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The [Tuesday] Papers

The big story on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times today: "Black Panther Street Name Outrages Cops." The paper reports that a city council committee passed an ordinance Monday that would rename Monroe Street from Western to Oakley Avenues "Chairman Fred Hampton Way," after slain Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. The police union is furious and Ald. Madeline Haithcock, who sponsored the measure, is already backing down.

Priceless Haithcock quote: "It's only one block--and it's not even a long block."

Addendum: Chairman Fred Hampton Way?

Maddening: In a sidebar to the Chairman Fred Hampton Way story, Sun-Times reporter Andrew Herrmann writes a painfully "objective" summary of the Hampton shooting, asking "Was it murder?" Is there really any doubt? Herrmann gives equal weight to the notion that Hampton died in a "gun battle" with the well-documented position of "Hampton's supporters" who say the police executed him. Herrmann himself notes the finding by a federal grand jury that the police fired between 83 and 99 shots while the occupants of Hampton's apartment fired one, but can't quite bring himself to write that the man--good or bad--was assassinated.

Meanwhile: As the Sun-Times overplays the Hampton story for shock value on its front page, it buries the real news on page 24: "City Social Service Agencies Facing 10% Cut April 1."

Fran Spielman reports that "Seven hundred agencies that provide human services to 370,000 Chicagoans are bracing for a 10 percent cut, beginning April 1, now that Congress has slashed funding for community development block grants."

Apparently the name of a street sign covering all of one block is more important than the lives of 370,000 Chicagoans.

Over at The Blue One: The Tribune's lead story is about the "frosty" downturn in new-home sales, perfectly reflecting the Tribune's own marketing strategy as much as the Hampton story reflects the marketing strategy of the Sun-Times.

Meanwhile: As the Tribune worries about new-home sales on its front page, the real news can be found on Page 7, where we learn that more than 1,300 Iraqis have died since the surge in sectarian violence last week, "making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives."

But that story is reprinted from The Washington Post.

(Though, curiously, the home sales story is buried on the Tribune's Website as of this posting at 7: 30 a.m., while the Iraqi story is getting moderately good play. Different editors making different choices, or does the Tribune judge the interests of Web readers differently than the interets of home subscribers?)

By the Way: The Tribune didn't carry the story of Chairman Fred Hampton Way.

Recommended
Local writer Alexander Russo's blog--District 299--covers the Chicago Public Schools--and looks good doing it.

Vaunted magazine writer Charles Pierce thinks Time magazine's Joe Klein has jumped the shark.

The Friedman Follies

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
February 22, 2006
MUMBAI, India

"The [U.N.'s International Labor Office] study, [The Middle East Media Research Institute] reported, found that 'the Middle East and North Africa stand out as the region with the
highest rate of unemployment in the world': 13.2 percent. That is worse than in sub-Saharan Africa."

13.2 percent? That's all?? Hell, better than being Black in Cleveland . . .

Unemployment rate for Black males: 18.1%
Unemployment rate for Black females: 13.6%
source: http://www.city-data.com/housing/houses-Cleveland-Ohio.html

- submitted by Curtis Myers

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In the Reporter today:

The first installment of our Bridge Report, which is just a little bit sharper than most bridge reports you've seen.

The first installment of our political column, Ways & Means.

The first installment of our already popular feature, I Lived in Alaska.

Steve Stone on Harry Caray.

Read our analysis of recent Tribune polls about the mayor.

And discuss and debate it all in our Beachwood Forums.

The Truth Hurts
The Tribune's Sunday magazine published a letter to the editor this week from S. L. Wisenberg, of Chicago, that read in part:

"I was disturbed by the first sentence of your interesting cover story about North Kenwood/Oakland. It began: 'In a part of Chicago you may never have heard of . . . '

"The assumption is that the reader is a white North Sider or suburbanite who does not venture south of Roosevelt Road."

The author of the article in question, Charles Leroux, responded in part:

"The assumption that the bulk of Tribune readership is white, suburban and does not venture south of Roosevelt Road is based in statistical fact."

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Posted on February 28, 2006


MUSIC - December In Chicago Drill.
TV - Don't Weaken Media Ownership Limits.
POLITICS - Another SRO Crisis.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Mom.

BOOKS - How Stereo Was Sold To A Skeptical Public.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago Footwork King's Bail Battle.


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