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The [Friday] Papers

"A gunman dressed in black stormed into an oceanography class at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb Thursday afternoon and opened fire with a shotgun and two handguns, killing five students and wounding 16 more in a matter of seconds," the Tribune reports.

"Then, still on stage, he killed himself."

In a separate report, the Tribune describes the scene this way:

"About 15 minutes were left in Geology 104: Introduction to Ocean Science, and junior Dan Sweeney was checking the time when the door beneath the lecture hall's clock flew open.

"In strode a thin young man dressed in black, a dark knit cap atop his head, a shotgun in his hands.

"Time stopped. There was no fear, no panic in the half-full room - only an icy moment of bewilderment.

"'Nothing seemed out of place,' said junior Doug Quesnel, 22. 'It was weird he walked through there, but nothing seemed wrong until the shots went off."

Northern Illinois University is posting updates on its website.

Former DNC chair and Obama superdelegate David Wilhelm trips himself up.

Politics of Hope
"Here's some interesting context to the behind-the-scenes battle that's underway between Hillary and Obama for the support of super-delegates. It turns out that the super-delegates have received campaign contributions from both sides, though its unclear whether this money has had any impact on any decisions they've made," Greg Sargent writes at Talking Points Memo.

"The Center for Responsive Politics has a new study out which finds that the two have donated a total of more than $890,000 to those super-delegates who are elected officials in the past three years. Who's donated more? Obama has, by far."

"Rep. Will Davis' (D-Hazel Crest) effort to change the name of the law from the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act to the Student Silent Reflection Act was rejected by a House committee on Thursday," the Tribune reports.

Just in case there was any lingering doubt.


Democrats have the majority in the House, just so you know who to blame.


Obama voted "present."

Daley's Dance
The mayor didn't deny on Thursday allegations by former city clerk Jim Laski that he's lying about corruption in his administration, he just evaded the questions.

"Jim Laski's had a lot of personal problems in his life, and challenges," Daley said. "I'm not gonna [respond] to his personal challenges."


"The mayor was asked point-blank whether Laski was lying when he claimed to have worked through Daley's top lieutenants to get Hired Truck business for the lifelong friend who betrayed him," the Sun-Times reports.

"He'll say everything in the book about me. Nobody else," Daley said in what some people might call a lie. Laski hardly focuses just on the mayor.

But the response got him around actually answering the question.


Who was more believable this week, Richard M. Daley or Roger Clemens? Discuss.

Simon Says
"I am, in my mind, a newspaperman still. I just don't work for a newspaper anymore," The Wire impresario David Simon writes in Esquire. "I've lost my religion, that too much of what I genuinely loved is gone."


Just as you don't need to wear a uniform to have honor, you don't have to work at a newspaper to be a newspaperman.

Scheider's Story
"For most people, he will always be Chief Brody - and that's fair enough. Jaws still rocks, and remains a rich, tart study of male behavior," Rod Heath writes in an essay about Roy Scheider over at Ferdy on Films.

Fun fact: The studio wanted Charlton Heston for the role.

Lived To Tell
"In 2005, former Ald. Leon Despres published Challenging the Daley Machine, his memoir of opposing the reign of Richard J. Daley," the Beachwood recalled last August. "He once said of the book, 'I am describing the last of the great urban political machines in America and the birth of a new globalized political machine with its permanent campaign and high-tech politics and government, but with the same old-fashioned patronage, nepotism, and corruption which characterized the first Daley Machine.'"

Leon Despres is celebrating his 100th birthday this week.

Floppy Earmarks
"I'm returning to transparency and Obama," Lynn Sweet writes today, "because Obama's reluctance to tell the whole story on earmarks and other matters is a habit with him. Now Obama has created an opening that his GOP opponents are using to hit him."

Sweet is referring to a Washington Post story that says in part:

"Obama's criticism of Washington's insider culture is a linchpin of his campaign; he supports earmarks only for public entities such as schools and hospitals. He secured $3.3 million in earmarks through his own sponsorship, and collected $88 million in concert with other Illinois lawmakers.

"Since last year, he has publicly released the letters he submits to the Appropriations Committee seeking support for the spending items, but has not released those submitted to the committee in 2005 and 2006."

Ironically, it was Obama's Republican predecessor, Peter Fitzgerald, who famously said he wouldn't support pork projects just because they were located in Illinois.


The Post also reported this last fall: "Just a few months before he joined the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) co-sponsored a little-noticed proposal to require the Pentagon to spend $2 million on brain trauma research for soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The beneficiary of the Aug. 2, 2006, earmark from him and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) was undeniably close to home: the University of Chicago, where his wife, Michelle, worked as the university hospital's vice president for community and external affairs."

The Obama earmark was controversial in two ways. First:

"Bernadette Sargeant, a former counsel for the House ethics committee, questioned whether Obama should have put his name on a request that would have sent funds to his wife's employer. 'It is not like her salary is going to change because of this benefit,' she said. 'But, given her title and the stature of her position, it is a prestige enhancement, or could be perceived as a prestige enhancement.'"

(What Sargeant may not know is that Michelle Obama received an extraordinarily huge raise once her husband was elected to the Senate.)

"Sargeant said Obama's decision to co-sponsor the earmark raises concerns under two provisions of the Senate ethics code. The first requires senators to avoid performing official acts that can directly benefit a spouse, and the second more broadly tells senators to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest."

Second: "The earmark faced stiff opposition on the Senate floor last year. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), then the Appropriations Committee chairman, said directing the funds to the University of Chicago would circumvent the normal process by which the National Institutes of Health hands out research funds."

Stevens, of course, is an earmark hog. But that doesn't invalidate his point.

Says It All
"The Daily News said Wednesday that it would become the first major newspaper in the country capable of printing full color on every page."

1. GM announces all cars will now come with four wheels.
2. Movies to become "talkies."
3. Phones without wires!

The Beachwood Tip Line: Colorful.


Posted on February 15, 2008

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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