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The [Tuesday] Papers

This is just sad to watch.

The immediate decline of the Sun-Times under the return of Michael Cooke to the editorship is not only embarrassing, but effective in doing what its competitor finds so hard to do for itself: Making the Tribune look like a damn good newspaper.

Just compare today's front pages - and for the sake of this discussion, discount the myriad design flaws of a Sun-Times getting not only stupider by the day, but uglier. The big story at The Bright One? "EXCLUSIVE: Children & the Net: State Must Do More To Protect Kids From Online Sex Predators, Blagojevich and Topinka Say."

Candidates vow to protect the children! Only in the Sun-Times! Stop the presses!

Of course, the gubernatorial candidates had a debate last night and that didn't make the front page. Instead, we get fantasy plans for Internet police squads on an issue that has nothing to do with this election. Not only that, it appears that Gov. Blagojevich's people peddled their plan to the paper, which then got a response from Judy Baar Topinka, and that's their exclusive.

If you can stomach it, let's move on. "The Bad News? It Could Get Worse" the paper blares about the Cubs. I don't' know what that really means because the Cubs finished with the worst record in the National League, but it is the Cubs. But the paper never tells us how it could get worse. Maybe a better idea would have been a photo of Dusty Baker leaving town, or of the leading candidates for his old job - you know, the day's news.

Oh, what's this over here? "Attention! Chicago Fat Cats . . . We're Gonna Get You!" Well, this could be good. The Sun-Times investigative reporters are going to embarrass some rich people.

Um, no. It's a call deep inside the paper for photos of your "chubbie kitties." What is this, the Jefferson High Bugle?

To make matters worse, the Tribune's front page today is pretty much a perfect mix of stories, images, and graphic elements. The governor's debate; the horrific shooting at an Amish school (that didn't make the Sun-Times front page); Dusty Baker; an advance in the congressional sex scandal that the Sun-Times plastered on its front page on Monday with war-size headlines and today falls to a couple wire stories on page 24; and an important story about rising housing costs that puts Chicago second in the nation in the dubious rankings. You know - news.

At least the Cubs clean house every few years. If only the Sun-Times had a similar commitment to pretending not to be such losers.

Another Detroit
Cities with the highest jumps in median monthly home ownership costs, 2000 - 2005:

1. Detroit: up 24.1 percent.
2. Chicago: up 21.7 percent.
3. San Francisco: up 19.6 percent.

New Chicago
Toots is being replaced by a mini-mall. Big Tony's was replaced by the Beachwood Commons condos. Lakeshore East is "a lost opportunity . . . oddly quite and sterile." Neighborhood intimacy is vanishing. Is this the Chicago we really want to live in? The destruction of the neighborhood fabric that has made the city such an attractive place to live in favor of transient yuppies and their attendant bad taste living in shoddy condos?

The upcoming mayoral campaign will be dominated by talk of corruption and ethics reform, as it should be, but what we won't hear about, unfortunately, is just what kind of city the candidates want us to live in.

Old Chicago
From an Onion A.V. Club interview of Tortoise's Dan Bittney:

AVC: How did Chicago affect the band's beginning?
DB: I think it's pretty profound. Chicago was always a big city, but it wasn't pimped-out. It was super-cheap - there were these huge apartments for like $270. You could maintain a lifestyle by working three days a week. And there were like 15 places to play where you could set up a show with a phone call."

Mayor's Media
The local media continues the fiction that the mayor hasn't decided whether to run for re-election, even as they write stories about the mayor's new campaign manager - and despite both having previously published stories attributed to sources confirming the mayor is putting a campaign in place.

On Saturday, the Tribune reported that Chicago Housing Authority Terry Peterson "resigned last month amid whispers inside City Hall that he would manage Mayor Richard Daley's re-election bid. With Daley yet to announce his intentions, Peterson was reserved about that possibility, saying he was entertaining 'a couple of offers.'"

Apparently those were offers of where he wanted his desk in the new campaign office. This morning, Fran Spielman purveys the mayor's spin that he hasn't decided whether to run even as she writes that his campaign manager getting down to business. "I don't believe the mayor would have had me come over here just to waste time doing this," Peterson told her.

But to the local press corps, it's not true until the mayor says it is.

Invisible Justice League
Wait . . . the city has an ethics board? With a chief who makes $106,980 a year? Who is appointed by the mayor? I guess there is transparency in government.

Rice Cakes
In the Sun-Times, you get Condi Rice denying she met with intelligence officials in July 2001 and was warned of an impending terrorist attack. In the Tribune, you get a New York Times excerpt poking holes in Rice's denial. In The New York Times, you get the full story.

Perfect Fit
"Frist Says Taliban Can't Be Defeated."

So George W. Bush will leave office at least 0-2.

In other news, "Bush On Short List For Next Cubs President."

Ice Man
"Each time [Cook County] Commissioners Mike Quigley and Forrest Claypool tried questioning the impact of unqualified hires padding the payroll, Commissioner Jerry Butler, chairing the meeting, stopped them," the Sun-Times's Steve Patterson reports.

It's almost as good as Todd Stroger pledging to restore trust in Cook County government last week and then ducking behind a curtain and running from questions. Had enough?

From the Desk of Mary Mitchell
More reasons why she thinks Neil Steinberg is an idiot.

These Old Cubs
Grace, Sutcliffe, and Stone. My plan is working. Except for the Jim Hendry part.

Cubs Flubs
Hendry didn't know until Monday morning that Andy MacPhail was going to resign as Cubs president, even though the decision had been made in July. John McDonough didn't know until he was going to replace MacPhail until a week or so ago. Hendry is only starting on his search for a new manager today, even though Dusty Baker's fate was sealed long ago. So, in other words, instead of getting going on rebuilding the franchise at the soonest possible date, these guys dithered out of "respect" for each other - and disrespect for the long-suffering fans who make their jobs possible. It's almost enough to make someone a White Sox fan.


Same Old Cubs
Billy Beane and Terry Ryan would never re-sign a player like Aramis Ramirez. Hendry's problem is the same as Baker's - they are old-school guys who haven't kept up with the game. Beane and Ryan begin the playoffs today.

Wicker Park Days
Our series continues.

Can Kruesi
"The agency's president spins out grandiose visions of a new Circle Line and below-grade busways but can't make the trains run on time," opines Crain's Chicago Business. Meanwhile, he blows hundreds of millions on an ill-conceived 'super station' at Block 37 and tries to sneak through secret pension sweeteners for himself and other top brass."

The Ebert Effect
Missing Ebert.

The Wal-Mart Effect
We live in a town where the mayor accuses people who think this is a problem of being racists - and gets away with it.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Shop and compare.


Posted on October 3, 2006

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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