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The [Thursday] Papers

So I was at the Walgreens picking up the papers - long stupid story about how I cancelled my print subscriptions recently and now go out and buy the print editions anyway and pay far more for them because I'm an idiot - and I'm thumbing through the little wire newsstand thingie and the clerk looks over at me and asks what's wrong.

"There's no Tribune."

"[unintelligible over the store din but clearly expressing that there indeed are Tribunes available]"

"I see the Sun-Times here, but you didn't get any Tribune's this morning?"

"[unintelligible over the store din but clearly expressing that there indeed are Tribunes available]"

"So you don't have any Tribunes? Oh wait, here they are! Duh! I was confused because they look just like the Sun-Times now."

In fact, the very papers I was thumbing through trying to get to the Tribunes were Tribunes.

It reminds me of part of the Sun-Times's strategy when it put out Red Streak to compete against RedEye: confuse the marketplace.

And if there had been RedEyes there I might have really been confused.

Still, I don't mind the new Tribune format. I think I saw a figure somewhere that single-copy sales only account for 9 percent of all Tribs sold. That sounds low, but whatever.

One thing, though, is that it's a further erosion of the Tribune's brand authority. But that's something newspapers have been doing to themselves for years.

Sun-Times Responds
The Beachwood Tabloid Affairs Desk has learned that the Sun-Times is considering several competitive responses to the Tribune's new tabloid edition.

Patti Blago Fired
Here are the reasons why.

Oprah Is Wrong
The Sun-Times is dining out again on Oprah's approval, but once again she's wrong. The best local inauguration coverage was the Tribune's special commemorative section on Tuesday; it's the one I'm keeping along with the New York Times's special section.

Question for Oprah: How many other newspapers did you read this week? Did you read the Tribune, and if so, why did you think it was inferior to the Sun-Times?

My guess is that the Sun-Times is all she saw. Or she's just an idiot.


Now would have been the time, by the way, not the day after the Grant Park victory rally, to proclaim Barack Obama as Mr. President on a front cover.

Todd and Tim
How is Todd Stroger like Tim Geithner? Well, admittedly it's a bit of a stretch, but Geithner is about to become Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary despite the fact that he didn't pay his full taxes for years in a way that could hardly be just an "honest mistake," as the new president claims.

Stroger is the Cook County board president who keeps claiming that his political opponents and the media can't read his budgets right even as we are learning today how screwed up Stroger's own campaign finances have been.

"Campaign finance reports filed with the state show Stroger failed to report $733,000 in politican donations - about a quarter of what he's collected since October 2006," the Tribune reports.


By contrast, incoming governor Pat Quinn only has $83,000 in his campaign fund.

And read that paragraph again - Stroger failed to report a quarter of what he's collected over the last two years. A quarter!

"He also got far more help from his father than he had disclosed and has $520,000 in investments not previously disclosed."


Todd Stroger is a very wealthy man who couldn't be bothered to be straight with the taxpayers who are making him even wealthier.

On the Beachwood odds board, we put the chances that Stroger runs for re-election at 95 percent and wonder: Will Obama endorse again? Or will he pretend he doesn't even know Todd now that he doesn't need him anymore?

The Daley Show
"A clout-heavy law firm paid $38.1 million to collect overdue Chicago parking tickets and other debt is still rolling in city business - one year after it was supposed to be fired," the Sun-Times reports.


I always thought it was somewhat perverse seeing the lampposts around City Hall festooned with Obama banners these last couple of months. I could never find the metaphor or expression for it that fit; maybe the closest I came was that it looked like the gilding on a cage. But that's not right. It was like draping City Hall in a protective aura of a shining saint who had blessed all that occurred inside the devil's workshop within. Or maybe it was just seeing the last component of a deal fulfilled.

Chestnut Roasting
If stories about shoes hanging from utility lines and the resurgence in vinyl records never go away, how can I miss them?

Dubious Dixon
"First-term Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th) denied she was driving drunk when arrested early Wednesday by officers controlling traffic near a fatal apartment fire on the Far North Side," the Tribune reports.

"Police said Dixon, 46, drove up to the scene in the 6900 block of North Sheridan Road and told officers to move their squad car so she could get through. Police sources said the alderman failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer.

"But Dixon said police handcuffed her for almost eight hours and she did not ask to use the bathroom during that entire period, proving her sobriety."

"'If [police] are saying I'm intoxicated, don't you think at some point I would have to empty my bladder?' Dixon said."

I wonder which field sobriety test she failed; walking a straight line or reaching for her wallet to offer a bribe.

Blago Bucks
The embattled governor has already paid Ed Genson $500,000 in legal fees and he hasn't even been indicted yet.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Drunk with powerlessness.


Posted on January 22, 2009

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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