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The [Thursday] Papers

You know, we here at Beachwood HQ are uncomfortable with self-promotion, but we've learned quickly that a little bit of it is necessary if we want to stay in business.

So let us once again call attention to our ongoing feature, The Dusty & Ozzie Show, which we describe thusly:

"Why The Dusty & Ozzie Show? Because one's a bullshit artist and the other just spews bullshit. We'll keep track and at the end of the season - if they both make it that far - declare which is the most unbearable."

Now, those of you who foolishly trustied Dusty - like second marriages, the triumph of hope over experience - thought maybe we were being a bit harsh about such a cool dude as the toothpick-chewin', incense-burnin', curse-breakin' Rev. Johnnie B. Baker.

And those of you who blindly love Ozzie - winning apparently is everything, and absolves individuals of responsibility for their homophobic, bigoted, anger management issues, despite what we teach our kids - maybe thought we were being a bit harsh about the call 'em as he sees 'em, take no prisoners, crazy train Blizzard of Oz.

But who's sorry now?

The Tribune's Mike Downey this morning isn't sure Ozzie will last through July, given his (my words, not Downey's) almost pathological need to make an ass of himself.

(ESPN is conducting a 10-question click poll on Guillen, including how long he will remain as White Sox manager.)

More importantly, the open sewer that is Ozzie Guillen's mouth has spewed out far worse than we will ever know, thanks to a compliant press.

"Guillen has a gentleman's agreement with a lot of reporters," Downey writes. "Some of his more colorful banter is off the record, even if he doesn't express that request."

Maybe that's why it took a Pittsburgh columnist to notice that "Ozzie Guillen has become the biggest creep in baseball" before the Chicago press finally perked up. (Greg Couch of the Sun-Times admirably weighed in earlier this week in a column titled "Guillen Crosses Line With Latest Slur." Note that "latest slur" indicates a pattern.)

Granted, the speed with which Guillen's mouth moves makes him hard to pin down. We're still not done digesting his beanball wars and now we have to deal with him calling Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a fag.

(Question to Tribune: What is the difference between referring to "a derogatory term for homosexuals" and just printing the word fag, which we all know is the word we're talking about? I mean, really? It's okay, in this context, to print the word. It really is. Trust me.)

We can debate the merits of Jay Mariotti all day long, and I'm sure there are plenty of sportswriters in this town - if not almost all of them - who agree with Guillen's criticisms of the controversial columnist, if not the exact words the White Sox manager used to express himself.

"According to Guillen, his problem is that Mariotti never has come to the clubhouse to speak to Guillen, but 'he steals quotes from all the writers and makes money, and he's not accountable,'" a Sun-Times account says.

Guillen's complaints are not new.

But then, neither is Mariotti's complaint that this town is filled with too many "house men" doing the bidding of the local franchises and letting the hometown heroes off the hook.

Mariotti has, unfairly in my view, targeted the rival Tribune the most, but he does not spare his own paper for what we might call reverse discrimination.

"'We're a rival of the Chicago Tribune and it's fair to rip both teams,' Mariotti said during an interview with Sun-Times colleagues Brian Hanley and Mike Mulligan on WSCR-AM 670," the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein reported this morning. "'But when it's the Sox, suddenly we have little meetings at the paper and suddenly there are issues and suddenly there's a column pulled here or there during the World Series, interestingly enough. That's where I have a problem with the Sun-Times.'"

Greenstein didn't report whether Hanley and Mulligan agreed. But Mariotti later added: "I wouldn't be forthright and honest if I didn't tell you I have my doubts about my paper and its relationship with the White Sox. We've had discussions about it, so I'm not speaking out of school."

Now, just because Jay Mariotti says it doesn't make it true.

But Sun-Times sports editor Stu Courtney did himself no favors by declining to comment to Greenstein. (And where is Sun-Times editor-in-chief John Barron in all this?)

Meanwhile, Guillen shows no real understanding of why he continues to offend people. Instead, he just digs himself a deeper hole by saying he wasn't referring to "those people" and trying to prove his gay-friendliness by claiming to have attended WNBA games and Madonna concerts.

The White Sox are reportedly "working with" Guillen to teach him how to choose his words more carefully, but the point isn't to censor his thoughts or expression, but to teach him why he should reconsider his views about gays, Venezuelans, violence, emotional outbursts, beanball wars, and all those chips on his shoulder.

Until then, though, we'll have plenty of material for The Dusty & Ozzie Show. It's a real race to the finish.

Playing Defense
The defense in the City Hall corruption trial rested Wednesday after calling just two minor witnesses.

"'It's always been my practice, when I don't think the government has met their burden, not to waste the jurors' time and put on evidence," Durkin said outside of court,' the Tribune reported. "He expressed confidence that Sorich would be acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove its case over six weeks of testimony."

This is reminiscent of George Ryan lawyer Dan Webb not putting his client on the stand after months of posturing that he would because he didn't think the government had proven its case. As we now know, it wasn't even close. The case, as confirmed by the jury's quick conviction on all counts, was a slam dunk.

I think this one is too.

Durkin's defense, in fact, barely disputed the allegations of job-rigging, and instead often acknowledged the alleged patronage scheme existed but argued that his client, Robert Sorich, was just a pawn in a larger game being played by the mayor's office.

We held out hope we might hear from some of those bigger fish, but it wasn't to be.

"Throughout the trial, Durkin suggested that he might call top city officials, including the mayor," the Tribune account says. "But Wednesday, he told [U.S. District Court Judge David] Coar he had decided against that strategy.

"'I grant you I did not call Mayor Daley for a variety of reasons, not the least of which I did not want to turn this trial into a circus,' he said."

Well, there isn't a defense attorney alive who isn't up for a circus. But whatever.

"Earlier in the trial," the Sun-Times noted in its report, "Durkin told the judge he was having trouble getting witnesses to testify because they feared prosecution if they took the stand." (Link unavailable.)

Why would they fear prosecution?

Because they were involved in the same scheme Sorich (and three others) is now on trial for. You never know what a jury will decide, but regardless, there is really no question that Sorich and his pals are guilty.

The larger question now is how much further up the ladder the prosecution can take this investigation.

Onion or Metromix?
"Former Village People 'Cop' Wants Rehab"

The Beachwood Tip Line: Fag friendly.


Posted on June 22, 2006

MUSIC - Born In Chicago.
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Drama-Free Bears vs. Chaotic Cubs.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chillicothe Bottoms.

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