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The [Thursday] Papers

Note: Yesterday's technical difficulties were due to a "a connectivity issue in Chicago" experienced by our Internet Service Provider, Speakeasy. Those problems have been resolved. I hope to catch up with new posts on the rest of the site through the morning and afternoon, and be back on our regular schedule, as it is, tomorrow.


Minnesota Mourns
Night Watch On The Bridge.


The Sun-Times editorial page thinks Al Sharpton ought not come to Chicago to battle police brutality unless he also takes on the following:

* School funding reform
* Gun violence
* Absentee fathers

He's not running for mayor!

"[I]f Sharpton wants to justify opening a chapter of his National Action Network here - and not just generate more attention for his syndicated radio show - then he's going to have to swing into action on other societal problems that confront African Americans in Chicago," the paper declares.

Why? What if he just worked on police brutality? That wouldn't justify his organization's presence here? I didn't know there were such steep entrance requirements for activists.

Perhaps the Sun-Times editorial board is unaware of the fact that Sharpton has been digging into police brutality in Chicago for at least the last year - his radio show, aired locally on WVON-AM, has been far more active on the issue than any local media outlet save the outstanding reporting of John Conroy in the Reader.

The Sun-Times must also be unaware that Sharpton has campaigned against offensive language in rap and other entertainment venues for years; otherwise it wouldn't call his most recent efforts "an exercise in showboating," which more accurately describes the Sun-Times's hysterical Sharpton coverage.

That's Neil!
Neil Steinberg wants to know why such a big deal is being made of Sharpton opening an office here.

1. I haven't seen anyone make a big deal out of it except the Sun-Times.

2. It is news, isn't it? Police brutality is, um, sort of a big deal in Chicago right now, and the mayor is right in the middle of it. So yeah, one of the nation's foremost (and controversial) activists coming here to join the fray is, um, kind of a big deal.

But then, this is where Steinberg, who often writes (badly) about race, is coming from:

"Perhaps it's naive of me to find the Nike situation so surprising, and I'm sure many black readers are thinking: 'Welcome to the world, what took ya?'"

Many white readers, too.

"But there is a common attitude among white people, who view such blatant discrimination as something in the past, something that no longer exists, rendering such lawsuits as either overreactions or scams."

As one white person to another, speak for yourself, Neil.

"I have a hard time believing that people could possibly behave the way the Nike managers are accused of behaving," Steinberg continues.

"But they did, apparently."


Neil Steinberg, ladies and gentlemen, self-described professional explainer.

You had to work your way to page 26 in the Sun-Times on Wednesday (hey, I do it for you, dear readers) to find the latest gem from Chicago's Finest:

"A federal jury has found that Chicago Police officers harassed a female colleague who dared to join an undercover unit that previously had been all men," Abdon Pallasch reports.

"Ann McDermott's fellow officers put pornography in her mailbox every day and when she complained about it, they accused her of being a 'beefer' - an officer who reports fellow officers."

The jury awarded McDermott $150,000 in damages, Pallasch reports, and city - meaning us taxpayers - will have to pony up $500,000 for her legal fees.

McDermott's experience is chilling. According to Pallasch's account, she asked to join an undercover gang unit in Rogers Park. She was granted the request, becoming the only woman on the eight-officer team.

"Starting the first day of her new assignment and continuing every day for six months, she found porn in her mailbox - 'Females naked posing; much more graphic hard-core pornography, men and women having sex in different positions,' and a woman who had soiled herself, among other images McDermott found disturbing, she testified," Pallasch writes.

"She transferred to the 17th District in Albany Park but found her tormentors had called ahead and arranged to have officers there put porn in her mailbox, she said."

And here's the kicker: the police department's Internal Affairs Department will now take a second look at McDermott's case, having dismissed most of her complaints up to now.

Toy Story
Fisher-Price is recalling 967,000 toys that contain way too much lead.

Among the toys included in the recall: Free Trade Elmo; Oscar the Grouchy Foreman; and The Cookie Cancer Monster.

Lew's View
Sun-Times advertising columnist Lewis Lazare gets it exactly backwards again; those Sonic ads try way too hard to portray the kind of clever Tarantinoish dialogue about small things that mean a lot that was burned out back in the grunge era by beer companies and Dockers. I give 'em a D-.

Governor Revived
"Doctors 'Jump-Start' Man's Brain."

The Commuter Mayor?
Not so much. A priceless story from the New York Times.

The Child Mayor
"All the headlines you ran against me for two years - I did nothing right in Chicago under your headlines. You know. You wrote the articles. Look at every headline. You wrote articles about everything [negative] about Mayor Daley . . . So that's your gig. We understand that. Police understand that, too. One minute you hit 'em. And the next day, you're going to be nice to 'em."

The proper response to this is:

A) Who hired Angelo Torres?
B) When is your police brutality deposition again?
C) Why do you have such a guilty conscience?

The Obama-Hunter Doctrine
In "Obama Has Fresh Ideas In War On Terrorism," the wife of the publisher who will decide the paper's presidential endorsement says "He is the first Democratic presidential candidate to put forth such far-reaching ideas about how to counter terrorism."

Such far-reaching ideas as . . . striking at terrorists in Pakistan?

"Still, in an action that many observers read as a tilt by the Bush administration toward a military strike, White House national security adviser Frances Townsend pointedly declined to rule out the option in a television interview in late July, stirring a chorus of protests in Pakistan," the Tribune reports.

"[Hillary] Clinton said in a radio interview later in the day that she also would not hesitate to attack al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan territory.

"'If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan, I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured. And that will be the highest priority because they pose the highest threat to America,' Clinton told American Urban Radio Networks."

[Obama on Wednesday: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."]

"But two of Obama's other Democratic rivals expressed skepticism at his pronouncements Wednesday," the Trib continues. "It's understood that the U.S. might have to go into Pakistan under some circumstances, said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but that is not something to discuss publicly for fear of undermining Musharraf.

"'The way to deal with it it not to announce it, it's to do it,' Biden said at the National Press Club, suggesting Obama's comments reflected inexperience. 'It's not something you talk about; as president, it's something I would do.'

"Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), also a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed the criticism."


"So, what's [Obama's] foreign policy again?" the Tribune editorial page asks.

Silly Tribune. It's the Prove My Manhood Because I Just Flubbed Another Debate Question Doctrine.

Reverend Al!
With his biggest fan. Ewwwww!

The Beachwood Tip Line: Your very own red carpet.


Posted on August 2, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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