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"I feel really torn and confused when I go to a store in Chicago that offers both organic and non-organic produce," writes organic farmer Kimberely Rector of Angelic Organics in Farm News (August 5). "As a farmer, making about $1.50 an hour, I seldom have very much cash in my pockets. I normally don't have to make a choice between organic and non-organic produce; I eat abundantly out of our all-organic garden. But if I want a mango (a crop that doesn't grace our farm)--should I buy an organic one for $2.29 (that's an hour and a half of my sweat), when I can buy 3 chemically ones for $1.49 (that's just 20 minutes of my sweat per fruit)? Ouch. I feel like I'm shooting myself in the foot either way. If organic farmers can't count on other organic farmers to support their products--who can we count on? But if I spend an hour and a half working to pay off a mango, I'll never even get around to my school loans."

"The glue that has held the American Jewish community together for almost 50 years is no more," writes Joseph Aaron in the Chicago Jewish News (September 1-7). "For almost half a century...all one had to say were the words 'Holocaust' or 'Israel,' to evoke a visceral sense of emotional connection in Jews, causing them to reflexively support Jewish institutions, causing them to instinctively understand the importance of being a part of the Jewish people. For good or bad, that no longer works with Jews in their 20s and 30s. The Holocaust is to them a part of history, as tragic but as far away as the Spanish Inquisition."

"No human being, straight or gay, feels 'at ease' with his sexuality," writes Harvey Mansfield in the Wall Street Journal (August 31), reviewing Andrew Sullivan's new book Virtually Normal. "If nothing else, the postures required for sex are ridiculous and do not accord with the dignity we like to claim for ourselves. So almost no one has sex in public. And from the inevitable shame of sex one might infer that sex does not reach into the core of our being, as Mr. Sullivan says. Only something more important than sex could make us want to hide it. If Mr. Sullivan lost his reason, he would be less himself than if he changed his sexuality."

Free education! Free entertainment! Is anybody listening? Annual Chicago Public Library circulation (books and other materials) per resident, in the 21 predominantly white wards: 3.22. In the 7 majority Latino wards: 1.89. In the 19 majority black wards: 1.75 (Chicago Reporter, July).

As others see us. What can you find to wear in the Daily Planet "global clothing and gifts" catalog (fall 1995) out of Saint Paul? Himalayan hand-embroidered dresses, hand-batiked jackets from Indonesia, a traditional Thai farmer's shirt, and--a Chicago policeman's jacket. The description reads: "Chicago blues, as brave and tough as the city they protect. Here's their jacket, the real thing in distressed black top grain cowhide with pockets inside and out, brass 'Chicago Police' buttons, storm cuffs, button epaulets and double front closure for warmth. Authentic patches [rectangular city flag, octagonal "Chicago Police" logo] are also included for you to attach." Price: $345.

Do women pay less attention to their families when they work outside the home? Not according to a new report by Isik Aytac and Linda Waite of the Population Research Center on East 60th Street. "Both men and women find the time and energy to provide the help needed by others, perhaps cutting back on their own leisure, social, or other activities to do so," they write. "The only corner that employed women cut appears in provision of instrumental help to parents. By the same token, retirement does not appear to encourage either men or women to increase the amount of help and support they provide to parents, adult children or siblings."

Good weather + improving habitat = more mallards. A recent Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release intends to inform hunters that "excellent breeding populations of ducks and geese this year mean...the greatest hunting opportunities...since 1930."

The revolution that wasn't. Kevin Phillips writes in the Washington Post National Weekly (August 14-20): "Two decades ago, the Republicans nailed the Democrats--and not inaccurately--as the party of acid, amnesty and abortion. Now, they themselves could be just as validly indicted as the party of gunk, gun clubs and granny-bashing.... [Public] disillusionment isn't going to be overcome with cosmetic reforms, smaller-government speeches written by unsafe-meat lobbyists, term-limits gimmicks and Republican influence-peddlers replacing Democratic influence-peddlers at the trough."

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

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