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The [Monday] Papers


The Tribune and Sun-Times obviously have packages accessible via their home pages.

The Capitol Fax Blog also has a nice collection of links here.

ALSO: The Tribune is shut out of the Pulitzers. (It almost goes without saying that the Sun-Times was shut out too because it is so rarely in the running.)

And now on to today's papers.

Book 'Em
The Tribune returns today with the second and final part of its report on the sad condition of the state's textbooks. Not only are they out-of-date and falling apart, but many parents and students are shelling out big bucks for books that are free in most states.

It's a ridiculous state of affairs, and I look forward to the follow-up stories I'm sure the paper will do harassing officials to remedy the situation.

To see the Reporter's assessment of the first part of the series, as well as commentary on columns by John Kass and Neil Steinberg, see The [Sunday] Papers.

You can see earlier columns in our Papers archive. And while there, check out our Weekend Desk reports. The most recent is here.

Vintage Politics
The Tribune also reports on its front page today about the latest political shenanigans out of Russia in "Ban On Wines Just Vintage Kremlin, Say Ex-Republics."

"Russia has purged itself of wine from Georgian and Moldovan wineyards, imports that account for more than a third of the nation's wine sales," the paper says. "Russian health officials say the wine is unsafe to drink, but Georgian and Moldovan leaders argue that the Kremlin has found another way to strongarm two former Soviet republics that have allied themselves with the West."

Boy, those Russians are wacky. Nothing like that could ever happen here.

Dennis the Menace
Tribune reader Marshall Wood had a good idea for the paper's editors the other day in a Letter to the Editor: Send Dennis Byrne to Iraq.

Wood was responding to a Byrne column in part complaining about the lack of good news being reported from Iraq.

Here is a snippet of Byrne's logic that earns him a weekly column on the Trib's Op-Ed page:

"News often is defined as something that didn't happen before, or rarely happens. So, if indeed little good is happening in Iraq, every piece of (rare) good news ought to be reported with the same fervor as every act of violence--which we're to believe is an increasingly common occurrence. And, logically, less deserving of reporting. Or does the absence of reporting "good news" in a country the size of Iraq actually mean that reporters can find absolutely nothing good?"

Wood in turn wrote to the paper saying that "It would seem the reason good news is absent from your Iraqi war coverage must be due to a lack of either competence or courage on the part of your foreign correspondents.

"Please allow me to suggest you send Byrne to Iraq so we can finally get some good news.

"Now I know the Tribune's stock has been a little soft lately, so let me do my part. If you pay to send him there, I will pay to bring him back. I promise."

In his column today, Byrne responds to the naysayers by pointing them to the Iraq Index on the Brookings Institution Website tracking the events in Iraq.

Glancing over the Index, it's hard to see how Byrne thinks this will help his case. Nor will the article on the Brookings site reprinted from the liberal-media-hating Washington Times called "Misplaced Blame: The Media's Performance in Iraq."

Sun-Times Buyouts
Buried in David Roeder's Curious Investor column today in the Sun-Times is this little nugget about parent company Hollinger International: "Investors should know that there is a restructuring going on here, i.e. retirement buyouts."

I've heard rumblings of buyouts at the paper as well, though I haven't had time track down the facts. But I've heard at least one significant name bandied about. Stay tuned.

Sneed Deed
Unfortunately, that name is not spelled Michael Sneed. Sneed led her column on Sunday--under the heading "Tipsville"--with this:

"Sneed hears whispers Chicago Cubs management, whose paychecks are signed by Tribune Co., are shopping the team to consortiums interested in buying the North Side club . . . Is the formidable Tower of Truth, a la the cost-cutting Tribune Co., responding to a suggestion in a recent Wall Street Journal article?"

Where to begin? If Sneed is just hearing "whispers" now, she's been out of the country for a couple years. Those whispers are more likely the whispers she's hearing in her head about how she once again has no fresh material for her Sunday column.

Separating "Chicago Cubs management" from the Tribune Company is just plain odd. The Tribune Company owns the team. The Cubs can't sell themselves.

The Truth is that the Tribune Company isn't any more cost-cutting, and in fact is less so, if you can believe it, than Sun-Times owner Hollinger. If the Tribune has more to cut, it's only because the Tribune has invested more to begin with.

And somehow the notion that Tribune executives would read a newspaper article and decide that, yes, selling the Cubs seems like a good idea, is ludicrous. Even for them.

Besides that, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons has already stated since the Journal article that discussed the company's financial picture that the Cubs are not for sale. That doesn't make it true, but it makes Sneed's whispers badly outdated, unless she knows something the rest of us don't.

And that would really be news.

Dodger Destruction
The Chicago Journal follows up on the plight of Bucktown's historic buildings in the aftermath of the Artful Dodger building's destruction.

Stickup Spelled Backwards Is . . .
"The Harry Caray bandit apparently didn't take Good Friday off, robbing a Bridgeview bank Friday--his second holdup in three days and his fourth since March 6, authorities said. In the holdups, the man wears large glasses, similar to the glasses made famous by the legendary broadcaster. The bandit, wearing a fake black beard, robbed the Charter One bank branch at 8739 S. Harlem of an undisclosed amount of cash about 12:45 p.m., authorities said."

- Sun-Times on Saturday

Fluff Stuff
Tom Cruise tells GQ--according to the Sun-Times-- that casual sex is "really horrible and pathetic and lonely."

Sure, but it's better than no sex at all.

Inside Today's Reporter
Head of the Humpback is taking the Web by storm. Read the whole I Lived In Alaska series here.

All Alt-Country all the time: An indispensable guide. Just posted today.

The Political Odds will change soon. Other new postings tomorrow.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Guilty on all counts in its own right.


Posted on April 17, 2006

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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