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The [Friday] Papers

The Sun-Times guide today to the city's best corned beef - with St. Patrick's Day around the corner - reminds me of a curiosity about cultures and food. I grew up in a Reform Jewish home culturally poles apart far from Irish, but as you already know, corned beef is a Jewish deli food. We also ate tongue growing up, which I now eat in burritos here in Chicago; it's called lengua. Seems to me every culture eats just about the same foods, just prepared differently with different names.


From Garry Jaffe:
The S-T left out the absolute best corned beef in the city: Sinai Kosher's factory store on Pershing. Also the cheapest and leanest you've ever seen. The pastrami is great, too.


From Bethany Lankin:
Re: Plenty to beef about: St. Patrick's Day (or any day) is reason enough to celebrate Chicago's love affair with corned beef

"For starters: Irish spring rolls at Moher's, 5310 W. Devon, (773) 467-1954."

Come on . . . A deep fried veloute of green and white striped soap? Ugh. Do they taste fresh and clean as a whistle?


Obama Ears
"Sen. Barack Obama, who had been declining to reveal earmarks he requested in 2005 and 2006, finally did so Thursday and probably would prefer the story to be about how his campaign challenged Democratic presidential rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, to do the same for her entire Senate tenure," Lynn Sweet reports.

Indeed, Sweet has been writing for some time about Obama's refusal to dislose his earmarks, despite his campaign pledges of transparency - and his attacks on Hillary Clinton for, for example, not releasing her most recent tax filings. And indeed, it's part of a media strategy some might call cynical. To wit, this New York Times story today:

"Obama Lists His Earmarks, Asking Clinton For Hers."

The story begins: "Senator Barack Obama on Thursday released a list of $740 million in earmarked spending requests that he had made over the last three years, and his campaign challenged Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to do the same."

Sweet's headline was "Obama Lists Pet Projects, At Last."

The Times story includes this quote from Obama communications director Robert Gibbs: "If Senator Clinton will not agree to join Senator Obama in releasing her earmark requests, voters should ask why she doesn't believe they have the right to know how she wants to spend their tax dollars."

Sweet asked campaign spokesman Bill Burton "why the change of heart. 'Sen. Obama thought it was appropriate to release them,' Burton said."

After thinking about it for three years?

The Times said a spokesman for Clinton "did not address whether she would release a list of her requests."

Sweet reports that "Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said that Clinton 'has made public the funding she has helped to secure and will make public the requests she submits this year.'"

But in any case, what Clinton does is irrelevant to whether Obama's reality matches his rhetoric.

The Times, though, gives him the old soft-shoe: "Mr. Obama had previously released the requests for earmarks that he made last year. And Thursday's statement disclosed details of his requests from 2005 and 2006 for the kinds of home-state projects that critics often describe as pork-barrel politics."

Sweet, by contrast: "[S]ince I have some reporting history here, I am noting a pattern that has emerged: This is Obama's third ethical conversion of convenience - taking on a higher standard, but only when it appears to be politically expedient."

It's easy to see looking at Obama's earmarks why he hasn't been eager to trumpet his record. I didn't find an Obama earmark story in print version of the Tribune, but the home page website headline promoting its Swamp blog entry on the matter is "Obama Sought Funds For Wife's Employer."

Which we're only finding out about now.

Mess Hall
"Maybe Al Gore could jump in and fix the mess," the Tribune's Naftali Bendavid writes today of the Democratic presidential nomination battle.

Nobody likes some of the places this contest has taken us, but is it really a mess? I think this is more of how it should be. I wish more candidates were still in it. Before each primary or caucus we read about how excited folks are in states that never mattered before. Turnout is soaring. The candidates are being tested at least somewhat seriously. This is what it's all about. And a brokered convention? Party leaders don't like the idea because they want to put on a glossy show. But I don't get why journalists also seem to prefer a three-day display of each party's public relations skills to an actual real convention.


The story's contention that a party elder would have stepped in in the past to avoid convention chaos is also a-historical. Conventions actually used to be the place where nominees were chosen.


Memo to political reporters: Stop giving advice to pols and parties about how best to spin . . . yourselves . . . in an effort to manipulate the views of voters.

Health Care
"By the time Blagojevich came into power in 2003, lobbying the hospital board had grown into a fertile business," the Tribune reports in today's episode of Tony on Trial. "Many politically connected heavyweights had latched onto clients seeking permits or new facilities or, in some cases, seeking to block competitors from getting their projects approved."

And Tony Rezko was the man to see.

Via Chicago
* Local bands at South By Southwest.

Will County Hunting
* "From City Hall To Tomczak To Savio Case, A Tangled Web."

Cubs Scrub
So Jim Hendry signed Alfonso Soriano, then 31, to a team record eight-year, $136 million contract to play center field and leadoff, and it turns out he can't do either.

And he's hardly suited to batting second, which is Lou Piniella's new plan. Why not just it over with and make him the most expensive eight-hole hitter in baseball history?

Sam Spam
"Boy, is it fun to hate Tribune Co. and its new owner these days," Rick Telander writes this morning.

"But let me be the first at the Sun-Times to submit that maybe, just maybe, it's all a trifle over the top - our (meaning all things Sun-Times) endless bashing of anything having to do with 'the Tower,' the Cubs' sale, Wrigley Field improvements, naming rights for anything located anywhere near Addison and Clark, Sam Zell, anybody who might buy the Cubs or my favorite hoo-ha creation of scorn, 'Tribsters.'"

Yes. But that doesn't change the fact that Zell is evil.


"Whatever [Sam Zell] wants, I'm opposed to," Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete) tells the paper. "Going way back on my mobile-home legislation, I've always been an advocate for those who live in manufactured-home parks. He owned most of them and treated the residents like dirt. That's left a sour taste in everybody's mouth, this wealthy man who thinks he can do anything he wants because he has money. It's sickening."


"The [Speaker's] law firm represents properties owned by Zell's company," Michael Madigan's mouth, Steve Brown, said. "The Speaker decided the best course of action would be to recuse himself . . . [and] because he's not involved, he's decided not to form an opinion on it."

Comedy Gold
"Lincoln Park Zoo Chimp Expert Says . . . ITS NOT FUNNY."

Oh but it is.

From Marty Gangler: Okay - chimps are endangered. I got it. Now dress up the ones we have like Groucho and make them dance.

The Beachwood Tip Line: It really is.


Posted on March 14, 2008

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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