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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Camille Paglia says Madonna Gave Britney the 'Kiss of Death'."

I suppose that's plausible.

On the other hand, when I read pundits like world-renowned psychologist-at-a-distance Stella Foster complaining about "all the partying, drinking, wearing sexy/tacky clothes and alleged drug use," I just want to say to Britney, "Go, girl!"

I mean, that sounds like a lot of my shaved-and-tattoed friends at 25. And at 40.

But seriously, you had to expect post-traumatic stress syndrome to kick in at some point in a woman raised as a sexpot in order to make millions titillating guys like Bob Dole.

Easy, Boy
"Bob Dole, Pepsi Pervert: A Critical Analysis."

Sinead Spears
If I remember correctly, Sinead O'Connor once explained her shaved head by saying she didn't want to be judged by her looks. Maybe Britney is ushering in a fourth-wave feminism.

Vetting Novak
Newsweek reports that Bob Novak let a source vet his now-famous Valerie Plame column before he published it - a source who just happened to be pals with Karl Rove, who then got his own sneak preview. Rove, too, was a source for the column. Shouldn't this spell the end of Bob Novak?

"Robert Novak, as usual, had a scoop to unload - only this time, it was from the witness stand," Newsweek says. "Testifying last week in the trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the conservative columnist gruffly described how he first learned from two top Bush administration officials that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. But then Novak injected a new name into the drama - one that virtually nobody in the courtroom knew.

"Asked by one of Libby's lawyers if he had talked about Plame with anybody else before outing her in his column, Novak said he'd discussed her with a lobbyist named Richard Hohlt. Who, the lawyer pressed, is Hohlt? 'He's a very good source of mine' whom I talk to "every day," Novak replied. Indeed, Hohlt is such a good source that after Novak finished his column naming Plame, he testified, he did something most journalists rarely do: he gave the lobbyist an advance copy of his column. What Novak didn't tell the jury is what the lobbyist then did with it: Hohlt confirmed to NEWSWEEK that he faxed the forthcoming column to their mutual friend Karl Rove (one of Novak's sources for the Plame leak), thereby giving the White House a heads up on the bombshell to come."

Asbestos Obama
Lynn Sweet writes today about the Obama campaign's response to a Los Angeles Times story that calls into question Obama's account in Dreams From My Father of fighting for asbestos removal at Altgeld Gardens as a community organizer.

Wrapped up in the controversy is Obama's use of composites in his book, which is billed as a memoir.

"Dreams From My Father, the first of Obama's books, is not a historical account," the LAT notes. "In it, Obama uses literary techniques that are rarely found in political memoirs.

"Dialogue in the memoir is an 'approximation of what was actually said or relayed to me,' Obama wrote in its introduction. For the sake of compression, he wrote, some characters are 'composites of people I've known, and some events appear out of precise chronology.'"

In other words, it's a work of fiction.

The Obama campaign, already reputed to be an unusually thin-skinned operation, set its research director to the task of figuring out the real identities of Obama's composites in order to obtain its own account of the asbestos incident. As Sweet writes, "it would have seemed simpler for her to ask Obama."

Memoir Memories
So will Oprah give Obama the James Frey treatment?

Dear Lin Brehmer
Introducing Cate Plys's weekly "Open Letter." The WXRT morning disc jockey is her first target.

Olympic Dreams
"University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson said that if the only issue were cost, the Summer Games should be held in Los Angeles, since only one venue would need to be built," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"He also doesn't trust the cost figures being bandied about by Chicago, pointing out the rapidly escalating costs for the upcoming Summer Games in Beijing and in London.

"'What I object to is the continued low-balling of how much it's going to cost,' Sanderson said, calling it a slow rollout."

Olympic TIF
A Beachwood reader writes:

"Will reporters ask the mayor to take a 'No Olympic TIF' pledge? The promise not to use any public money is being given the hard sell now, nine years ahead of the Games. As the event itself draws closer, however, most members of the public and press will forget some of the vows taken way back in 2006 and 2007. 'No public money,' I propose, will give way to a formulation like 'no existing public money.' From there, I suspect, will unfurl a chain of logic something along the lines of: 'We said no existing public money. TIFs, however, are new public money - money that wouldn't have been there if we hadn't created TIFs in these areas - so we're going to use TIFs to pay part of the costs of the Olympics.'

"The part of the city between the Ryan and the lake, south of the proposed Olympic Village site, is lousy with TIFs - 14 as of today, with a couple more to be created this year. And there is plenty of land still on which more TIFs can be created. If the USOC names Chicago, property values in the area will likely skyrocket, swelling these TIFs with revenue. And giving the mayor a fund of 'new' monies to spend on the Olympics. It's just a hunch, but given the number of new TIFs, and the rate at which they're being created, combined with the assertion, made by the mayor and several aldermen, that there is no way other than TIFs to finance economic development in this city, I don't think it's an outlandish prospect. And since I don't expect the mayor or the city's planning department to come out on their own with anything more specific than 'no public money,' I think it would be great for the press to get them on the record as committing to 'no Olympic TIFs.'"

Axe Man
"It's disappointing that when [Dorothy Brown] chooses to speak to the people of Chicago, she has nothing positive to say," David Axelrod says.

A) Yeah, she's taking this 'campaign' thing way too far!
B) Yeah, she should be more positive when she talks about police torture and the Hired Truck scandal.
C) And that's why we refuse to debate.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Join the conversation.


Posted on February 20, 2007

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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