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The [Tuesday] Papers

Great, just what we need more of on Chicago radio: John Mayer, Kelly Clarkson, Rob Thomas, Daughtry, Maroon 5 and Gwen Stefani.

Welcome to Fresh 105.9!

Although most people who know me - including myself - are surprised to find I actually like Kelly Clarkson.

But the point is . . . Steve Dahl and Daughtry can ride broadcast radio into oblivion.

Internet and satellite radio have every genre in every combination possible, including such treats as, oh, I don't know, Bob Dylan hosting his own show!

Hmmm, Steve Dahl or Bob Dylan, Steve Dahl or Bob Dylan . . .

Broadcast radio has its uses - unfairly maligned sports talk and A Prairie Home Companion among them - but music is no longer one of them.


Shouldn't they call it Stale 105.9?


COMMENT 11:24 A.M.:
From a longtime Beachwood reader:

"I gotta say, I knew nothing about satellite radio until I bought a new VW last month that came equipped with it. They gave me three months of Sirius and I thought, 'Who would pay for radio?'

"I am shocked at how good this radio is. Formats that broadcast radio just wrote off - like jazz, blues, classical, etc. - are alive and well there. I flip to an oldies station and the rotation is far deeper than usual Supremes, Temptations and Beatles stuff you hear on broadcast oldies stations. The CBC has a few stations there that play some of the best new and modern rock and electronica that I've ever heard.

"I am tempted to say the difference between satellite and terrestrial radio is like the difference between early FM and AM, but I think its even bigger than that. Because FM didn't kill AM - but I think satellite is only $12 a month away from killing regular broadcast radio."

Party Time
Vote Green!

Punk Principle
New City's cover story about Anne Elizabeth Moore is far more favorable to her new book than the Reader's review (see Reader entry).

"Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity [is] a terrific, jarring and informed account of underground culture's infiltration by the corporate world," Tom Lynch writes.

Black Smack
"Conrad Black struck out Monday in his bid for a new federal fraud trial," AP reports.

"Black and three co-defendants were convicted July 13 of three mail fraud counts for pocketing millions of dollars prosecutors said belonged to shareholders in his Hollinger International newspaper empire.

"Black, once one of the most powerful men in the newspaper publishing business, was also convicted of spiriting boxes of documents out of his Toronto offices even though he knew federal prosecutors wanted them."

"'The government introduced more than enough evidence' to support Black's conviction, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said."

Just so there's no mistaking.

Maybe Sneed will jump off the fence now.

Elephant Man
From Lynn Becker's "Chicago's $895 Million Dollar Elephant in the Room":

"Sometimes Chicago's infatuation with Mayor Richard M. Daley is understandable - the city is green, clean and with lots of new construction. Other times - in the face of pandemic corruption, the continuing protection of torturing cops, the shambles of the CTA - it seems to take on the form of mass delusion.

"How else to explain the schizoid ability of the city's major civic associations and mainstream media to rant and rave about Chicago's mounting pile of crises while remaining willfully blind to the billion dollar scandal behind them. The mayor has taken a sound development tool - the TIF, or tax increment financing, district, used to jump-start private investment in depressed neighborhoods - and transformed it into a massive slush fund that diverts nearly $400 million each year from schools and basic city services."

Becker goes on to describe the mayor's lame finger-pointing in the CTA crisis (hey, mayor, there are four fingers pointing back!), the latest debacle known as the CTA Superstation, the outrageousness of TIF money going to the Merc, and how the city is considering bailing itself out by a privatization Ponzi scheme that will leave future taxpayers holding paying the bills.

"Mayor Daley has been in office nearly two decades. He still struts down the street in his pinstripe master manager suit, but the threads have begun to fray. Can Chicago's media and civic elite ever bring themselves to call him to account? Or will they persist in seeing only what he wants them to see, the emperor's new clothes, until the garment completely disintegrates and we find only Abe Beame underneath?"


Can you imagine all those TV reporters chasing missing persons stories actually reporting on TIFs and the city budget?

Primary Colors
Here's a somewhat startling development: The Republican presidential field is actually stronger than the Democratic field.

Huh? I hear you say. Bear with me.

The Republicans' supposedly weak field has, in my view, two legitimate presidential candidates and one near-legit threat: Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee as the former, and Mitt Romney as the latter. (I just can't see McCain getting there.)

Huckabee may still be flagging in the polls, but he's competent, likable, and will be the only true conservative left standing once Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo return to the asylum.

Romney is a front-runner, but he's tainted by his flip-floppery.

Giuliani projects authority and leadership - merited or not.

The Democratic field, on the other hand, is weakened by the absence of a true challenger to Hillary Clinton.

Obama isn't going to get there by attacking her, and hasn't backed his candidacy's rationale with even the slightest show of vision. Maybe the party will regret Obama taking so much oxygen - and money - out of the air as the putative Hillary alternative when another candidate could have done it better.

And I don't mean John Edwards. Edwards is running a populist campaign that is actually much stronger than Obama's minus the money and celebrity, but one that somehow doesn't ring true.

Who else?

With Clinton still running so far ahead in the polls, Al Gore isn't likely to join the battle (though if he teamed with Obama as his veep and subsumed his political operation, they both might have something).

So, as a field, the Republicans aren't looking as bad as advertised.


Nora Ephron on the Democrats' dilemma.




COMMENT 1:29 P.M.:
From Levi Stahl:

"Point taken about the Republican field, but I think it's worth noting that when polled, Democrats in general express satisfaction with their candidates on offer, while Republicans express discontent. I imagine they'll all band together behind whatever frightening authoritarian wins the nomination, but it seems obvious that the enthusiasm isn't there like it is for Clinton and Obama (or even Edwards)."

Race Card
"[E]arlier this week [Daley] reportedly pulled aside one of the aldermen and warned him that his political career would suffer as a result [of voting in favor of the city releasing a list of cops with the most citizen complaints filed against them]," Mick Dumke writes. "Alderman Howard Brookins Jr., alderman of the 21st Ward, said the mayor told him that he may blow his chance to win the Democratic primary for Cook County state's attorney if he continued to push for publicizing the cop list. "The mayor told me I shouldn't have signed on to the resolution," Brookins said. "He said it wouldn't go over well in the 'ethnic community.' Meaning white people."

That's Richie! Endorsed by Obama.

Obama Field Notes
* The Project for Excellence in Journalism released a report a couple of days ago showing that so far during the 2008 campaign season, Democrats have gotten more favorable coverage than Republicans.

The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum took a closer look and found one reason for that: Obama.

"Obama's coverage is almost stratospherically laudatory," Drum writes.

Without it, the coverage would be even.

"Bottom line: the press isn't in love with Democrats, it's in love with Barack Obama," says Drum.

* "Who's the Hypocrite Now?" (via Slate)

* The invaluable Bob Somerby.

* Obama Dumped Colbert.

Slush Fund
Crain's has had enough, too. Too bad this wasn't debated in the last campaign - or discovered before now by the non-Joravsky press.

"In recent years, the mayor's use of TIFs has become more questionable as it seems to stray from its intended purpose of luring developers into areas they would otherwise avoid. Now the mayor wants to make a TIF out of LaSalle Street, the core of Chicago's financial district. Does anyone really believe developers will abandon the central business district without city subsidies? If ever there were a place to let the market take its natural course, this is it.

"With taxpayers across the city and county facing whopping hikes, the city can't afford to keep giving special breaks to a lucky few."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Fresh!


Posted on November 6, 2007

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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