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The [Tuesday] Papers

Congratulations - and gratitude, admiration and respect - are due the Tribune on the occasion of the well-deserved Pulitzer Prize it was awarded on Monday.

From the Trib's own account:

"The Chicago Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting Monday for a series of articles about dangerously defective toys and children's products, the federal regulatory agency that failed to uncover them, and families left to deal with the fatal consequences."

You can find the stories here.

The paper didn't need a Pulitzer to validate the important work it did, but it's sure nice when you get it. The individuals who pulled together on the series have already made their impact felt, and it's inspiring to read about it.

"In the Tribune's series 'Hidden Hazards,' an initial story about toy magnets and shortcomings at the Consumer Product Safety Commission widened in scope until it led to dramatic changes on store shelves and in the halls of Congress. The stories prompted the nation's largest recall of unsafe cribs and spurred Illinois authorities to order stores to clear their shelves of dozens of varieties of toys because of dangerous levels of lead," James Janega explains.

"The stories also led Congress to pass the most sweeping reform of the nation's consumer safety system in a generation. Measures approved include stricter tests for toys, greater public access to complaints about products and an overhaul of the federal safety agency charged with regulating most items in American homes."

The award was nicely twinned with a Pulitzer in investigative reporting also given to The New York Times for a series of stories on toxic imports from China.

Also Noted
* Tribune columnist John Kass was a finalist in the commentary category for what the Pulitzer board called "his hard-hitting columns on the abuse of local political power and a lively range of topics in a colorful city."

* Tribune national correspondent Howard Witt was a finalist in the national reporting category for what the board described as "his wide-ranging examination of complicated racial issues in America, from the courtroom to the schoolyard." Here's a recent interview of Witt about his reporting.

* The best work the Trib does.

Bob Dylan was awarded a special citation "for his profound impact on popular music and American culture.'

Nobody delivers the news like Bob.

Pulitzer Playwright
Tracy Letts of Steppenwolf won the Pulitzer for Drama for August: Osage County.

Beachwood Prizes
The Beachwood was shut out once again in the Pulitzers, but then again, so was the Sun-Times.

Class A
The ever-classy Sun-Times ignored the Tribune's Pulitzer, but it did note that the Sun-Times News Group won the 2007-2008 Lake County Business of the Year award from the Lake County Chamber of Commerce. Woo-hoo!

Sweet and Lo
"Starbucks Hopes New Coffee Perks Sales."

From now on, they'll buy it from Dunkin' Donuts.

National Champs!
Chicago's very own Lane Tech High School won the urban debate championship over the weekend, defeating Grandy High School from Atlanta.

A) They're really good; they had to argue that Mayor Daley didn't know a thing about the massive hiring fraud and kinky contracts that are the hallmark of his administration.
B) They're really good; they had to argue in favor of moving the Children's Museum to Grant Park.
C) They're really good; they had to make a case for selling Wrigley Field to the state.

Debate This
"The Chicago Children's Museum began a high-powered public relations push Monday for a controversial $100 million structure in Grant Park with supporters arguing that the move from Navy Pier would benefit the city's children without disrupting the park," the Tribune reports.

"'This is one of the most magnificent urban vistas on Earth,' said Lois Wille, former editorial page editor at the Chicago Tribune and author of Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront."

So we have to destroy the vista so kids can see it?

"Wille is a co-chairwoman of the All Chicago Children's Museum Committee, which was assembled from about 75 child-care, educational and religious organizations by the museum and the public-relations firm Hill & Knowlton, which is set to make at least $10,000 in fees."

A) Maybe the children's museum should form the All Chicago Stop Killing Our Children Committee instead. Its target market is shrinking by the day.
B) Religious organizations? Are we going to hear that Jesus would want the museum in Grant Park?
C) Forget Jesus. What would Montgomery Ward do?
D) Shill & Knowlton. Shill & KnowNothing. Just trying a few things out.

"Committee member Ruth Kimble, executive director of the Austin Childcare Providers' Network, said members would be 'marketing the idea' of the museum's move in their neighborhoods."

I think that means threats from the mayor's office will be involved.

"Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes the park, said the museum's new committee is both unrepresentative and irrelevant to the debate.

"'All this proves to me is that the museum has been able to identify 50 people who support this bad idea,' Reilly said. 'My experience is that the vast majority of Chicagoans understand the importance of protecting Grant Park and believe the museum should pursue unprotected land.'"

Brendan Reilly, go sit in the corner! This is an adult-free zone.

House Poor
Meanwhile, back in the real world . . .

"A minimum-wage earner would have to work 97 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in the Chicago area, according to a study released Monday."

The Tribune devoted an editorial today to "how incredibly wrong Hillary Clinton is on trade" because of her opposition to a Colombian trade pact proposed by President Bush without mentioning that Barack Obama is also opposed to the pact.

Programming Note
Don't forget to check in with me throughout the day at Division Street - after you've read every single thing on the Beachwood. Imagine smiley emoticon here.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Imagine frowny emoticon here.


Posted on April 8, 2008

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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