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The [Tuesday] Papers

Client 10 to the Blue Concourse!

The New York Times today devoted an entire story to the latest mention of Barack Obama in the Tony Rezko trial, and with a tone altogether harsher than the locals:

"An e-mail message made public on Monday in the fraud trial of Antoin Rezko, a businessman and political contributor, brought attention to Barack Obama's role in discussions involving a state health planning board that Mr. Rezko is accused of improperly influencing," the Times said.

"The vaguely worded message also seemed to raise the possibility that Mr. Obama, who at the time was chairman of the Illinois Senate's health committee, had been involved in recommending candidates for the board."

While the local papers today downplayed the Obama mention - and I'm not saying they shouldn't have, it's really not clear to me - the bigger picture that may get lost by the home team that I think the national press might be looking for is not whether Obama did something obviously sleazy but simply whether he practiced politics as usual here in Illinois, rather than acting as the transformational figure of a new kind of politics that he sells himself as.


UPDATE 10:37 A.M.: You can see the e-mail for yourself here, courtesy of Lynn Sweet.

Pitching Fork
"Asked to name the most successful new publication of the Internet era and you'd be hard-pressed to find a student of new media in general and music journalism in particular who wouldn't say Pitchfork, the mostly Chicago-based Web 'zine that has become a must-read for every fan of adventurous cutting-edge music and independent rock," Jim DeRogatis writes.

I'm not a huge Pitchfork fan per se, but I often use it as an example of what newspapers could have done but didn't as they cowered in the corner when the Internet came along. Whether Pitchfork or YouTube or the plethora of sports blogs or The Huffington Post or CTA Tattler, the innovation of the age has - and is - coming from outside the mainstream media industry, and that's why it's in so much trouble.


Anyway, DeRogatis interviews Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber about expansion plans that include on online music channel launching next month.


Meanwhile, Greg Kot reports that "Public Enemy will perform its 1988 classic, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, as part of the third Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18-20 in Union Park." (The Trib website is driving me crazy right now so I'm not even going to provide a link. That's all you need to know.)


Maybe DeRogatis and Kot should take their Sound Opinions franchise and turn it into . . . a website, a magazine, a music festival and even a record label. Just a thought.

Think of your future, boys!

That's Stella!
Stella Foster wants Tyra Banks to stop using the word "booty" so much. "Try substituting rear end, butt, buttocks, rump, bottom, behind," she writes.


Stella also thinks Paula Abdul should be removed from American Idol because "It is always as if she is running for prom queen."


Stella also says "The Sun-Times is so worth having in your life."


The Sun-Times pays Stella to sprinkle these insights amidst re-typing names, dates and times from press releases.

Yeah, I said it. Sigh.

Daley Tax
Todd Stroger is likely getting heat for his recent tax increase, but how 'bout directing some ire at the Daleys?

"[Mayor] Daley also defended the Cook County Board for its recent approval of a 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax to fill a budget gap. 'When you have the state government giving less money and the federal government absent in regard to rebuilding American cities, you have to make tough decisions,' said Daley, whose brother John is the board's Finance Committee chairman and voted for the increase," the Tribune recently reported.

So just to be clear: Mayor Daley supported the tax increase, as did his brother John, who is the board's Finance Committee chairman.


It's also worth noting that while Stroger's tax increase gives Chicago the highest sales tax in the nation (among major cities, at least), the rest of that tax is the responsibility of Daley. Stroger merely knocked in a run in the ninth to complete the rout.


It's also worth remembering that Stroger didn't and doesn't have a vote on the board, even though he is the county president. In the deal that put him in office, Bill Beavers took John Stroger's place as District 4 commissioner. Todd Stroger can't even vote for his own proposals.

Which isn't to excuse him. To the contrary. He's being played the fool all the way around and still doesn't seem to know it.

Paging Liberty Mutual
"A Gold Star For This Considerate Blue Line Motorman."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Motorin'.


Posted on March 11, 2008

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - IRS Lax On Tax Cheats.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Bears' Real Goat.

BOOKS - Frederick Douglass: Prophet Of Freedom.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Persuading Midwestern Climate Change Skeptics.

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