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The [Wednesday] Papers

I'm sorry, I know I missed a couple columns last week but I'm really behind today on a bunch of other matters so I'm not going to make it today either. I will be back on my regular daily schedule starting tomorrow, I swear. In the meantime, we have a terrific new installment of Mystery Debate Theater 2008. There's no way you can convince me that anyone covers debates better than we do. And there's plenty to read elsewhere on the site. New material all the way around tomorrow. Bless you, my readers!


The [Tuesday] Papers
Our very own Tim Willette reports that sequels to Oscar-nominated films are already in the works:

- There Will Be More Blood

- An Even Worse Country For Considerably Older Men

- Much Further Away From Her

- Elizabeth: The Metal Years


Rejected titles:There Will Be Transfusions; See? I Told You There Would Be Blood; There Will Be Sweat, Tears; Hemophilia.


More Beachwood Oscar coverage!

Our illustrious TV alum Scott Buckner returns with witty observations and wonderment.

And Mystery Oscar Theater 2008! is updated with more red carpet snark (did you know that John Travolta, GI Joe, Curious George, and the Seinfeld Bee all have the same barber?) from Bethany Lankin.

Mary Drudge
The Clinton campaign denies it is circulating a photo of Barack Obama in Somali garb, but Obama spokesperson Mary Mitchell doesn't buy it. Why? Just because.

"Why would a 2006 photograph of Sen. Barack Obama wearing African tribal garments suddenly show up on the Internet?" Mitchell asks. "Think about it. What is the point of circulating a photograph of Obama wearing a white turban days before critical primaries, if not to inflame an anti-Muslim sentiment?"

Well, considering the photo showed up on Drudge, where a (meaningless) photo of the Clintons with Tony Rezko showed up just as questions were being raised about Obama's self-described political godfather . . . I tend to have a different set of suspicions than Mitchell.

Even Obama-supporter and liberal blogosphere grandaddy Markos Moulitsas - aka Kos - has his doubts.

"Now the screaming headline on Drudge this morning is that, well, Obama respected another culture, and that's apparently a firing offense these days. Worse than that, Drudge claims it's the Clinton campaign that's trying to score points off Obama's tolerance," Kos writes.

"Now I don't know when we started taking anything Drudge says at face value, but that hysteria could use a little calming down. In fact, I tend to believe the Clinton campaign when it claims that there hasn't been a campaign decision to push the, er, accusations."

The Clinton campaign is unequivocal in its denial, though the Sun-Times saw fit to use that in a backhanded way on its front page today.

"[Clinton communications chief Howard] Wolfson also grew exasperated with a reporter who pressed the issue," Greg Sargent reports at Talking Points Memo, "saying: 'If you have any original reporting to suggest that this campaign was circulating this e-mail, please let me know. We've been very clear that we're not aware of it. Obviously the campaign didn't sanction it, and don't know anything about it.'"

(In a second post, Sargent writes: "Just to review what happened today: Matt Drudge, a proven and repeated inventor of facts and serial slimer of Dems, reported that unnamed Hillary 'staffers' had 'circulated' this email and photo. He didn't say who the staffers were or at what level they exist in the campaign. He didn't say who the photo was circulated to. Based on what Drudge reported and nothing more, the Obama campaign attacked the Hillary camp for engaging in dirty politics." And the Sun-Times put it on its front page.

(Sargent does gently poke the Clinton campaign for not issuing an immediate denial, but that's easily explained: Don't you think they were trying like hell to find out if anyone in the campaign had anything do to with it?)

Mitchell, though, channeling her inner Drudge, uses the photo flap as an excuse to blame the Clinton campaign for, among other things, Internet rumors that Obama refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance.


But then, Mitchell has now joined the Obama campaign in believing that Rush Limbaugh was right about Whitewater after all - a conclusion even Ken Starr couldn't support.

Maybe Mitchell and her Chicago suck-up cohort could spend some time instead explaining how the phrases "fairy tale" and "rolling the dice" are racial code and who fed that narrative to the media.

And anytime someone else wants to pick up fact-checking duties, I'd be obliged.

Math Narrative
Eric Zorn writes today that the math is Huckabeean - nearly impossible - when it comes to Clinton prevailing in the delegate hunt, no matter what happens in the final primaries.

True, but also a narrative the Obama campaign has successfully pushed to obscure another reality: Obama isn't likely to reach the delegate total to put him over the top either. And when that happens, it gets settled at the convention.

The Obama camp, however, already has the media in overdrive trying to pressure Clinton out of the race.

Rate Bait
"Commonwealth Edison Co. wants electricity customers to foot the bill for nearly $9 million in long-term incentive payments to senior executives and another $9 million in bonuses to all employees," Crain's reports.

"Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the staff of the Illinois Commerce Commission argue that such payments shouldn't be included in electric rates. They're urging the ICC, which regulates utilities, to deny the request, part of ComEd's proposed $361-million rate hike."

So . . . senior executives aren't properly incentivized? Maybe shocking them every few hours would help.

Taking Stock
"Shares of Sun-Times Media Group Inc. stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday after triggering a rule that halts transactions when a stock falls below $1.05," the Tribune reported on Monday.

"Trading halted on the floor of the NYSE when the stock opened at $1, down 11 cents from Thursday's close. It continued trading on electronic platforms and other exchanges."

There's also a rule halting trading when a newspaper stock is projected to fall below the cost of a single-copy off the rack.


Wall Street has given up on the Sun-Times, Bob Reed writes.

The paper is heading toward penny stock territory, or possibly bankruptcy.

Maybe Obama should buy it. But then, why buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free?

Simon Says
"Cook County hospital chief Dr. Robert Simon said Monday morning he would not reimburse taxpayers for gas costs he incurs driving a county vehicle to see his family in Michigan each weekend unless he was ordered to do it," the Sun-Times reports.

A few hours after making that statement, Todd Stroger ordered him to pay up. But Simon isn't going down without a fight.

"Simon defended his actions, saying he's actually saving money, as previous hospital chiefs have had drivers - a perk he says he never used."

Simon makes his case further in a letter to the paper that demonstrates he's also saving taxpayers from the overuse of common sense and integrity, though he is taking advantage of a perk allowing cheap self-regard.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Incentivized.


Posted on February 27, 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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