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The [Monday] Papers

1. Be the first on your block to own a Chicago Bears mailbox.

2. Meet North Korea.

3. Robert Novak reports that Denny Hastert has survived thus far in part because Republicans are likely to lose the House and he'll no longer be Speaker in a couple months anyway.

4. Lynn Sweet's report on the actions that Illinois Rep. John Shimkus took - and didn't take - as head of the congressional page program is damning. Still, I'm not sure it's fully sunk in with the local media that this is an Illinois scandal with Hastert and Shimkus at the heart of it. But then, with the exception of Sweet, the local media has never been very interested in the state's congressional delegation. After all, it's only Congress.

5. Meet Dan Stover.

6. John Shimkus only has five MySpace friends - and one of them is a cat.

7. An early candidate for stupidest Sun-Times story of the week most likely to have humiliated the poor reporter assigned to it: Baby Loves Disco. Runner-up: Bears Tailgating is Crazy!

Both in the news section. Because there's really nothing else going on in the city to write about.

8. "Palestinian Leader Says No To Recognizing Israel." So it's not just about land-for-peace, or a two-state solution, both of which have been repeatedly rejected by Palestinian leaders. It's still about the destruction of Israel.

9. Mary Laney brings out the crazies on the Sun-Times letters page.

"It isn't just a fringe percentage of Muslims worldwide who want to do away with our civilization," writes Don Arnold of Gurnee. "If they would be honest, most of them have that goal."

"In other words, 'moderate Muslim' is an oxymoron," writes John M. McCarthy of Berwyn. "And anyone who believes there is such a creature is a moron."

Now, imagine these same letters with the word "Muslim" replaced by "Jew." Would the paper have still published them?

10. Then again, in an editorial today, the intellectual core of the Sun-Times says it is tired of "unwritten quotas that dictate who gets what offices in Chicago and Cook County" - meaning a Hispanic being appointed to the city clerk's job, which the paper might have forgotten had traditionally been reserved for Poles, and an African American nominated for the Cook County board presidency, which is actually run out of the office of a white mayor who is the one doing the slating.

11. "Is it too much to demand that the jobs go to the best people?" the Sun-Times editorial asks - when it comes to jobs going to people of color. The paper fails to ask the question, however, when it comes to white people in top spots, such as the five white males whose names appear on the editorial page as the management team running the Sun-Times.

12. The mayor might want to reconsider running for re-election based on his achievements in taking over the city's public schools and public housing.

"Our analysis of the budget finds that CPS is losing credibility, that the best interests of children are not represented in budget decisions and that disadvantaged children are bearing the brunt of budget cuts," writes Christina Warden, the senior program director for school-based budgeting and district redesign at Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform.

"While the teardowns of high-rises has dominated talk of the Chicago Housing Authority's sweeping transformation of public housing, more than half of the agency's buildings will not be torn down." And the buildings that have been rehabbed are falling apart, says The Chicago Reporter. Not to mention the resegregation of former residents of the buildings taken down, the false promise exposed that they would move back into mixed-income communities, and the mayor's bold plan being five years behind schedule.

(The Reporter also notes that "Under CHA's new flat rents, some working families will have to pay hundreds more to stay in public housing . . . Would you pay $1,175 a month to live in the Harold Ickes Homes?")

13. The school testing mess. What if all the time, money, and energy designing and administering these tests was put into teaching kids instead?

14."Since Mayor Daley took over CPS in July 1995, there have been no committee meetings of the Board of Education and virtually every vote has been unanimous. Prior to the takeover, the Board had more than a half dozen committees (the number depended on the years), each of which met in public and encouraged public participation. During the early years after mayoral control, there were still a couple of committees that had to meet, but eventually they were shut down, too. The last two were the Desegregation Monitoring Commission and the Academic Accountability Council. By 2004 both of those had been put out of business."

15. Paul Salopek writes about his imprisonment in Sudan.

16. Chicago Gangs in Iraq: Is This Good News or Bad?

17. Bush on Iraq: "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."

What if it's only Barney?

18. The Comma Campaign begins here. Send the president a comma - or 2,700 of them. String up comma posters along the White House fence. Put a face to commas from your hometown. And never stop reminding the idiots who got buffaloed into this war - including the media - that there are more commas in this sentence then WMDs in Iraq, or connections between Iraq and 9/11.

19. Doug Elfman on MTV2's My Block: Chicago: "Hip-hop artists form Chicago serve as tour guides to the South Side, the West Side and other sides of Chicago that don't normally get such TV treatment." Nor newspaper treatment.

20. I was in Denver sometime around 1998 and it looked better than it ever had. And Richard M. Daley wasn't even the mayor there.

21. "The spectacular value of The Daily Show is that it's an instant B.S. meter," writes Elfman. You know, what newspapers are supposed to be.

22. "Speaking of dummying down, who hatched the idea for a Velodrome on Northerly Island?" Dale Bowman asks about the city's Olympic bid. "If Northerly Island was the nature park it should be by now, it already would be a showpiece athletes would see from the proposed housing near McCormick Place."

But that would have required both planning for Northerly Island instead of the destruction of Meigs Field in a fit of pique and planning for an Olympic bid well in advance of the cram job we got just in time for an election campaign.

23. "Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), owner of Ann Sather's Restaurants, said he would rather see Daley follow through on his 12-year-old promise to phase out the head tax for all employers."

In other news, Daley announced he would seek to phase out Tom Tunney.

24. The Tribune editorial page goes after Cook County for its acquiesence to the mayor on TIFs - but leaves the mayor alone. The Reader's Ben Joravsky continues his admirable campaign to show how TIFs are being used as a mayoral slush fund that forces other municipal bodies to raise taxes while Daley can say he's holding the line. Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson Jr. says he thinks the city is broke. Perhaps an examination of the mayor's fiscal management is in order.

25. "I am not going to leave because of political attacks," Shimkus said.

Will you leave because you suck?

The Beachwood Tip Line: Management by objective.


Posted on October 9, 2006

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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