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The [Friday] Papers

Funny, Tribune Company got in trouble with its big Times-Mirror deal that eventually sunk them in part because they were depending on the FCC changing its media consolidation rules. Now the same issue threatens their deal with Sam Zell.

And that's probably what's holding up the sale of the Cubs, too.

They never learn.


99 More Years!

KGB Chicago
Maybe Rich Daley oughta quit this cowpoke town and go run the CIA. After all, he's obsessed with knowing everyone's business while maintaining his own secrecy.

"Daley Calls For Cameras To Sweep Up Parking Violators," the Sun-Times announces this morning.

What's next, cameras in our kitchens?

Pay to Play
"The Illinois House has passed the legislation [that would ban campaign contributors from contractors to state constitutional officeholders] by a 116-0 vote, and 46 of 59 state senators have indicated they're for it," the Sun-Times reports. "But a top Blagojevich ally, state Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), has kept the bill from being called for a Senate vote."

Seeing as how Barack Obama has named Jones as his political mentor, maybe Jones thinks there just isn't enough consensus yet on this issue.

Durbin Dynamo
Dick Durbin is far more the man in Illinois politics than his junior counterpart - the one running for president.

"U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) chided Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the state's legislative leaders Thursday for their 'inaction' regarding plans for a proposed regional airport near Peotone," the Tribune reports.

The disingenuousness of the Obama campaign's e-mails to supporters continues unabated. Here's the latest:


"I'm leaving the Tonight Show studio and I wanted to share something.

"Jay Leno just asked if it bothers me that some of the Washington pundits are declaring Hillary Clinton the winner of this election before a single vote has been cast.

"I'll tell you what I told him: Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare 'Mission Accomplished' a little too soon."

The Obama folks have been hitting this theme all week, but it isn't Hillary Clinton who is declaring her own inevitability - it's the Washington pundits Leno mentioned. And to equate Hillary Clinton - whom I have no intention of voting for - with George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" declaration is noxious.


Then, in his e-mail, Obama asks for more money.


Lynn Sweet writes today: I've been in Chicago listening to supporters of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). They're worried that Obama's message of change and hope is too vague and cautious."

Welcome aboard!

Obama's political watchword is caution. And yet, he's tried to brand himself as a change agent. Hello?

Not only that, but Obama has wasted all that enthusiasm and momentum by failing to actually propose a bold agenda of change. His positions aren't very different than anyone else's - there's nothing "change" about him, except his biography. And that's not enough.

But then, anyone looking at his record in Illinois - instead of his media-hyped marketing - could have predicted that.


That doesn't mean it's over. But the now-popular analogy to Howard Dean losing his big lead in 2004 is the wrong one. Dean was the insurgent candidate whom the Establishment was determined to torpedo. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's Establishment.

Today's Worst Person In Chicago
Ted Matlak. Ben Joravsky explains (second item).


Matlak and former First Ward Jesse Granato single-handedly destroyed Wicker Park and Bucktown - at the mayor's behest.

I'll never forget the night Granato wandered down to my end of the bar at the Beachwood one night after he'd been defeated for re-election by Manny Flores. Granato bitched and moaned about how he went along with the mayor straight down the line only to get thrown overboard at crunch time. He vowed to run again as a reformer; he went on and on about how corrupt Daley is.

I listened patiently until I couldn't take it anymore. Then I told him he should have spoken up when it mattered and sent him on his way.


Granato ran last year against Billy Ocasio in the 26th Ward. On Election Day, a friend of mine spotted him driving a car up and down the streets of Humboldt Park asking for people's votes over a Blues Brothers-style loudspeaker.


Not that Flores is any better. He's just a kinder, gentler, more photogenic hack.

Today's Hero
All hail Mona Shaw and her claw hammer!

The Beachwood's very own Marilyn Ferdinand wraps up this year's Chicago International Film Festival with two more reviews and a meditation on what it's all about. Catch up on all her festival coverage and her world of off-road films at Ferdy on Films, a Beachwood blog.

Private Mayor
The Tribune this week wrote about the places in Chicago it wasn't allowed access for its, um, "Unauthorized" series in Tempo that took you backstage and behind-the-scenes of various places around the city. One of those places was the mayor's "working desk." The paper wanted to know, simply, what was in the mayor's top desk drawer.

An innocuous request, really, unless that's where he keeps his favors list.

The paper called mayoral press spokesperson Jacquelyn Heard, whom, the Trib says, "first agreed to consider the story, [but] later she wouldn't answer our e-mails or return our calls."

Memo to Jackie: That's the taxpayers' desk. It doesn't belong to you or the mayor.

Reminds me of the time when I was at Chicago magazine and we were trying to do annotations of photographs of interesting Chicago places. We wanted to do the mayor's office. We figured we'd take a photo and draw lines to brief descriptions like "Photo of his dad," "White Sox hat," etc.

Heard didn't return repeated pleasant and polite phone messages. So in my last voice-mail message I very strongly offered her a civics lesson. That office, I explained, belongs to us. All we wanted was a photo and some fun descriptions. They could even hide evidence of their corrupt schemes if they wanted to.

That approach didn't work either. The arrogance of these people is astounding, and way out of proportion with their character or contributions to our lives - at least positive contributions. If I was working for a real news organization, we would have had a lawyer make the call and threaten a lawsuit. Really. This city's political culture needs to be dramatically re-oriented. It starts with giving no quarter.

Gimme a "C"
Larry Hagerup of Chicago writes to the Tribune:

Is Chicago still the City that Works? It won't be after Nov. 4, unless Mayor Richard M. Daley gets involved in the fight for CTA funding. For some reason the mayor is more interested in the Olympics than the CTA funding crisis.

My wife, who commutes daily on the CTA, called the mayor's office to register a complaint and was told through a spokesperson, "It's not the mayor's problem; you need to contact the state legislature."

Last time I checked, the CTA stands for the Chicago Transit Authority and Daley is the mayor of Chicago, so I think he needs to make it his problem. I know his father would have!

I'm also surprised that the press has let the mayor get away with such a laissez-faire attitude.

Lewis Bizarre notwithstanding, the season finale of Mad Men last night was the best and most gripping episode yet. The contours of the show are deepening beyond the show's surface beauty as the characters develop and their demons come to the fore. Plus, the after-show interviews showing what the actors look like in real life was just short of stunning.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Madness in your soul.


Posted on October 19, 2007

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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