to $46.7 million in 1991 under Governor Edgar.

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

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