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If I have my wipers on intermittent, will I only be fined $37.50? A new state law, according to Secretary of State George Ryan, requires drivers to turn on their headlights "at times when rain, snow, fog or other weather conditions make it necessary to turn on the windshield wipers." The fine is $75.

Hi honey, I got our financial problems all worked out--took out a home-equity loan to pay off the groceries! "In reviewing this year's final [schools] deal, one leading Chicago banker said it was the worst arrangement that could possibly have been worked out, with the sole exception of actually closing down Chicago's school system," writes Lawrence Howe in Chicago Enterprise (January/February). "By failing to furnish the added funds needed to deal with the system's operating deficit, and instead requiring that the amount of the shortfall be covered by borrowed funds, legislators have simultaneously ducked their own responsibilities, added to the size of the problem and pushed it back to be dealt with later. There is ample history here and in other cities to tell us that this road--that is, borrowing funds on a long-term basis to cover short-term deficits--can lead to disaster."

"If you try to purify any of my friends, I'll break your head open with a fucking ax"--Chicago gay-rights activist to KKK supporter, Springfield, January 17, as reported by Jeff Ignatius in Illinois Times (January 20-26).

Ideas too large to fit into Jim Edgar's head. From a University of Chicago report on a program dealing with homelessness and substance abuse: "Even though a majority of clients did not drink or use drugs after one year [in the program] and were no longer homeless, only a small minority regularly worked despite high levels of utilization of employment training and referral services. Investigators believe access to a job may depend more on opportunities available in the community than on interventions." In words of one syllable: Cut off aid all you want, Guv--when there are no jobs, some folks can't find work.

My disease is more important than your disease. Laura Flanders critiquing the media in Extra! (January/February): "According to the New York Times, some 194,000 people in the U.S. have died of AIDS since 1980; 450,000 have died of breast cancer. Yet when ABC in September produced a special on breast cancer, it was called 'The Other Epidemic.'"

Marx Loves NAFTA, according to Tim Wohlforth in In These Times (January 24): "Marx believed that capitalism was historically progressive because it expanded the productive forces of humankind. This process was in the interests of working people. It created the productive infrastructure needed for a more humane socialist society and at the same time created, educated and trained a working class capable of overthrowing the capitalist system. Marx strongly favored free trade....There were many workers in Marx's day who opposed industrial development, seeking to defend their increasingly outdated craftsman way of life. These workers sought to destroy the new machines of the industrial era. Their ideological descendants today seek to resist the technological transformation of the smokestack manufacturing industries as well as the internationalization of the labor process. Their efforts will be as futile as those of Silesian weavers and the hand glass blowers of more than a century ago."

Other ethnic groups should have it so rough. Jasmin Tuan of the Chinese American Service League, quoted in the Chicago Reporter (January) on an Osco commercial featuring an Asian pharmacist: "That's wonderful--they think we're all professionals. But I don't know what message that is sending."

Dept. of predictions. Americans United for Life, on South Dearborn, thinks the U.S. Supreme Court has authorized a legal atomic bomb against activists of all kinds. The court's January decision that the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) act applies to anti-abortion-clinic activists, says AUL, "may trigger RICO's abuse as a nuclear weapon against free speech rights" when exercised by environmental, animal-rights, and antinuclear groups as well. We'll see.

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

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