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The [Friday] Papers

Sorry for the delay this morning, I ran into a still unresolved technical glitch. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this can be sometimes. KILL!

Oh, Iowa!
"A year ago, Barack Obama was winding up his second year in the U.S. Senate," Lynn Sweet writes.

"Obama apparently wasn't hurt by his lackluster debate performances," she adds later.

"Hope, Obama's signature message, led campaign manager David Plouffe and [David] Axelrod to design an aspirational campaign, rather than one oriented to issuing white papers and 10-point plans," she continues.

In other words, fluff wins over substance again! It's a new day!

Media Mandate
"The other night, I watched [Hillary Clinton] walk into the lobby of the Hotel Fort Des Moines with her husband, the former president," the normally superb Carol Marin writes.

"What struck me was how much Obama moves like Bill Clinton. With a graceful ease, he practically turns the lights on as he arrives. Hillary is different. She is smiling, focused, but so much more tightly drawn.

"Though issues certainly matter, a candidate's humanness does too."

For example, we all know how much George W. Bush's folksy Texas amble and regular guy bit portended for his presidency.

When will we grow up?

Counter Spin
Didn't it drive Democrats crazy when the vacuous Ronald Reagan managed to become so popular because he was so amiable? This is the presidency, folks. It's a serious job. The media's perception of a candidate's "humanness" means nothing when it comes to delivering health care or having a deft sense of foreign policy. Can we please leave high school behind?

And Howe!
Beachwood reader Tim Howe writes: While watching MSNBC last night during coverage of the Iowa caucuses, Keith Olbermann was asking Tim Russert whether he thought the emphasis on Iowa was disproportionate. Russert replied (and I'm going to paraphrase) that "No, because I watched these citizens talk face to face with the candidates and ask them some very tough, intelligent questions, and force the candidates to answer.

"I wonder if Russert was taking any notes so he could learn to do the same?"

Mystery Caucus Theater
Brought to you by our Mystery Debate Theater 2007 team.

Catch up with such gems as:

7:55: Some schlumpy correspondent is making a fool of himself at Merrill Middle School, asking caucus voters: "Are you happy? Are you happy with the comments you heard?" Um, that's the best you could come up with after a year of preparation?

Tim: And didn't I see you in that leather bar?

Correspondent: What do you watch for the rest of the night?

Steve: Um, Petticoat Junction?

Tim: Obviously you have no life. I assume you're going home to watch television.

Rod Baloneyvich
The Sun-Times editorial page confronts the governor with the facts.

Looting Erupts Downtown
"Former Tribune Co. boss Dennis FitzSimons will receive a previously unreported payout of around $3 million, triggered when he stepped down Dec. 20 as the media conglomerate's chairman, president and chief executive, according to public filings and sources close to the situation," the Tribune reports.

"The new payout brings to approximately $17.7 million the severance and other payments FitzSimons has received as a result of Tribune's recently completed $8.2 billion deal to become a private company."

Isn't that nice.

Dennis FitzSimons is really, really rich. He lives in luxury. What is the point of his life - to live even more luxuriously at the expense of the public interest? What would really be cool would be if FitzSimons decided to do something great and fun and important with his life and took his severance and, oh, created an endowment for a decent book review at his own paper, or created the Dennis FitzSimons Chair in Investigative Reporting, or paid the Tribune to hire John Conroy and a decent website designer.

Be a hero, Dennis. Do something for journalism in this city with that disgusting golden parachute of yours. You'll have plenty of money left over for another dozen cars and three more houses.

Q Rating
"A Chicago federal appeals court upheld a multimillion-dollar judgment against the Mt. Prospect-based marketer of the Q-Ray bracelet, calling its therapeutic claims 'a form of fraud,'" the Tribune reports.

"QT Inc. sold more than a million bracelets between January 2000 and June 2003 through infomercials that claimed the 'ionized bracelet' could relieve pain caused by everything from arthritis to chemotherapy. The Federal Trade Commission sued QT and Que Te 'Andrew' Park, its chief executive, in 2003 for false advertising, citing a Mayo Clinic study that said the bracelet, which sold for $50 to $250 each, worked no better than a placebo."

Prosecutors also filed a class action suit against Q-Ray customers for massive stupidity.

Today's Beachwood
* Drive-By Truckers suck, Avril Lavigne doesn't, and various critics' best of 2007 lists. In RockNotes.
* A good year for atheists, music fans and comic book guys. In The Beachwood's Best Books of 2007.
* Our very own Eric Emery visits Soldier Field for the first time. "It's nice they decided to build a stadium inside a National Guard armory."

And more!

The Beachwood Tip Line: Still freer than the other guys.


Posted on January 4, 2008

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - NHL: CTE Not Our Fault.

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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