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The [Monday] Papers

Well, it took the entire Washington, D.C., bureau of the Tribune and Hurricane Katrina coverage from AP to beat out The Beachwood Reporter in the Lisagor Awards held Friday night.

That's who our finalists, Home for the Holidays and Barista!, were up against.

Just think what we'll be able to do when we actually have some money.

Race to the Bottom
Mancow Muller beat Debra Pickett in the television commentary category.

Is that more humiliating to her or him?

Earthbound Obama
MSNBC blowhard Chris Matthews said - astonishingly - after the South Carolina debate last week that he thought Barack Obama gave the most sophisticated performance. Other reviews have been less charitable; Obama showed himself to be out of his depth on foreign policy and unprepared for world leadership.

That's not just me talking.

* Lynn Sweet wrote that Obama stumbled during the South Carolina debate, and provides a list of wrong and wrongheaded assertions. The subhead on her column says Obama "comes across as out of touch on even noncontroversial issues."

* MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Huffington Post: "Let's face it, the guy wasn't JFK or Bobby last night. He wasn't even Mario Cuomo. Instead, Barack Obama acted like a candidate who was a state senator the last time a presidential debate was conducted."

* Political writer Eric Krol in the Daily Herald opened his report this way: "Sen. Hillary Clinton fired sharp salvos against President Bush on the war, Sen. Barack Obama needed a second shot at answering what he'd do in the event of a terrorist attack and the digs were mostly subtle in the first Democratic presidential debate Thursday night."

* Even Obama courtier Neil Steinberg, who once joyously imagined himself propping his feet up on President Obama's desk in the Oval Office while popping nuts into his mouth, isn't so sure anymore (last item - before Today's Chuckle).

And it's not just the debate.

* Carol Marin wrote on Saturday that she and colleague Tim Novak had to physically chase Obama to ask questions about the slum buildings Rezko built in Obama's state senate district.

* Rich Miller, heretofore an Obama fan, wrote in his Sun-Times column on Friday about where Obama stood in the recent city council elections: "Obama refused to endorse any of the insurgent candidates this year, sticking with the Daley Machine and openly endorsing faded hack Ald. Tillman in her losing race to Pat Dowell, who is truly a breath of fresh air.

"It's more than a little ironic that a self-styled 'new politics' guy like Obama has no strong ties to the newly elected aldermen who seem to share so many of his self-professed political values. He's just lucky that no national political reporter has covered this hypocrisy angle yet."

* Hip hop impresario Russell Simmons said in a New York Times interview that "I wish [Obama] really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently."

Perhaps Simmons read this.

* On Week in Review, host Joel Weisman asked his panel if Obama is not the kind of politician he's been portraying himself as. The consensus: He's not.

CLTV political reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez described the "disdain" the Obama campaign has for the press (hey, that's what you get for being pushovers; look at the mayor's attitude); criticized Obama's endorsement of Todd Stroger, and said Obama had "a pattern of questionable judgement at best."

Sun-Times business editor Dan Miller noted that Obama didn't tell his paper - but told the rest of the media - about the belated press conference Obama held to respond to the Sun-Times's story about Rezko's slum properties and Obama's further connections to Rezko. Rebutting a story without facing the reporter who knows the most about it and whom you've already ducked for five weeks; very classy.

* New Sun-Times ad promoting its news coverage: "Running for President or from the Past?"

With a pensive, shadowy photo of Obama looking away from the camera.

Welcome to Planet Earth, everybody. I've been waiting for you.

The Audacity of Obama's Faith
The New York Times has a revealing story today on its front page exploring Obama's relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. I hope to have more on this later in the week.

Forrest Rezko
Is Tony Rezko the ultimate insider's insider? Seems he had his hooks into every political power and fiefdom in the state. The latest revelation comes in today's Sun-Times, which reports that four years after a company with ties to Rezko "landed a lucrative no-bid Cook County contract, there's no evidence the firm has done any work for the millions of dollars it has made."

