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The [Friday] Papers

1. In the wake of Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling homosexuality immoral, Neil Steinberg asked Barack Obama about his view of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Unasked and unanswered is why Obama also thinks homosexuality is immoral.

2. Mayor Daley says today that Chicago 's Olympic bid is nothing like the train wreck that is London's Olympic bid. He's right. London didn't have to factor in the cost of handing out contracts to the mayor's friends.

3. "Former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) said Tuesday that White House political adviser Karl Rove told him in the spring of 2001 that he should limit his choice for U.S. attorney in Chicago to someone from Illinois," the Tribune reported this week.

"Fitzgerald said he believes Rove was trying to influence the selection in reaction to pressure from Rep. Dennis Hastert, then speaker of the House, and allies of then-Gov. George Ryan, who knew Fitzgerald was seeking someone from outside Illinois to attack political corruption."

One might say that Peter Fitzgerald - whose seat Obama won after Fitzgerald decided not to run for re-election - was far more an independent reform politician than Obama. After all, unlike Obama, Fitzgerald not only appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to the U.S. attorney's post (do you think Obama would have gone out of his way to dis the mayor and his cronies to hire an out-of-state prosecutor to clean up the town?), he took on pork in his own state and corruption in his own party.

4. Identity theft is overrated.

5. "[Forty-eight] percent of Illinois corporations with sales of $50 million or more annually have paid no corporate income taxes from 1997 to 2005, according to the governor's office of management and budget. The Citizens for Tax Justice study found Boeing did not pay income taxes to any state during two of the three years studied, 2001 to 2003. During the two years in which Boeing did not pay state corporate income taxes, the company turned a combined profit of $3.1 billion," reports Scott Reeder of the Small Newspaper Group.

"Ironically, local and state taxpayers provided the aircraft manufacturer with $61 million in incentives to relocate to Chicago from Seattle in 2001. A new Boeing 747 jet sells for more than $200 million."

6. So . . . if the governor's proposed gross receipts tax is meant to collect what corporations aren't paying because of loopholes, shouldn't we just close the loopholes?

7. Bob Novak still can't get his own story straight. The fact that Patrick Fitzgerald knew at the start of his investigation that Richard Armitage had leaked Valerie Plame's name didn't obviate a closer examination which revealed - as the authors of Hubris have also exhaustively reported and discussed (low in segment) - that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove were directing a seperate smear campaign through their tool Scooter Libby.

8. Last month Robert Feder reported that WMAQ-Channel 5 had cut ties with freelance reporter Peter Karl and his weekly stories of unsolved murders. Feder first wrote about Karl last year because he was also being paid ($468,000 in 2006) by the Chicago Police Department to produce the public relations vehicle CrimeWatch, as well as police training videos which netted him at least $100,000.

The conflict of interest seems clear. How can a reporter work for both the police department and a TV station producing police stories?

As Feder reports, Karl apparently has now lost his Channel 5 gig to budget cuts.

But I still have to wonder if the police department is getting it's (taxpayer-)money's worth for CrimeWatch, which is still airing. Seems like a lot of money for a show barely anyone sees with unproven effectiveness.

9. The news from Pueblo, Colorado.

* Your Credit Card Rights.

* Scleroderma.

* Books on the "Pursuit of Happiness".

10. "Tribune to add weekend RedEye edition."
A) In place of book review in new target marketing strategy. Also, Family Circus moves to editorial page.
B) Now stupid seven days a week!
C) So drunken Cubs fans will always know what day it is.

11. The Land of My Dreams.

12. "For the record, our own real-time reactions: We were a bit surprised by Obama's performance, finding him just a bit disjointed. (We think of him as a superlative speaker.) We thought Clinton did surprisingly well. And then, the next morning, the lying began."

13. "When their story turns out to be a lie, they just change it. And the press pretends the new story's true until it's exposed. Wise up!" a member of the Beachwood Nation says. "Everyone should start from the position that whatever the White House says is a lie."

City Hall too.

14. A redesigned Sun-Times debuts April 4th, sources say. Apparently some columnists will now appear in full-body shots. That'll boost circulation.

You know, newspapers can redesign until they're blue in the face, but the only way to increase readership is to invest in reporting. It's really that simple.

15. "15 Secrets Debt Counselors Wish You Knew."

16. "Democracy's Near-Death in Chicago."

17. Northwest Tower at risk?

18. Help Save the Planet.

"As we prepare to send this issue to press, we send it off not quite knowing where it's going once its done. In early January, the Independent Press Association, the not-for-profit organization that housed our distributor, Indy Press Newsstand Services, announced it was going out of business. Distributed magazines, they said, were being handed over to Disticor, a large Canadian distributor. However, we have yet to hear from. It's a difficult time to be an independent magazine. It is with a certain degree of urgency that I tell you that the very best way to support Punk Planet, as well as your other favorite independent titles, is to subscribe."

19. Unbelievable and totally real Siskel & Ebert outtakes. (Via Rick Kaempfer.)

20. The gossip about the Sun-Times redesign is that the paper spent a ton of dough on focus groups in order to find out that Chicagoans want to read about . . . Chicago. The paper's leaders have apparently also tried to fire up the staff by telling them the Trib has signed their "death warrant." Folks at the Sun-Times were also told, sources say, to keep the whole thing "hush-hush from Mike Miner and the Beachwood." Aw, shucks.

21. When asked why the paper didn't invest more in the paper's website, Editor-in-Chief Michael Cooke was heard to say that nobody believes what they read on the Internet.

I'll leave the punchlines to you. Too easy.

22. Opening statements in the trial of Conrad Black are scheduled for Monday. Black is being represented by two Fast Eddies - Edward Greenspan of Canada and Ed Genson of local fame. Two years ago I wrote a profile of Genson called "Devil's Advocate."

(Patrick Fitzgerald won't be personally prosecuting the case, but five years ago I wrote a piece about him called "The New Face of the Law.")

The Beachwood Tip Line: Under budget and on-time.


Posted on March 16, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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