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The [Friday] Papers

1. The Tribune's David Haugh follows up on a recent USA Today story about the racist hate mail received by Cubs manager Dusty Baker with an appropriately skeptical piece of his own. It's still not clear just how much of this mail Baker is receiving, and how that compares to the mail other managers in other cities receive - or how it compares to the regular flow of racist (and anti-Semitic) mail that journalists and others receive.

That's not to dismiss the issue; it's to point out that we're still lacking a context and proportion by which to consider the matter.

2. "[Sports sociologist Harry] Edwards was in the Bay Area when Baker made public similar letters, which most players and managers receive, when he was San Francisco's manager," Haugh reports. "Type the words 'hate mail' and 'baseball managers' into an Internet search engine for national newspapers, and Baker is the only manager referenced in the last 13 years.

"Neither White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen nor predecessor Jerry Manuel ever mentioned receiving the type of racist mail Baker received, according to vice president of communications Scott Reifert, though Guillen recently raved that white managers 'don't like a Latino kicking this ass.'"

3. Neil Steinberg has never been to Mexico, but he argues today that it certainly can't be such a hellish place to live that, say, multitudes of Mexicans risk their lives to cross the border to a better life in America at substandard wages with not much more than the shirts on their back.

4. "Black people prefer to be the sole arbiters of all things racial," Steinberg also writes today.

Because it's not white racial arbiters who determined in the original U.S. Constitution that blacks were less than a full person, or who enslaved black people, or who built separate drinking fountains for blacks, or who precisely placed the Dan Ryan Expressway in a way that would keep blacks out of Bridgeport, or who scam the city's minority contracting program by pretending to be black, or who say Chicago needs a white mayor, or . . . oh, never mind. White people like Steinberg are sick and tired of blacks using race to their advantage.

5. "Black City Contracts Stuck At 9%."

6. Judy Baar Topinka is proposing a Chicago casino to boost education funding.

But if she were to become governor, it still wouldn't be up to her to decide where to use the state's last available gaming license, would it? There happens to be this entity called the Illinois Gaming Board. In fact, as part of Topinka's budget proposal, she calls for gaming board reform to make it more independent. "The IGB should be free to regulate casino gaming in Illinois without political influence," her proposal says.

Just trying to square things up.

7. So under Topinka's plan, the amount of money committed to schools would depend on how much money people lose gambling.

When school funding lagged, would she call for odds more favorable to the house? Or maybe advertising campaigns calling on citizens to "Roll the bones for Johnny!"

I guess that's what you call Illinois Hold 'Em.

8. After showing a clip of Mayor Daley's reaction to Topinka's plan, Chicago Tonight moderator Eddie Arruza last night turned to panelist Bruce Dold, the Tribune's editorial page editor, and said: "Can you decipher exactly what he's trying to say?"

9. What Daley said, in part: "I don't care if it's private. I don't care if it's public. I don't care if it's owned by anyone."

10. The Virgin Mary Latte.

11. "Daley Warns College Costs May Lead To Fewer Births."

And the problem is?

12. Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" doesn't mock clean living, it mocks an intrusive, celebrity-obsessed press. And what Adam Ant "did do" is clear by the end of the video.

13. Deadly Debra Double-Shot: Prideful Yuppie Consumption Plus The Most Self-Absorbed Public Pregnancy In Chicago History.

14. Sneed "reports" that, unlike similar remarks from the Dixie Chicks, she has "yet to hear a whisper for criticism over veteran crooner Linda Ronstadt telling a Canadian newspaper, 'I'm embarrassed George Bush is from the United States.' Guess when your star fades, so does your audience."

Well, Sneed should know.

15. Sneed is right, though; far from being criticized, Ronstadt's remark spurred conservative MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, to moderate a much-commented upon segment titled "Is Bush An Idiot?"

Conclusion: Yes.

16. Speaking of fading stars, Mancow Muller's syndicated show has been dropped by KKZR-FM in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mancow was drawing less than a 1 rating among listeners over the age of 12. "I could put on a montage of sheep bleats and get better ratings," the station's operations manager told the Tribune's Phil Rosenthal.

17. This one's for you, Milwaukee

18. I grew up in Minneapolis. It's a great town. But I can tell you there's no way, sadly, that it's the second-drunkest city in America. Probably not even in the top ten. In the Midwest. And by the way, Chicago's sorry showing is Daley's fault.

19. Memo to Patti Blagojevich: The governor is always fair game, and maybe if he didn't have such a penchant for alienating the press and other pols, particularly those of his own party, the media mob wouldn't have felt so compelled to descend on him with a barrage of questions even though he conveniently had a child in his arms.

20. "We need to rethink some of these codes," Greg Couch of the Sun-Times writes today. "Some might build trust, but most are counterproductive, convoluted, and childish. Maybe instead of living by codes, we can actually think?"

21. "It isn't giving your word that's important. It's who you give your word to."

- Dutch, The Wild Bunch

22. "Sorich Granted Immunity To Testify."

23. School reform is working.

24. Chicken and the egg.

25. The Foie Gras Follies.

26. Beachwood Memberships now come with free columns sent to your browser, plus What I Watched Last Night daily.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Force-fed daily.


Posted on August 25, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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