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The [Friday] Papers

The Chicago Sun-Times leads its front page today with "Guilty Plea By Worker Who Wore Wire," the latest installment of the Hired Truck Scandal, James Laski Edition. The Chicago Tribune goes with "Offensive Targets Rebels," about the massive U.S. airborne assault in Iraq.

Each a justifiable choice.

But when I see stories like the AP dispatch "What Happened Right After Big Bang? Inflation" on Page 36 of today's Sun-Times, I wonder if they shouldn't be on the front page.

I mean, I know it's not "local" news per se. Or even "national." You see where I'm going with this.

But consider:

"Physicists announced Thursday that they now have the smoking gun that shows the universe went through extremely rapid expansion in the moments after the big bang, growing from the size of a marble to a volume larger than all of observable space in less than a trillion-trillionth of a second.

"The discovery is the first direct evidence to support the two-decade-old theory that the universe went through what is called inflation.

"It also helps explain how matter eventually clumped together into planets, stars and galaxies in a universe that began as a remarkably smooth, superhot soup."

I mean, c'mon! That's not front page news? The size of a marble to a volume larger than all of observable space! In less than a trillion-trillionth of a second! Into a remarkably smooth, superhot soup!

This is so good it's almost tabloid fare.

It reminds me of an Onion headline from 1969:

Neil Armstrong's Historic First Words on Moon:

Was a truer headline ever written anywhere?

Perhaps we all should just be a little bit more in awe of the world--the universe--around us. Maybe a more universal perspective could spare us offensives against rebels and wire-wearing city employees. Thinking large could keep us all from acting small.

Get Well Cards
Neil Steinberg and the Sun-Times apologize here and at the bottom here for Steinberg's hamhanded column on Wednesday about John Stroger's health.

The Chicago Tribune's editorial page comes back respectfully asking for more disclosure of Stroger's medical condition so voters can make an informed choice in Tuesday's primary.

Nuclear Episode
Beachwood Special Correspondent Tim Willette was perplexed Wednesday at the poor play given this story in Wednesday's Sun-Times about radioactive tritium that was accidentally released from the Braidwood nuclear plant into the groundwater in Will County.

Today the paper follows up with a story in which Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow likens the Braidwood nuclear plant to the Springfield nuclear plant in The Simpsons.

"In reviewing how ComEd and Exelon have operated," the Sun-Times quoted Glasgow as saying, "it reminded me of the Homer Simpson episode I saw where Homer worked at the local reactor and would put his jelly doughnut on the control panel. It's that bad."

I'm guessing from that quote that Glasgow doesn't watch The Simpsons, but nice try.

I'm also guessing that Glasgow is right, as is the state for filing a lawsuit, and that Braidwood deserves a full journalistic examination. Not only is there an outstanding question about the health risks posed by the Braidwood plant, and the apparent sloppiness with which it is run, but the state alleges that ComEd/Exelon failed to report the leakage.

I'm also guessing that the story would have gotten more attention and Braidwood a full vetting by journalists if it were located say, in Lincoln Park, Evanston, or on North Michigan Avenue.

But I'm just guessing.

Sample Ballot
A smiling Tom Dart, candidate for Cook County Sheriff, appears today in one of those ads for the clouty O'Brien's Restaurant that frequenly appears in the Sun-Times, saying "Great Food . . . Strictly Enforced!"

So we're against him.

Terence J. O'Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, also known as the Taxpayer Reclamation District, also appears in an O'Briens ad today, saying, "O'Briens, The Water Is Great!"

So we're against him, too.

Today in the Reporter
Still unsure of who to vote for in Tuesday's primaries? Let us help.

Still unsure of who to lay extra dough on in the NCAAs? Let us help.

Still unsure of whether Slobodan Milosevic was poisoned? Let us help.

Catch up with this week's Papers here.

Watch for our Weekend Desk report this, um, weekend. And a raft of new features next week.

Advertising, gift subscriptions, and begging for money coming soon, so start a Beachwood Savings Jar at home, and when we're ready to relieve you of it, we'll let you know.

Many thanks to our fine readers. We just may have something here.

Our Tip Line: Better than their tip line.


Posted on March 17, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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