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The [Friday] Papers

I have a multitude of things to attend to today, and it's already been an exhausting week here at Beachwood HQ, so The Papers will return on Monday.

In the meantime, though, please check out these fine new Beachwood offerings.

* Scott Buckner is positively on fire as our new chief What I Watched Last Night writer (submissions welcome, as they are for all of our ongoing features). I don't mind telling you that our TV criticism is the best in the city. The first installment of our rolling Mid-Season Review is here.

* Barista! has recovered from the holidays and is back with another fine installment. If you haven't been reading her column, you've truly been missing out.

* In Sports, we have new installments this week, as always, of The Sporting Life, The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report, and Over/Under.

* The Political Odds have changed; Obama's chances of getting the nomination are on the board.

* The Music page is running four ongoing features at the moment: Chicago In Song, Bin Dive, Playlist, and Don's Root Cellar.

* If you missed them the first time, catch up with such series' as Home for the Holidays and On The Juice.

* The Papers and Weekend Desk Report archives are here. Section archive links are located on the top left rail of each section front, and then organized by month.

* And I'm happy to announce that we've completed a move to a new host/server and added tech support that will help us build a bigger and better Beachwood. Thanks to our readers, and thanks to our members, whose support has literally kept this project alive at a couple key junctures. More to come.

The [Thursday] Papers
No one will be rooting harder for the Bears on Sunday than President George W. Bush. Do you think he really wants two weeks of worldwide Katrina retrospectives and footage of an entire American city still decimated and virtually abandoned by his administration?

Not to mention it's New Orleans, not Kansas City or Des Moines. It's a city of world renown, except that now it's barely a city.

A Saints victory might be the best thing that can happen to New Orleanians if it brings them not only the short-term pleasure of having a team in the Super Bowl, but a renewed public policy effort spurred by the renewed attention the city will get.

Cheesy Sex-Times
Meanwhile, back in Chicago . . .

"With the Bears one win away from the Super Bowl, why ask Chicago gals to rate players on their sex appeal?" asks news staff reporter Mark J. Konkol in the Sun-Times today, in "Punter Voted Sexiest Bear In Sun-Times Online Vote."

"That's easy. Even ladies not caught up in the playoff buzz can appreciate a tight end - or running back or quarterback or linebacker - in tight pants."

This is wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start. I guess Chicago really is the smallest big city in the country.

End Times
Twelve pages after the sexy punter story: "Scientists Warn Of Nuclear Apocalypse."

Under "Obama Sizing Up Abe's Old Digs."

Pander Bear
Bears fans are lucky that, even with no serious opposition, it's a mayoral election year.

Two Chicagolands
"Draw a map of Chicago-area communities where businesses have received state subsidies. Now draw another of places plagued by joblessness," reports the Tribune's Stephen Franklin.

"The result, according to a watchdog group that examined 15 years of subsidies to companies in the six-county Chicago-area, are two maps that barely touch."

Supreme Legacy
Today's Dreamgirls are the ones who front The Detroit Cobras.

Civility Coarse
The next time the Tribune editorial board calls for more civility to soothe our coarsening public dialogue, send them a note asking why they carry Jonah Goldberg's column. Ask if they oughtn't fact-check it, too. They are the mainstream media, after all, which is devoted to accuracy and reason, unlike, say, bloggers.

Obama's Army
"His immediate challenge is to simultaneously assure Democratic partisans that he is liberal enough for them while convincing everyone else he is conservative enough for them," a political strategist writes unapologetically.

Oh wait. That was from the Tribune's Steve Chapman today.

From a journalistic perspective, I would say Obama's challenge is to tell us why he should be president, and what he intends to do should he win the office. Behaving in the manner expressed by Chapman is unacceptable. It's the kind of politics we're all sick of, and if Obama, especially Obama, participates in it while advertising himself as an agent of changing the political culture, he should be eviscerated for it.

Political Predictor
"Obama's achievements, on the other hand, are mostly in his future," Chapman writes, comparing him to Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been "the No. 1 person in the armed forces of the most powerful nation on Earth."

I'm not entirely comfortable electing a president based on their "future achievements."

The Trouble With Obama
He plunges us deeper into celebrity politics, instead of saving us from them.

Friends of Barack
Plus, anyone who has so much support from the political Establishment is immediately suspect. He isn't threatening enough to the existing order, the way Howard Dean was.

I mean, my God, the Daleys are on board.

Obama Avenue
"Barack Obama is a lawyer by training, but could easily have made a career on Madison Avenue, where 'impressions' are the holy grail. The most effective commercials are those that provoke the consumer to provide her own impressions of the product, through word and image association. Obama's special genius is to elicit self-generated positive impressions from a wide range of consumers/observers - most dramatically, from consumers across the color line - while saying nothing of substance," writes Glen Ford, executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

"Corporate media, an extension of Madison Avenue, eats this crap up. Barack Obama has "wide appeal" and is, therefore, a "saleable" product. But what are they selling, and to whom?"

Bush's War
"The United Nations reported Tuesday that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed in violence last year, a figure that represents the first comprehensive annual count of civilian deaths and a vivid measure of the failure of the Iraqi government and American military to provide security," The New York Times reports.

More than 34,000. Last year alone.

Think of how distraught we are about 3,000 American casualties, and then, just as an exercise, multiply that by ten. Last year alone.

Not counting the rest of the destruction.

So yeah, Iraqis are kinda pissed at us.

In Today's Reporter
* Tank vs. Troutman. From the Police Raid Affairs Desk.
* Political Odds. Obama's chances of getting the nomination are on the board.
* I'm the Tribune/I'm the Sun-Times. I suck and I don't know why.

Knowing Jack
Maybe I didn't give Kiefer Sutherland a fair chance.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Just handlebars, and five-point stars.


Posted on January 19, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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