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The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Monetizing boredom.

2. "Congress Makes Do Not Call List Permanent."

Members can now only be reached by texting.

3. The Tribune reprints a New York Times story today asking "Does Celebrity Rehab Host Go Too Far?"

I'll answer that one: Not nearly.

4. Eric Zorn fails to nail down an endorsement for Barack Obama from Abe Lincoln. Primarily because Lincoln is dead. Apparently the ghost of Millard Fillmore is available, though.

5. Lincoln rocks.

6. A chart in the Tribune shows that average viewing per household "by TV season" has increased from under five hours in 1950 to 8 hours, 18 minutes in 2007. Who says there is no such thing as progress? We can do this, people!

7. Sun-Times headline for a Steve Huntley Op-Ed: "Radical Islam Will Never Mesh With Western Law."

Radical Christianity, either.

8. Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times is joining Facebook because "the print journalism business is changing. And unless we, the writers and editors, change with it, we will be out of business."

I think Facebook is great - critics are almost always people who have never even looked at it - but of course it has nothing to do with journalism. On the other hand, the last time Mitchell posted to her blog was on December 9.

9. I'm not saying, as Sneed reports, that Newt Gingrich never said "John McCain has as much chance of winning the Republican nomination as the Giants have of winning the Super Bowl," I'm just saying that when I plug that quote into Google nothing comes back.

10. "Convicted former City Clerk Jim Laski said Monday he worked through Mayor Daley's top lieutenants to get Hired Truck business for the lifelong friend who betrayed him and, therefore, believes the mayor knows a lot more about the scandal than he has publicly admitted," the Sun-Times reports.

Laski gave the paper an "exclusive" interview in advance of excerpts from his new, self-published memoir that will run in the Sun-Times on Wednesday.

Highlights from today:

* "Laski said he started brokering Hired Trucks in 1995 through Ald. Patrick Huels (11th), the mayor's City Council floor leader, then switched to Intergovernmental Affairs Director Victor Reyes after an unrelated scandal forced Huels' resignation. When Reyes left, the mayor's patronage chief Robert Sorich became Laski's go-to guy. He also dealt with First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak.

"Laski described Huels, Reyes and Sorich as 'buffers' who gave Daley deniability and insulated the mayor from blame.

"But, when a whispering Daley asked Laski during a meeting in the mayor's office whether he had "heard anything from the guys down the street," meaning federal prosecutors, it became clear to the clerk that the mayor knew more than he was letting on.

* "When I was trying to get a job for my oldest daughter, Victor Reyes told me, 'When it comes to family or something high-profile, you've got to see the mayor personally.' You go see the mayor on certain things, then he tells people he has a selective memory."

* "Laski described Daley as a 'paranoid,' one-way-street of a politician who 'blows hot and cold' with other elected officials and is 'always thinking somebody's out to get him, somebody's out to run against him.'"

In response, Daley's taxpayer-paid propagandist Jacquelyn Heard said: "I know it takes intrigue, scandal and/or controversy to sell books. And I wholeheartedly believe that's what Mr. Laski is trying to do."

Yes, but are his allegations true?

And what was the discussion like when you met with the mayor in a strategy session to decide how to respond to Laski?

11. Isn't it a good thing that the Democratic primary might actually go the distance? Shouldn't voters in every state have a say? I mean, the "late" primaries (and caucuses) are on the schedule; they aren't supposed to be just for show, are they?

In other words, isn't the system actually sort of working?

On to the conventions!

My only wish is that the other candidates hadn't dropped out. Their participation is what it's all about.

Unfortunately, the pundits - and much of the media in general - seem to think their job is to help the private political parties pick their nominees, instead of observing as outsiders.

The perspective of political journalists, then, mirrors that of the political professionals who want to short-circuit democracy according to their tactical goals to seize or retain power. And their pet pundit class goes along with their schemes like dumb puppies.

But it ought not be the role of reporters - or pundits, frankly - to help political parties strategize. That's being an insider with a stake in the process, not an outsider with an honest take providing a service to readers, viewers, and citizens.

12. "Next Generation To Take A Pass On Aerosmith."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Face the music.


Posted on February 12, 2008

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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