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The [Friday] Papers

The life and death of Anna Nicole Smith is surely a metaphor for contemporary American (even self-) exploitative celebrity culture, as well as its attendant greed, ambition, and self-esteem issues, and what happens to women who are only valued by society for their bodies and imagined sexual availability. You know who would have been great at that essay? Hunter Thompson. His specialty, after all, was the contorted pursuit of the American Dream in all its grotesque and outsized varieties.

Offensive Rush
"They're dumping on this guy - Rex Grossman- for one reason, folks, and that's because he is a white quarterback."

Rush to War
Why is the press reluctant to challenge authority at times when the country most needs a vigorous, questioning fourth estate - like on the eve of war?

Or most other times, really.

Special Olympics Bill
It's coming.

Gray Line
"As for [mayoral challenger Dorothy] Brown's complaint about the CTA's aging rail cars, [Daley spokeswoman Michelle] Jones noted that the CTA Board approved the purchase of 406 new rail cars last spring," the Sun-Times reports. "The new cars are due in 2010."

So at least they're thinking ahead.

Message: Hope
Among Barack Obama's expenditures so far, according to Lynn Sweet:

"More than $100,000 in consulting fees in 2005 and 2006 to the Chicago-based AKP Message and Media firm. Firm founder David Axelrod is one of Obama's most influential strategists; he will make his ads and shape his message. Obama's AKP partner David Plouffe is Obama's campaign manager. Obama worked out of the AKP Washington offices - as did other Obama presidential staff - after announcing his exploratory bid a few weeks ago."

Don't ever forget that Obama's "message" is being "shaped." By the same guy who "shapes" Daley's "message."

Pueblo Dispatch

* Have a Healthy Heart All Year.

* Get Internet Safe.

* Women Traveling Alone.

Neighborhood Guy
"For more than ten years, Chicago's neighborhoods have been at the mercy of a development boom not seen since the turn of the last century. Chicago's overly permissive zoning ordinance, couple with the immoral relationship between zoning changes and campaign contributions, has had a debilitating effect on some neighborhoods where block after block of historic architecture has been destroyed in the name of 'progress.'

"In addition, no building type has been spared: workman's cottages in Bucktown and East Village, American four-squares in Edgewater and Old Irving, carpenter gothic frame two-flats in Roscoe Village, brick bungalows in Portage Park, graystones in Lakeview, Italianates in Norwood Park, and Queen Anne townhomes in Lincoln Park. These neighborhoods have also lost many anchor buildings on their commercial streets, including movie theaters, roller rinks, commercial flats, terra cotta storefronts, hotels, and numerous historic churches.

"Adding insult to injury, what has replaced these wonderful buildings is perhaps some of the ugliest and most shoddily built architecture ever to grace a city street."

- Jonathan Fine, Message From the President, winter issue of The Voice, The Quarterly Journal Of Preservation Chicago

Debating Daley
Wouldn't you love to see the mayor questioned by a panel including Fine, Jackie Leavy from the (dissolving) Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, John Kass, Jesse Jackson Jr., Jay Stewart of the Better Government Association?

Shouldn't the mayor have to face questions in public like . . . Who hired Angelo Torres? What is the TIF budget? Do you deny any knowledge of how the city has hired employees during your 17 years in office? Then what kind of mayor are you? Do you want to amend your accusation that proponents of the big-box ordinance are racists? Why did you feel it necessary to make a series of moves recently to mollify African Americans and Hispanics as the campaign season got underway? Do you think Todd Stroger is doing a good job?

Protest Vote
* "Jury: Seattle Liable For WTO Arrests."

* "Records Show Extra Scrutiny Of Detainees in '04 Protests."

We love outward expressions of democracy in other countries. Just not our own.

Suicide Squeeze
The American Association of Suicidology is mad about that GM Super Bowl ad.

Prairie View
Garrison Keillor seems to like Hagel vs. Hillary.

Make It Stop
Mary Schmich writes about the weather again. She's been bucking for Skilling's job for years. I will not link.

Artful Dodger
I'm sure Ted Matlak tried really, really hard to save the Artful Dodger.

"Matlak said his campaign receives many donations from real estate interests because many developers live in the ward and 'they like what's going on in the neighborhood.'"


Little Russ
"Tim Russert's handling of his involvement in Plamegate speaks volumes about the very chummy relationship that has developed between the Washington press corps and government officials, and reflects badly on Russert's commitment to journalistic transparency and to keeping the public - and even NBC management," Arianna Huffington writes.

Favorite Sons
Lincoln vs. Obama.

Collins Crash
The trial continues on the anniversary of the plane crash that killed WGN radio host Bob Collins.

Lawsuit Line
Another CTA tragedy. I've been on icy platforms overcrowded because of trains coming at such a slow pace and suggested to CTA workers that something awful could happen and they should tell folks the trains aren't coming, or limit the number of people on the platforms, or at least de-ice the damn platforms. Met with shrugs every time.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Always on call.


Posted on February 9, 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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