The [Monday] Papers
"The real zoning code in Chicago is unwritten, but developers know it well," the Tribune reported on Sunday in an investigation that proves beyond a doubt how our neighborhoods have been ravaged in the last 20 years of gentrification that was neither "natural" nor well-managed. "Changes in zoning go hand in hand with contributions to aldermanic campaigns."
That might not sound like news to you, but the portrait the Tribune paints is devastating: "[A] building boom greased by millions of dollars in political donations to aldermen has remade the face of neighborhoods, changing the feel of streets where people live and work . . . Anyone driving around town has seen how the face of Chicago has been transformed: Three- and four-story condo buildings dwarf century-old workman's cottages on quiet side streets. Mini-mansions cover entire lots, their facades sticking out like crooked teeth in an otherwise uniform line of homes."
Aldermen, the paper found, "routinely [ignore] city planners who oppose out-of-scale development . . . And it's a city where advisory groups that review zoning proposals are sometimes stacked with developers and real estate agents who will profit from the projects."
The paper's investigation continues today, and is so rich with importance that I'll deal with it more tomorrow on our Politics page - including a couple criticisms that are longstanding problems with the paper's approach.
Well, I can think of plenty of reasons to wait. You might learn in the last days of a campaign, for example, that your favored candidate is an alien, or has secret ties to Scientology. (Or is that the same thing?)
I'm against early voting on two counts. First, voters are uninformed enough as it is. Let them absorb the whole of a campaign and study their choices right up to Election Day. Second, there's a certain value to the citizenry going to the polls on the same day, seeing your neighbors at the schools and fieldhouses that serve as voting centers, a certain shared civic good. Make Election Day more festive - snacks would be nice - if attracting more folks is the point. But early voting seems like one more dilution of an informed citizenry.
Barack W. Obama
Reported in the last paragraph of a 24-paragraph story.
I'm trying to decide if I'm more offended by this or Obama's comment that he would have to see Bill Clinton dance in order to determine if he was a brother.
If Mike Huckabee had said that, it would have caused a ruckus. Obama's Christian campaign brochures in South Carolina were no less offensive than Huckabee's controversial televison ad featuring a cross.
Glenn Greenwald of Salon has more, including images of the brochure.
Worst Person of the Day
House of Daley
"Now, everybody can look back and say, oh, well, we didn't find the weapons," Mike Huckabee said during last night's Republican candidates' debate. "It doesn't mean they weren't there. Just because you didn't find every Easter egg didn't mean that it wasn't planted."
And just because you didn't see the Easter Bunny hide the eggs doesn't mean he doesn't exist.
DIONNE (1/25/08): Let's grant the Clintons their claims: The press is tougher on Hillary Clinton than it is on Barack Obama; the old, irrational Clinton hatred is alive and well in certain parts of the media; Hillary Clinton gets hit harder when she criticizes Obama than Obama does when he goes after her.
"We offer a chunk of E. J.'s piece - but it's the highlighted section we ask you to ponder. As we do, we'll suggest that you note the 'Clintonian' way E. J. brings down his rough judgment.
"Finally! Ten to fifteen years later, E. J. finally notices something about 'certain parts of the media.' Omigod! Fifteen years after the Whitewater hoaxings; fifteen years after the murder charges (later rerun on Hardball, of course); eight years after the war against Clinton's vice president (the one who's now honored all over the world); after a full year of rank gender-trashing; E. J. finally notes a few facts about 'certain parts' of his cohort! Finally! 'The press is tougher on Hillary Clinton than it is on Barack Obama,' he finally tells us; 'the old, irrational Clinton hatred is alive and well in certain parts of the media.'"
"But isn't it just like a gut-bucket coward?
"Absent-mindedly, E. J. completely forgets to tell readers which 'parts of the media' he is discussing! He doesn't tell them he means Chris Matthews (on whose show he's a regular guest); he doesn't say that he means Maureen Dowd - or perhaps the sneering, simpering [Anne] Kornblut, of his very own newspaper. Like so many others before him, E. J. simply forgets to say who he's actually talking about! And many readers will therefore think this: Surely, he must mean Fox - and Rush! He must mean the 'right-wing press corps.'"
If you've been reading Somerby, you know that Dionne surely means that, but Dionne is wrong. You can substitute any number of local commentators for the Matthews and Dowds. I bring a taste of Somerby's argument to this week's Reviewing the Reviews on Frank Rich's latest cut-and-paste job.
"I really think the evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness," says Craig Crawford, the longtime Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC pundit. "I mean, we've gotten into a situation where if you try to be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, 'Well, where's the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?' you're accused of being a naive shill for the Clintons.'"
The Beachwood Tip Line: Still free!
Posted on January 28, 2008
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