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The [Thursday] Papers

You know what? I don't really have much of a problem with the "Big Sister" anti-Hillary ad. But as much as the ad effectively expresses a central notion of Obama's campaign - that he represents a new day and a new way - it also begs the question of whether independent supporters of Obama's campaign will practice what their man preaches. I don't think this ad crosses any lines that ought not be crossed - though it may have been even more effective not just using Hillary as antagonist but the whole crew of (theoretically) stale Democrats - but what happens and how will Obama respond when the line inevitably does get crossed? He may have a lot of disowning to do.

Gay Games
Why can't Obama unambiguously address the morality of homosexuality? Lynn Sweet writes today about Obama's difficulty last week addressing the issue. If Obama truly thought homosexuality was not immoral, what prevented him from saying so the first time, instead of issuing a statement after dodging the question three times?

In Obama's envisioned world of rainbow unity, you'd think this would be a no-brainer. Instead, it's a head-scratcher.

"For Obama, the recent campaign flare-up started the way many such incidents do: The senator was asked a question that he apparently was nto prepared to answer - at least at that moment," the Tribune says in its account. "It was the sort of challenge from reporters and voters that he will face many times on the campaign trail."

Huh? Just what would it have taken for Obama to be "prepared" to answer such a simple question? It's not like he was asked about the minute details of nuclear weaponry.

And when you stop and think about it, even Obama's response to Larry King - that he doesn't think "homosexuals are immoral any more than I think heterosexuals are immoral" - doesn't really make sense.

Deep in the Tribune's story, the paper mentions what Sweet does not: Obama's previous statements that gay marriage is against his Christian beliefs - professions of Obama's noted faith that make some gay advocates skeptical of the statement belatedly issued last week by his campaign. As the Tribune notes, they want to hear it from Obama's mouth. And if Obama now says homosexuality isn't immoral, then why is he against gay marriage? It's a fair question, and Obama ought to have the guts to answer it.

Media Mindset
"The criticism highlights one of the major challenges confronting Obama, Clinton and other Democratic hopefuls. They must keep their political base of activist, highly partisan supporters happy while not alienating other, more centrist voters they hope to win in the general election," the Tribune explains approvingly.

Well, yes - if you think like a political strategist. If you think like a journalist, you might observe that "the challenge the candidates face is to resist trimming their views according to the voters they are trying to manipulate, as their strategists will certainly implore them to do. This particularly applies to Obama, who is campaigning outright against the cynicism that he says dominates our political discourse."

Besides that, do the majority of centrist voters who would consider voting for Obama consider homosexuality immoral? I doubt it.

Daley Tax I
The city will set up a $12 million fund to compensate victims of the City Hall's hiring fraud. But Daley's chief of staff, Ron Huberman, says "I don't believe this is the cost of corruption."

What is it then, the cost of Mayor Daley's The Children Are Our Future Charity Fund?

Daley Tax II
Huberman has tough competition in LaSalle Street bracket from city lawyer Mara Georges, who says the agreement allows the mayor "to demonstrate that he is truly committed to reform." As opposed to the opportunity he had to commit to honest hiring in the first place.

Georges, who as the Tribune points out, "for years swore in court that the city was abiding by hiring restrictions." Right up to the time federal prosecutors unveiled what they called "massive fraud" emanating from officials in the mayor's office and winning four guilty verdicts - including the mayor's patronage chief.

But Mayor Schultz knew nothing. He was too busy committing to reform to know how people in his own administration were hired.

So while this agreement is supposed to be good news, it sounds like a rotten deal to me. Because if all goes according to plan, the Shakman decree will eventually be lifted and it will be left to the mayor's inspector general to police city hiring. And we all know how well that will go.

Return of Pool Boy I
The mayor has no idea who promoted David Ochal.

Return of Pool Boy II
The Sun-Times editorial page pins Ochal's promotion on "the Democratic power structure," which apparently operates apart from Richard M. Daley, who is committed to reform.

The Sun-Times failed to disclose that the writer of an Op-Ed touting Shell and Chevron is the president of a foundation that has received funding from both companies.

Mean Scene
"Beyond the central story, Mean Streets is a landscape of vignettes and character haikus dotted with such lovingly weird moments as Tony hugging a lion cub; Michael putting on a pair of Joisey longhairs trying to buy fireworks; the assassin casually walking up behind a drunk in Tony's joint's toilet and shooting him the back to avenge a petty insult (the two played by Keith and David Carradine); returning veteran Jerry the Soldier (Harry Northup) cracking up at his homecoming party," writes Rod Heath, in his continuing Martin Scorsese retrospective at Ferdy on Films. "A little too long, and populated by less than inspiring men, Mean Streets still stands as one of the great American films."

Title Fight
Haitchock vs. Fioretti.
Monday night.
Miles Square Health Center.
2045 West Washington Blvd.
Refreshments - 6:45 p.m.
Forum - 7 p.m.

Three Links
* 40 Frivlous Tax Positions To Avoid.

* Like Green Day, former weapons inspector Scott Ritter doesn't want to be an American Idiot..

* The political contributions of Sun-Times Media Group CEO Cyrus Freidheim.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Do it yourself.


Posted on March 22, 2007

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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