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The [Sunday] Papers

The thing about the new Spanish-language version of the national anthem is this: It is beautiful. It is poetry. These people love America.

On Saturday, the Chicago Sun-Times did us all a favor and printed the lyrics, translated to English (via the Associated Press).

("At night they said: 'It's being defended!/Oh say! Your starry beauty is still unfolding.")

And it is.

A guide to the Sunday Chicago Tribune: Skip the big front-page story on "Gender and the Brain" (ugh, almost as cliched as another story extolling the glories of 16-inch softball), but delve into immigrant employment story "Working in the Shadows" and "Bush Team Imposes Thick Veil of Secrecy."

Beachwood special affairs editor Tim Willette also suggests "Vice Squad," from The American Prospect. An excerpt:

"[Cheney's flacks'] job is saying nothing, and saying it often. His press people seem shocked that a reporter would even ask for an interview with the staff. The blanket answer is no - nobody is available. Amazingly, the vice president's office flatly refuses to even disclose who works there, or what their titles are. 'We just don't give out that kind of information,' says Jennifer Mayfield, another of Cheney's 'angels.' She won't say who is on staff, or what they do? No, she insists. 'It's just not something we talk about.' The notoriously silent OVP staff rebuffs not just pesky reporters but even innocuous database researchers from companies like Carroll Publishing, which puts out the quarterly Federal Directory. 'They're tight-lipped about the kind of information they put out,' says Albert Ruffin, senior editor at Carroll, who fumes that Cheney's office doesn't bother returning his calls when he's updating the limited information he manages to collect."

Recommended Elsewhere
The always sensible Ralph Martire on education investment.

The always insightful Carol Marin on aldermen who think they are beyond the law.

The New York Times on the efforts of Rahm Emanuel and Charles Schumer to get more Democrats elected to Congress this fall. (Emanuel's tactics will sound familiar to residents of the Illinois's Sixth District. "Mr. Schumer and Mr. Emanuel harangue contributors, micromanage their candidates, and aggressively court newspaper and television coverage." What they don't do, apparently, is show any concern for citizens.)

Comedy Writing Rights Revoked
City Hall's exploration of a full-scale naming rights program brought out the worst in our humor-impaired local reporters. These don't even come close to being witty or clever or merely amusing.

"Hinckley & Schmidt Water Filtration Plant; Morton's Salt spreaders. The ADT 911 Center. The Geritol Senior Citizen Center. Coke or Pepsi as official beverage. These are just a few of the intriguing possibilities, now that mayor Daley has decided to turn city assets into moneymakers."

- Sun-Times

"The Budweiser Taste of Chicago? The Poland Springs Water Filtration Plant? Who knows? Mountain Dew, Chicago's official soft drink? Could be. Hollywood Casino's City Hall? Penthouse Magazine's Millennium Park?"

- Tribune

Is it any wonder your newspapers are so dreadful?

(Although the Tribune story, by Gary Washburn, opened with a gem: "It turns out the skyway is not the limit when it comes to naming rights for the city of Chicago.")

Gas Groaners
Leave it to a former Tribune editor to conclude that "price gouging has no economic meaning" and that any "intellectually honest" person would see that the increase in gas prices "is our friend."

Leave it to a Sun-Times columnist to patronize those of lesser means as well as fail to see that rising gas prices are just one effect of the new costliness of oil, which impacts virtually all parts of the economy.

Leave it to Walter Kowalczyk and John Passarelli to set them straight. (Midway down the link.)

Baking Soda
"Tom Riley of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it was 'naive' to assume rolling papers are for smoking tobacco. Riley said, contrary to public perception developed in the 1960s and 1970s that pot is a 'soft drug,' the marijuana today is much more potent and addictive. Thirty years ago, the mind altering component THC was 1 percent; today, it's 7 percent and certain hybrids can reach levels in the 20 percent range, Riley said."

- Andrew Herrmann, "Half-Baked Concert Promotion," Sun-Times

"In an early September op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, [then-Drug Czar John] Walters wrote: 'In 1974, the average THC content of marijuana was less than 1 percent. But by 1999, potency averaged 7 percent.' This is plain wrong. According to the federal government's own Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi, 1999's average was 4.56 percent. Referring to Walters' 7 percent figure, Dr. Mahmoud A. ElSohly, who runs the project, says, 'That's not correct for an overall average.'"

"As to Walters' claim that all those '70s hippies were getting goofy on the 1-percent stuff - the basis for his 30-fold increase claim - the number lacks credibility. No one smokes 1-percent dope, at least not more than once. You make rope with it . . . Walters is disingenuously comparing the best pot of today with the worst of yesterday, rather than comparing average marijuana of a generation ago with average marijuana now."

- Daniel Forbes, "The Myth of Potent Pot," Slate

Hastert Hijinks
"House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

- submitted by Tim Willette via Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly blog

Note from Beachwood HQ
Catch up with our weekend report, check out new offerings throughout the site, and look for The [Monday] Papers later today.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Even better in Spanish.


Posted on May 1, 2006

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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