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With the right sauce I think I could. "The rhetoric of apology distorts animal rights discourse in many ways," complains Karen Davis in a recent issue of the Animals' Agenda. "Activists warn each other that the public will never care about chickens. Therefore, the only way to persuade people to stop eating chickens is to emphasize the effects of chicken consumption on human health and the environment. To accept this defeatist view, however, is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.... Believing that others will never care about chickens projects the feeling, 'I don't think I can ever care much about chickens.'"

Only once a year:

I. Morning pick-me-up. Among the Art Institute Museum Shop's suggested holiday gifts for men: a 12-ounce coffee cup and half-pound coffee canister, each with a hand-screened reproduction of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, "depicting three isolated people stopping by an all-night diner for a cup of coffee."

II. For the architect who thinks it's still 1964. Among the "specialized gifts for architects and builders" at Toyscape on North Broadway are "Bauhaus-style toys from Switzerland."

III. Nobody here but us gerbils. According to Fitness Experience, Inc., in Addison, "People who used to spend $2,000 on a stereo or wide-screen television are choosing to spend their money on a premium-quality treadmill that can be used by the whole family."

IV. Murphy's children's law, from Loop personal-injury attorney Jeffrey Goldberg: "When buying a toy you must anticipate that the child will use that toy in the most injurious way possible."

"This election was a Republican landslide only on the surface," writes Jon-Henri Damski in Windy City Times (November 17). "Scratch these people and you will find an ex- or evolved Democrat. There's no real difference from city ex-Democrats like Daley, O'Malley, Burke, Mell--the Shaw brothers, Lipinski, Stroger, Butler, Maldonado and Lechowicz. We are quickly becoming a one-party nation; like Ronald Reagan, all ex-Democrats."

Careful! Don't remind the mayor he just got rid of one! "About the only amenity the Windy City is missing," according to Loop attorney Joel Malkin and architect Alphonse Diaz, "is a year-round fresh-food and flower market." They'd like to see it in the pedway under Block 37 next to Marshall Field's. At least there the University of Illinois won't get to it for another generation.

The "gift of the nineties--it's ecologically sound, politically correct, gender neutral and will help some of the world's hungriest people produce food for themselves." It comes from Heifer Project International's Christmas catalog (876-9991) and starts at $20 (to provide a third-world family with a flock of baby chicks) and runs up to $5,000 (an "ark," with camels, llamas, sheep, water buffalo, rabbits, bees, donkeys, mules, goats, ducks, geese, and pigs, guinea and real).

I'm sorry, you don't seem to realize that you have the wrong feelings. From a 1990 study of West Town gentrification by Erie House and the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs, as recalled by Maureen Hellwig in the Network Builder (Fall): "Families reported paying rents that were 50 and 60 percent of their income. Still others reported a pattern of relatives and friends migrating to areas like Cicero and Berwyn where they could buy a house for much less than what it cost in West Town. Ironically, many residents reported positive feelings toward the new investment. It was good to see the neighborhood improving."

One of the few state Democratic legislators to run better in 1994 than 1992--North Shore Representative Jeffrey Schoenberg--ran into right field to do it, as explained in Illinois Politics (November): "Rep. Schoenberg was the first Democrat to speak against the Netsch tax plan....His campaign brochures were strongly Republican in nature, with no mention of statewide Democrats. During one key debate late in the campaign, Schoenberg mentioned Governor Edgar's name 12 times, praising the governor for his management of state finances."

Things Ross Perot doesn't want to know, from an analysis of 1990 U.S. census data by UIC economist Barry Chiswick and Texas sociologist Teresa Sullivan. Percentage of native-born men aged 25 to 64 in the labor force: 87. Of immigrants: 89. Of recent (1985-'90) Mexican immigrants: 92.

"The Republicans have merely captured the center of American politics--the anxious and angry haves, who include much of the middle class as well as the rich," according to Michael Lind in the New Republic (December 5). "Just as the haves are fortifying their neighborhoods, turning the cheerful suburbs of the '60s into the armed enclaves of the '90s, so they are barricading themselves in with their FDR-to-Johnson subsidies. They will execute every prisoner and throw every unwed mother into prostitution before they accept cuts in Social Security, housing subsidies or student loans. They are the New Dealers from hell." Happy New Year.

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

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