The best part:

"For almost a year, Crucial Communications was nominally headed by a dead woman, and John Stroger's personal assistant notarized documents confirming her continued involvement."

Tony and Richie
"What we didn't know was that Rezko had for years been one of the city's biggest slumlords," Marin wrote. "That within days of Mayor Daley's first election in 1989, this Park District hot dog vendor who had no construction experience would begin getting $100 million in city, state and federal tax dollars and bank loans to provide affordable housing for Chicago's needy citizens."

What, Mike North wasn't available?

"While some residents of Rezko's buildings were shivering without heat because he wasn't paying utility bills, Rezko still managed somehow to write checks to politicians."

Being Jackie
Check out the response of the mayor's press secretary to Marin and ask yourself if Jackie Heard ever gets tired of the deceit.

The Torture Mayor
"What went on - plastic bags over heads; shackling to hot radiators; gun barrels in mouths; electrical shocks to ears nostrils and genitals; cigarette burns to arms, legs and chests - is now well known and has been cited repeatedly in court opinions and, last year, in a special prosecutors' report," Rob Warden wrote in the Trib on Sunday.

"No so well known, however, is Daley's own role in the scandal, first as Cook County state's attorney, then as mayor."

Going Condo
A study will be released today documenting "the dramatic changes that took place in the city's housing stock from 1989 to 2004, changes that have transformed the face of neighborhoods and heightened concerns about affordability," the Tribune reports.

"For years, residents have perceived that 'something big was going on ' in the city's housing stock, said report co-author David Merriman," the Trib says. But the analysis of previously understudied data, he said, quantifies the true scope of the boom in housing construction."

Manny's Place
Ald. Manny Flores (1st), whose ward encompasses much of the Wicker Park area where gentrification has been most dramatic, expresses sympathy in the Trib story for those who cannot afford to rent. Unnoted is that Flores lives in one of the very (big and ugly) condos that are part of the problem, not the solution.

Political Development
"Throughout the neighborhoods that Chicago Journal covers," Hadyn Bush writes, "the management of new development trumped everything else this election cycle as the major issue, eclipsing old standbys like crime and education. While the Sun-Times and the Tribune noted the heavy union involvement this election cycle at the grass roots level - with the Tribune endorsing Second Ward Ald. Madeline Haithcock and 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus solely on the strength of their votes last year against the living wage big box ordinance - development along with aldermanic accessibility was the major issue of concern."

Loving Lori
Every time the mayor fills a high-profile position, we get the profile of how wonderful that person is. And so it is with the absolutely amazing Lori Healey, the mayor's new chief of staff.

"After 18 months as planning commissioner, three years as vice chair of the Chicago Housing Authority and eight years with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Healey believes she's up to the task," Fran Spielman "reports."

I can read a resume too. What did she do in those jobs?

Certainly she made some enemies - or at least opponents. What do they have to say? It's easy to quote friends.

I mean, Healey was the city's planning commissioner. Which plans was she responsible for? Did she let developers get away with carte blanche? Did she have awful taste?

Healey was on the CHA board. What impact did she have on the Plan for Transformation? Or did she just sit there?

And can someone please explain to me just what the mayor's chief of staff actually does? Is she the mayor's Leo McGarry, making political and strategic decisions? Is she the de facto city manager? Does she basically control the mayor's schedule? A little primer would be nice.

New Coke Formula
"$6.7 million In Cocaine Seized At O'Hare."

Will be sold on West Side to pay for expansion overruns.

Slam Dunk
If what George Tenet said on 60 Minutes last night is true - and maybe he's just covering his ass - it is now officially an inescapable conclusion that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Condi Rice are war criminals.

Civility Rules
"Let us be reminded that an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy, nor does an evening of civility mean we are selling out," says Steve Scully, president of the White House Correspondents Association.

Memo to Scully: Civility starts when the administation stops lying to you. Otherwise I find it hard to countenance yukking it up with these guys.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Your civil defense system.


Posted on April 30, 2007

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Kanye, Chili, Jimmy, Tarik.

BOOKS - Conway Barbour & The Black Middle Class.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese.

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